Sunday, May 21, 2006

The UNESCO Courier: Intangible Heritage

The May 2006 edition of The UNESCO Courier is devoted to the theme of intaginble heritage.

"The entry into force of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage represents a new phase for this living and intrinsically fragile heritage.

"Oral traditions and expressions (including language as a vehicle of intangible cultural heritage), traditional performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, traditional craftsmanship – all merit safeguarding for future generations, in the same way as the Galapagos Islands or the Egyptian Pyramids.

"Since 20 April, date of its entry into force, the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage stands watch to ensure the continuity of this living testimony to human creativity.

"To date, 47 States – from Algeria, first to approve it in February 2004, to Albania, which ratified it on 4 April 2006 – are parties to this Convention that completes UNESCO’s standard-setting measures for the safeguard of cultural heritage.

"The text is based on certain articles of the 1972 Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage that protects “tangible” forms of expression of heritage, both monuments and natural sites. It thus anticipates the creation of a General Assembly which will have its first meeting next June, an Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and a Fund that will make it possible to finance safeguarding projects.

"The Convention also stipulates that two lists will be drawn up: the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding."

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