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UNESCO celebrates 20 Years of Living Heritage, adding 55 new inscriptions to its list

09 December 2023 [21:15] - TODAY.AZ

The Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention’s 20th Anniversary was also celebrated at the Committee Session, according to the official website of the UNESCO, Azernews reports.

The convention is now ratified by 181 State Parties, and the list now includes more than 700 traditions and cultural practices.

Held from the 5 - 8 December, the 18th Intergovernmental session of the Committee was chaired by Botswana. Following debates, the 24 State members of the Committee decided to inscribe 55 new cultural practices:

• 6 practices were inscribed on the Intangible Heritage List of Urgent Safeguarding

• 45 practices were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

• And 4 were inscribed on the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices

Including these new inscriptions, 730 cultural practices spread across 145 countries now make up UNESCO’s living heritage.

The Committee also awarded two international assistance grants: one to Zimbabwe for 321,300 USD, and the other to Paraguaray, for 74,500 USD. Since the Convention was created, UNESCO has financed more than 140 safeguarding projects in over 70 countries, totaling over 12 million US Dollars.

In the case of more than half of the practices registered this year, techniques and know-how have been passed on within the family, from generation to generation. This characteristic is a reminder that intangible cultural heritage, as defended and promoted by UNESCO, is living heritage that is preserved by transmission between individuals – often family members.

The key role of women in the preservation and the transmission of cultural practices is at the heart of these new inscriptions. They are the true guardians of traditions, which are also often a source of emancipation and empowerment.

For the first time since 2008, this year the Committee inscribed a record number of 10 cultural practices from sub-Saharan Africa. It is clear that all regions of the world have now embraced this Convention, and demonstrate the same dynamism and capacity to inscribe their practices.

The Committee welcomed the 12 multinational inscriptions, because the Convention also acts as an important catalyst for cultural dialogue across borders.

2023 also marks the first time a practice has been inscribed as UNESCO living heritage by 5 countries: Angola, The Bahamas, Cameroon, Djibouti and Grenada.

During the session, multinational nominations such as “Art of illumination” (Azerbaijan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Tajikistan, Türkiye, Uzbekistan), “Iftar” (Azerbaijan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Türkiye, Uzbekistan), “Craftsmanship and performing art of balaban/mey” (Azerbaijan, Türkiye) and “Craftsmanship of mother of pearl inlay” (Azerbaijan, Türkiye) were also inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The next committee session will take place in December 2024. It will be chaired by Paraguay.


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