Intangible Cultural Heritage


Intangible cultural heritage is a broader term which no longer depicts only the monuments and collection of objects of cultural importance. In the age of fast-growing globalization, Intangible cultural heritage plays an important role in maintaining cultural diversity. Proper understanding of the Intangible cultural heritage pertaining to different communities helps in ensuring intercultural dialogue.

  • Intangible Heritage
  • Endangered Languages

Intangible Heritage


The concept of intangible heritage extends over a wide field, particularly the oral traditions, languages, the process of creation of skills and know-how, performing arts, festive events, rites and social practices, cosmologies, learning systems, and beliefs and practices related to nature. Intangible cultural heritage is important not only for the manifestation of culture, but also in the transmission of the wealth of knowledge and skills from one generation to the next.

UNESCO New Delhi supports the effort of local communities and groups to identify, enact, recreate and transmit the intangible or living heritage, and to found their culminating point in the adoption of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

  • Bhutan (under preparation)
  • India (under preparation)
  • Sri Lanka (under preparation)
  • Maldives (under preparation)

Endangered Languages


According to the latest UNESCO Atlas of World's Languages in Danger of Disappearing, there are around 2,500 of the 6,000 languages spoken worldwide currently on the verge of extinction. With 197 of its languages listed as endangered, India, a nation with great linguistic diversity, tops the UNESCO's list of countries having maximum number of dialects endangered. With the disappearance of unwritten and undocumented languages, humanity would lose not only a cultural wealth but also important ancestral knowledge embedded, in particular, in indigenous languages.

UNESCO’s Endangered Languages Programme aims to support communities, experts and governments by producing, coordinating, and disseminating tools for monitoring, advocacy, and assessment of status and trends in linguistic diversity. The programme also provides services such as policy advice, technical expertise and training, good practices and a platform for exchange and transfer of skills.

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