Intangible Cultural Heritage

The General Conference of UNESCO adopted in 2003, at its 32nd session, the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The adoption of the Convention became a milestone in the evolution of international policies for promoting cultural diversity, since for the first time the international community had recognized the need to support the kind of cultural manifestations and expressions that until then had not benefited from such a large legal and programmatic framework.

The main goal of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is in safeguarding the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. Such heritage may be manifested in domains such as oral traditions and expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practice about nature and the universe, and traditional craftsmanship.

There are two lists, The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and The List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, as well as a Register of Best Safeguarding Practices. The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raise awareness about its importance. The Urgent Safeguarding List is composed of intangible heritage elements that concerned communities and States Parties consider require urgent measures to keep them alive. Inscriptions on this List help to mobilize international cooperation and assistance for stakeholders to undertake appropriate safeguarding measures.

In total there are 399 elements on the Representative List and 52 elements on the List of Intangible Heritage in need of Urgent Safeguarding, and 19 programmes and projects under the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices.

Bangladesh ratified the 2003 Convention in 2009 and has 5 elements inscribed on the Representative List.

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