UNESCO Culture Sector – Intangible Heritage – 2003 Convention : What is Intangible Cultural Heritage?

UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage initiative in detail. protecting and preserving oral traditions, history and knowledge of 90 cultures globally.  According to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) – or living heritage – is the mainspring of our cultural diversity and its maintenance a guarantee for continuing creativity.

The Convention states that the ICH is manifested, among others, in the following domains:

The 2003 Convention defines ICH as the practices, representations, expressions, as well as the knowledge and skills, that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage.

The definition also indicates that the ICH to be safeguarded by this Convention:

  • is transmitted from generation to generation;
  • is constantly recreated by communities and groups, in response to their environment, their interaction with nature, and their history;
  • provides communities and groups with a sense of identity and continuity;
  • promotes respect for cultural diversity and human creativity;
  • is compatible with international human rights instruments;
  • complies with the requirements of mutual respect among communities, and of sustainable development.

For more information, see the link above.