13.05.2013 - UNESCO Venice Office

Intangible cultural heritage: New strategies for sustainable development, tourism and partnerships

Nestinarstvo, messages from the past: the Panagyr of Saints Constantine and Helena in the village of Bulgari © 2004 Regional Museum Burgas

The seventh annual regional meeting of experts on Intangible Cultural Heritage in South East Europe will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 27-28 May 2013. The event, organized by the Sofia Regional Center on Intangible cultural heritage in South-East Europe, with the support of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Culture and Science in Europe (Venice, Italy).

The regional encounter is a follow-up to the previous meetings (Arbanassi, Bulgaria, June 2007; Safranbolu, Turkey, May 2008; Zagreb, Croatia, April 2009, Râmnicu-Vâlcea, Romania, May 2010; Belgrade, Serbia, May 2011; Athens, Greece, May 2012) which have been organized to enhance a common understanding of opportunities and challenges linked to the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in the region, such as: national inventory policies, the process of revitalization, the management of sustainable cultural tourism, the role and involvement of the local communities, the transnational dimension of intangible cultural heritage, as well as training and capacity-building.

The annual meetings serve as a regional platform for sharing knowledge and good practices, and stimulating a collective reflection on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage as a key asset of South-East European cultural diversity.

The meeting in Sofia will focus its debates on three topics:  the status of implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the respective countries of the region; cases and best practices in promoting intangible cultural heritage as a driver for local sustainable development (tourism, private/public partnerships); and proposals for common action in the areas of training and capacity-building. The meeting will also allow experts to discuss, more specifically, the various ways of integrating intangible heritage in tourism and development policies, while fostering the responsible and ethical use of these living assets and forms of expressions.

The meeting will comprise experts from: Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria, Croatia; Cyprus; Greece; Italy; Montenegro; Republic of Moldova; Romania; Serbia; Slovenia; The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; and, Turkey.

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage came into force on 20 June 2006. It has been ratified at an unprecedented pace, the number of State Parties now amounting at 152. The promotion of intangible cultural heritage stands high among the political priorities in the South-East European region: all countries from the region have ratified the 2003 Convention.  

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