Convention for the Safeguarding of lntangible Cultural Heritage
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Aiming at building greater awareness of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage

and protecting it, the General Conference of the UNESCO adopted The "Convention for the Safeguarding of lntangible Cultural Heritage" at its 32nd session on October 17th, 2,003.


The importance of the intangible cultural heritage as a mainspring of cultural diversity and a guarantee of sustainable development, has long been underscored in the UNESCO Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore of 1989, in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity of 2001, and in the Istanbul Declaration of 200l adopted by the Third Round Table of Ministers of Culture. The adoption of this Convention marked a global recognition of the deep-seated interdependence between the intangible cultural heritage and the

tangible cultural and natural heritage. The difficulty in the inheritance and protection of intangible cultural heritage has aroused wild concerns among the international community.


With a total of 40 articles in 9 chapters, the Convention gives clear definitions of intangible cultural

heritage, the safeguarding at the international level, the measures of protection, management and

promotion conducted by each state's party, the international cooperation in related programs, as well as the establishment of a fund.


The "intangible cultural heritage”, stated in the Convention, means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills - as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated there with that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of

their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. To be more specific, the "intangible cultural heritage~ is manifested inter alia in the following domains: oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; traditional craftsmanship. "Safeguarding" means measures aimed at ensuring the viability of the intangible cultural heritage, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and non-formal education, as

well as the revitalization of the various aspects of such heritage.


In terms of conservation of the intangible cultural heritage, the first law in this regard was enacted by the Japan governments, far before the birth of the Convention. The Law of the People's Republic of China on Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted at the 19th Session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China on February 25th, 2011, and came into force on June 1st, 2011.



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