The Republic of Korea has been a faithful supporter of UNESCO’s activities in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, providing substantial support in the 1990s to the development and dissemination of “Living Human Treasures” systems in a number of countries. The Arirang Prize for intangible heritage was awarded to six of the elements proclaimed Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity between 2001 and 2005, and will be reinstated soon as a prize to recognize outstanding contributions to the safeguarding of intangible heritage. The Republic of Korea has also established several Funds-in-Trust to support specific safeguarding activities:
- Support of a regional meeting “Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage and Sustaining Cultural Tourism: Opportunities and Challenges”, $60,000, organized in December 2007 in Hue, Viet Nam, by UNESCO’s Bangkok field office, in cooperation with the Establishment Initiative for the Intangible Heritage Centre for Asia-Pacific, a unit of the Cultural Heritage Foundation (formerly, Foundation for the Protection of Cultural Property)
- Establishment of Living Human Treasures systems in Fiji and Cambodia, $113,000. Established 21 March 2005; fund source the Municipal Government of Gangneung, through the Korean National Commission for UNESCO
- Support of a documentation project on children’s games in the Asia-Pacific region, $113,000. Fund source the Municipal Government of Gangneung, through the Korean National Commission for UNESCO
- Fund-in-Trust on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia Pacific Region, $200,000. Established on 21 November 2006, with funding provided by the Government of the Republic of Korea. Among the activities to be supported by the FIT is a feasibility study for a proposed category 2 centre for intangible heritage in the Asia-Pacific region (English|French|Spanish|Russian|Chinese|Arabic). Project planning is underway for:
- Feasibility study for an interactive resource for communities involved in safeguarding intangible heritage
- Expert meeting: How can information and communications technologies contribute to safeguarding intangible heritage?