First inventory 2004
All member sates of the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage have a duty to inventory their own intangible cultural heritage for better preservation and promotion as mentioned in the article 12 about inventories of the Convention:
Article 12: Inventories
- To ensure identification with a view to safeguard, each State Party shall draw up, in a manner geared to its own situation, one or more inventories of the intangible cultural heritage present in its territory. These inventories shall be regularly updated.
- When each State Party periodically submits its report to the Committee, in accordance with Article 29, it shall provide relevant information on such inventories.
The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in close collaboration with UNESCO Phnom Penh Office published the first inventory of intangible cultural heritage in Cambodia in 2004.
This inventory catalogues various Cambodian intangible cultural forms such as performing arts, ethnic minority languages, genres of oral literature, oral folklore, and artisan skills. Such expressions which are part of Cambodia’s intangible cultural heritage are a vital source of the country’s identity and history.
The inventory was published, and it focuses on Cambodia’s traditional performing art genres. This includes over 83 titles of classical dance, 49 folk and popular dance, more than 20 forms of theatre and musical forms, and traditional circus.
Second inventory 2011
In May 2011, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, supported by the UNESCO Phnom Penh Office, organized a workshop to reinforce the implementation of the 2003 Convention. The focus of this workshop was on elaborating the adapted questionnaires to conduct ICH inventorying in Cambodia.
This inventory will focus only on artists and their skills. The questionnaires have been finalized and distributed to provincial Departments of Culture and Fine Arts. The work is in progress and the first result will be consulted in December 2011. This project will also feed the Living Human Treasures Program regarding the identification and nomination of new living human treasures.