Delhi’s Nizamuddin Basti conservation project wins two Unesco awards
Delhi’s Nizamuddin Basti has received two awards at the Unesco Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation this year. The conservation initiative at Nizamuddin bagged the Award of Excellence and Special Recognition for Sustainable Development Award.
The conservation project is the only award-winning entry from India. Conservation efforts at Nizamuddin Basti are being undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in partnership with the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Archaeological Survey of India, Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation and the Dargah Committee and resident community groups of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti since 2007.
The conservation efforts include the restoration of over 20 historic monuments clustered around the 14th century mausoleum of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Stakeholders are also working towards the revival of local crafts and job creation.
The citation of the award states that the jury applauded the Nizamuddin Basti project for its “outstanding achievement in placing heritage at the heart of the sustainable development agenda” and noted that “through an innovative People-Public-Private partnership model, the project overcame major socio-economic challenges and improved health, education and well-being, particularly for women and youth”.
Ratish Nanda, CEO, Aga Khan Trust for Culture India, said that the trust had tried to demonstrate that conservation and development were interlinked through its work at Nizamuddin. “We have tried to leverage cultural assets for socio-economic development of the community. The monuments have been coupled with performance areas and water-harvesting facilities have been created near the baolis. Through our efforts, we have demonstrated that conservation and development go hand in hand and cultural assets can be used to improve quality of life,” said Nanda.
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