Criteria and timetable for selection of Register of Best Safeguarding Practices

Article 18 in the 2003 Convention stipulates that the Intergovernmental Committee periodically selects, among proposals submitted by States Parties, programmes, projects and activities for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage considered to best reflect the principles and objectives of the Convention. Once selected, the Committee promotes these initiatives as good safeguarding practices and accompanies their implementation for wider dissemination. This register of good practices is expected to serve as a platform for sharing good practices as well as serve as a source of inspiration to States, communities and anyone interested in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. Learning more about effective safeguarding measures with proven success across various types of intangible cultural heritage in different geographical regions will help the parties concerned develop their own appropriate safeguarding measures.

States Parties and communities wishing to share their effective safeguarding measures are invited to fill in and submit to UNESCO form ICH-03, available for download from the ICH Form. Proposals may include any of the safeguarding measures mentioned in Article 2.3 of the Convention, and at any level whether national, subregional, regional or international.

In the proposal, submitting States Parties are requested to describe and explain why the proposal should be considered for and included in the register of good safeguarding practices. From among the programmes, projects or activities proposed to the Committee by States Parties, only those that best satisfy the following criteria are selected:

Criterion-1The programme, project or activity involves safeguarding, as defined in Article 2.3 of the Convention
Criterion-2The programme, project or activity promotes the coordination of efforts for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage on regional, subregional and/or international levels.
Criterion-3The programme, project or activity reflects the principles and objectives of the Convention.
Criterion-4If already completed, the programme, project or activity has demonstrated effectiveness in contributing to the viability of the intangible cultural heritage concerned. If still underway or planned, it can reasonably be expected to contribute substantially to the viability of the intangible cultural heritage concerned.
Criterion-5The programme, project or activity has been or will be implemented with the participation of the community, group or, if applicable, individuals concerned and with their free, prior and informed consent.
Criterion-6The programme, project or activity may serve as a subregional, regional or international model, as the case may be, for safeguarding activities.
Criterion-7The submitting State(s) Party(ies), implementing body(ies), and community, group or, if applicable, individuals concerned are willing to cooperate in the dissemination of best practices, if their programme, project or activity is selected.
Criterion-8The programme, project or activity features experiences that are susceptible to an assessment of their results.
Criterion-9The programme, project or activity is primarily applicable to the particular needs of developing countries.

At its fourth session in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in 2009, the Intergovernmental Committee launched the register of good safeguarding practices by selecting two national and one subregional safeguarding programmes. The publication describes these first three chosen practices through presentation of community involvement, and the reasons for the decision to consider them as effective safeguarding measures. This publication series by UNESCO is just one of the many efforts to widely disseminate information on safeguarding. It will be regularly updated as the number of proposals to this register selected by the Committee continues to grow. More detailed information, including the actual nomination files, community consents, photographic and fim documentation as well as any updates are all available for consultation on the Lists.

The Committee is currently assisting the States Parties, whose proposed safeguarding measures have been selected for this register, to develop various communication materials, from written manuals and methodologies to exhibition supports, with the aim of providing concrete examples on how to implement these effective safeguarding measures in other contexts. Among the mechanisms established by the 2003 Convention that provide the international community with opportunities for cooperation, this register is expected to become one of the more practical and useful tools. UNESCO hopes that States Parties to the Convention will submit proposals to this register so as to inform on effective safeguarding practices implemented in cooperation with museums so that the register becomes a veritable platform in the sharing of ideas and experiences.