15.11.2013 - UNESCO Venice Office

Italy joins in the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the 2003 Convention with a conference related to Venice

©Mex3 - Vetreria Murano Arte glassmaker

Ten years have passed since the adoption of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. From its adoption in October 2003 until the submission of the first periodic reports in 2011 and 2012, the Convention has achieved many milestones at both the international and national levels. Its tenth anniversary offers a wide range of actors the opportunity to make an initial assessment and to explore the key challenges, constraints and possibilities related to its implementation.

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003 Convention) is UNESCO’s second culture youngest convention.  It came into force on 20 June 2006 and it has been ratified at an unprecedented pace, amounting at 155 State Parties as of July 2013 - of which Italy. Four elements were nominated by Italy and inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: Traditional violin craftsmanship in Cremona (2012); Mediterranean diet (2010); Canto a tenore, Sardinian pastoral songs and Opera dei Pupi, Sicilian puppet theatre (2008).

As part of its tenth anniversary, the Convention will be at the heart of the Conference on “The Intangible Cultural Heritage and Tourist Activities: the Case of Venice”, to be held on 22-23 November 2013 in Venice, Italy, at the Venice Cruise Port (Terminal 103). The event is organised by Venezia Terminal Passeggeri S.p.A., under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian National Commission for UNESCO, the Region and Province of Veneto, in cooperation with the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy) - among other partners. The Conference will count with the presence of leading worldwide experts, representatives of UNESCO, ministries, local and national institutions, non-governmental organizations and, academics specialized in the field.

The Conference will introduce the intangible cultural heritage at national and international levels and the related protection and safeguarding policies to promote a better knowledge, understanding, cataloguing and richness, and wide recognition. The programme will be divided into three sessions. The first session, “The Intangible Cultural Heritage at the World and European levels,” will address the most international aspects of the 2003 Convention with particular reference to tourism, intellectual property and non-governmental organizations. The second session will take stock of the Venetian intangible cultural heritage allowing for in-depth discussions on the Serenissima’s traditions - including the construction of gondolas, the making of Murano glass, Burano lace and precious fabrics. Special attention will lastly be given to the Carnival of Venice, the Commedia dell’arte, the Angel’s Flight and the Vertical Dance. On the second day, “The Intangible Cultural Heritage at the National Level” will be the subject of the debate of the third session; it will likewise tackle questions of legal protection and state of the art of on-going experiences and projects.

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Intangible cultural heritage includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts. The purposes of the 2003 Convention are to safeguard and ensure respect for the intangible cultural heritage, to raise awareness at the local, national and international levels of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage, and to provide for international cooperation and assistance.

The 2003 Convention Secretariat together with UNESCO’s Field Offices runs a comprehensive Capacity Building Programme to assist State Parties with the implementation of the Convention. The promotion of intangible cultural heritage stands high among the priorities of the region. The UNESCO Venice Office has accordingly organized annual meetings in the South-East European region (Bulgaria, 2007; Turkey, 2008; Croatia, April 2009, Romania, 2010; Serbia, 2011; Greece, 2012; Bulgaria, 2013) to 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.


Website of the Conference : http://www.vtp.it/

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