One of UNESCO’s main activities, the cultural sector, recognizes the importance of all heritage including the tangible heritage and intangible heritage of mankind and emphasizes cultural diversity for the sustainable development of mankind. In 2003, UNESCO adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, contributing to the promotion of cultural diversity.

Definition of Intangible Cultural Heritage (Article 2 of the Convention)

  •  It is practice, representation, expression, knowledge, and skills that generations, groups, or sometimes individuals perceive as part of their cultural heritage, and instruments, objects, artifacts, and cultural spaces related thereto.
  • Intangible heritage is transmitted from generation to generation
  • and promotes respect for cultural diversity and the creativity of mankind by ensuring that groups are recreated constantly in response to the environment, interacting with nature and history, and ensuring that they have an identity and continuity.

Examples of Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of ICH
  • Performing arts
  • Social practices, rituals and festive events
  • Traditional craftsmanship

Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • The Convention on the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage entered on October 17, 2003 adopted the urgent safeguarding list and representative list entry system, and integrated heritage declared as ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ into the ‘Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.
  • In addition, UNESCO sought to expand the participation of various entities such as NGOs, communities, experts, professional centers, and research institutes in the safeguarding of intangible heritage based on the convention adopted, established the intergovernmental committee and the intangible heritage fund for implementation of the convention to request national reports on safeguarding intangible heritages to contribute to, and raise awareness of intangible heritage protection.