17.04.2019 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

Creating inventory with community participation

India has a huge diversity of intangible cultural heritage represented in its oral and performing art traditions, festivals and rituals, craftsmanship, and traditional knowledge systems. The implementation of the UNESCO 2003 Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) ratified by India in 2005 requires State Parties to draw up inventories of ICH with the participation of communities as a safeguarding measure. A national inventory of ICH in India is an ongoing process and has been a challenge.

UNESCO in collaboration with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA),  as the lead technical partner is working to develop a methodology based on community participation for inventorying of intangible cultural heritage. The methodology is being developed through a pilot project in the Bani region of Kutch, Gujarat.  Bani is a grassland ecosystem with rich biodiversity and has several tribes including the pastoral communities. The lesser documented oral and narrative traditions of the region are the focus of the project. 

The implementation is being done in participation with communities and local NGOs which is in line with the Operational Directives of the UNESCO 2003 Convention on intangible cultural heritage. The project was initiated with a consultation meeting with the Advisory Group in Delhi on 3rd December 2018 to discuss various aspects related to the approach and implementation of the project.

The second consultation with local NGOs and members of communities is planned in Kutch in May/June 2019. The ICH inventory and the inventorying methodology will be disseminated for wider access at the end of the project. It can serve as a concrete example of a methodology that can be adapted for the inventorying of ICH in other parts of the country as well as in other South Asian countries with similar context and challenges.

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