Non-governmental organizations, centres of expertise and research institutes

NGOs, experts, centres of expertise and research institutes play vital roles in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. Chapter III of the Operational Directives explain that States Parties must ensure the participation of communities who are the bearers of intangible cultural heritage and should involve civil society in the implementation of the Convention at the national and international levels.

NGOs and the 2003 Convention

At the national level, States Parties are encouraged to involve NGOs in their safeguarding efforts especially in the identification and definition of intangible cultural heritage since NGOs are often best placed to work directly with heritage communities.

At the international level, accredited NGOs may be invited by the Intergovernmental Committee to provide advisory services, in particular through the Evaluation Body. The General Assembly already approved the accreditation of more than 150 NGOs (97 at its third session, in 2010, 59 in 2012 and 22 in 2014). NGOs whose activities are in the field of intangible cultural heritage are welcome to request accreditation, particularly those from developing countries.

Experts, centres of expertise and research institutes

see the list of Category 2 centers for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage

States Parties are encouraged to create a coordination mechanism to facilitate the participation of communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals, as well as experts, centres of expertise and research institutes, in particular in:

  • the identification and definition of intangible cultural heritage;
  • the drawing up of inventories;
  • the elaboration and implementation of programmes, projects and activities or
  • the preparation of nomination files for inscription on the Lists.

States Parties are also encouraged to establish and regularly update, in a manner geared to their own situation, a directory of such stakeholders that could undertake ‘scientific, technical and artistic studies…with a view to effective safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage’ (Article 13.c).