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Kit of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

Infokit cover

The kit on intangible cultural heritage is a basic reference and pedagogical instrument for promoting and ensuring an effective understanding of intangible cultural heritage and the 2003 Convention by governments, communities, experts, concerned UN agencies, NGOs and interested individuals. It has been published in September 2009 on the occasion of the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and updated in 2011.

Conceived as a flexible tool, in which new brochures adapted to the local situation can be included, the kit should be continuously developed and translated into as many languages as possible.

The first version has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Government of Norway. The Government of Spain generously financed the realization of the kit in Spanish.

The Kit is composed of 7 brochures and fact sheets on 12 safeguarding projects, all downloadable:

What is Intangible Cultural Heritage?

Infokit 2011 - “What is intangible cultural heritage?”

The term ‘cultural heritage’ has changed content considerably in recent decades, partially owing to the normative instruments developed by UNESCO. Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe of the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

While fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.
The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next. The social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge is relevant for minority groups and for mainstream social groups within a State, and is as important for developing States as for developed ones. (…)

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The 2003 Convention

Infokit 2011- “2003 Convention text”

The General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization hereinafter referred to as UNESCO, meeting in Paris, from 29 September to 17 October 2003, at its 32nd session…

Referring to existing international human rights instruments, in particular to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.

Considering the importance of the intangilbe cultural heritage as a mainspring of cultural diversity and a guarantee of sustainable development, as 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 2002 adopted by the Third Round Table of Ministers of Culture, (…)

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Implementing the 2003 Convention

Infokit 2011 - “Implementing the 2003 Convention”

The 2003 Convention, the first binding multilateral instrument for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, has four primary goals:

This brochure provides information about statutory organs and their functions, and operational directives (…)

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Working towards the 2003 Convention

Infokit 2011 - “Working towards the 2003 Convention”

This brochure aims to provide a background to the Convention by highlighting those actions and programmes that, often indirectly, contributed to developing the ideas and policies that eventually led to the adoption of the Convention text as it stands.

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Questions & Answers

Infokit 2011 - “Questions & Answers”

This brochure presents responses to the following frequently asked questions:

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Identifying and inventorying Intangible Cultural Heritage

Infokit 2011 - “Inventorying Intangible Cultural Heritage”

The purpose of the Convention is to safeguard intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Countries that ratify it (known as States Parties) take on the obligations to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage present on their territories. (…)

Inventories are integral to the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage because they can raise awareness about intangible cultural heritage and its importance for individual and collective identities. The process of inventorying
intangible cultural heritage and making those inventories accessible to the public can also encourage creativity and self-respect in the communities and individuals where expressions and practices of intangible cultural heritage originate. Inventories can also provide a basis for formulating concrete plans to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage concerned. (…)

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Intangible Cultural Heritage domains

Infokit 2011 - “Intangible Cultural Heritage domains”

The 2003 Convention proposes five broad ‘domains’ in which intangible cultural heritage is manifested:

Instances of intangible cultural heritage are not limited to a single manifestation and many include elements from multiple domains. While the Convention sets out a framework for identifying forms of intangible cultural heritage, the list of domains it provides is intended to be inclusive rather than exclusive; it is not necessarily meant to be ‘complete’. States may use a different system of domains. There is already a wide degree of variation, with some countries dividing up the manifestations of intangible heritage differently, while others use broadly similar domains to those of the Convention with alternative names. They may add further domains or new sub-categories to existing domains. (…)

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Fact sheets on Intangible Cultural Heritage

Fact sheets present the following safeguarding projects:

Download the brochure in: English|French|Spanish|Arabic|Dutch|Aymara|Guarani|Vietnamese