09.06.2016 - UNESCO Venice Office

South-East European countries share insights to enhance the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Spring procession of Ljelje/Kraljice (queens) from Gorjani – 2008 Ministry of Culture of Croatia

The Island of Brac in Croatia will host the Annual Meeting of the South-East European Experts Network on Intangible Cultural Heritage on 14-15 June 2016. Entitled “Intangible cultural heritage and World Heritage: synergies and coordination between the UNESCO 2003 and 1972 Conventions”, the 10th edition of the meeting is jointly organised by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), the Ministry of Culture of Croatia, the Croatian Commission for UNESCO and the Sofia Regional Center for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe under the auspices of UNESCO (Bulgaria).

The promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage stands high among the political priorities of South-East Europe in the field of culture. All countries from the region have ratified the UNESCO 2003 Convention and are stepping up efforts to safeguard their intangible cultural heritage. In order to support the Convention’s implementation in the region, the South-East European Experts Network on Intangible Cultural Heritage was established in 2007 and it represents the main regional forum for the exchange of knowledge and experiences on this topic.

Previous annual meetings of the Network were held in: Bulgaria (2007), Turkey (2008), Croatia (2009), Romania (2010), Serbia (2011), Greece (2012), Bulgaria (2013); Cyprus (2014) and Italy (2015). These meetings contributed to enhance a common understanding of opportunities and challenges linked to the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage as a key asset of cultural heritage and diversity, as well as to develop institutional and professional capacities within the relevant national institutions.

During their last meeting in Venice (Italy) in 2015, which addressed the links between the 2003 and 2005 Conventions, the participants agreed on focusing their next annual gathering on the relation between tangible and intangible heritage, with special attention to the coordination and synergies between the UNESCO 2003 and 1972 Conventions. Accordingly, this year’s meeting is composed of two sessions, devoted respectively on “Implementing the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage: progress, experiences and challenges” and “The UNESCO 1972 and 2003 Conventions: convergences and coordination”.

During the first session, participants will be invited to give presentations on the main developments, achievements and challenges in implementing the 2003 Convention in their respective countries, in particular on the period 2015-2016. Presentations may include information on legal and regulatory frameworks, general policies, cooperation mechanisms, institutions, networks, as well as on specific safeguarding and awareness-raising activities.

The second session will include presentations on respective experiences in linking the UNESCO 1972 and 2003 Conventions, both at local and country levels. This will be followed by a round table discussion on the potential complementary role of the two instruments, as well as on the challenges and opportunities related to their synergic action and integrated implementation.

The meeting will be attended by experts in representation of the ministries of culture and/or other relevant authorities of Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria, Croatia; Cyprus; Italy; Greece; Hungary (as observer country); Republic of Moldova; Romania; Serbia; Slovenia; The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Turkey; and, the United Arab Emirates (as observer country). International experts and UNESCO staff will also participate in the meeting.

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All countries from the South-East European region have ratified the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003), which came into force on 20 June 2006 and has been ratified at an unprecedented pace, with the number of State Parties currently standing at 158. Its enforcement remains a political priority in the region, and for the international community as a whole.

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