18 March 2001, UNESCO for the first time awarded the title of
of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" to 19
outstanding cultural spaces or forms of expression from the
different regions of the world. See press
Criteria used in the selection process were
outstanding value, roots in cultural tradition, affirmation of
cultural identity, source of inspiration and intercultural
exchange, contemporary cultural and social role, excellence in the
application of skills, unique testimony of living cultural
tradition, and risk of disappearing. This initiative to help
preserve traditional and popular culture is intended to complement
Heritage List of natural and cultural sites.
Proclamations will be made every two years by an
international jury appointed by UNESCO's Director-General. Below
is the inaugural list of UNESCO "Masterpieces
of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity"