- Having examined document ITH/09/4.COM/CONF.209/6;
- Recalling the articles of the Convention that directly or indirectly concern the promotion and visibility of the intangible cultural heritage, in particular its Preamble and Articles 1, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18;
- Also recalling Resolution 2.GA 5;
- Submits to the General Assembly for approval the draft operational directives on raising awareness about intangible cultural heritage, as annexed to this decision.
Draft operational directives on
raising awareness about intangible cultural heritage
- With a view to effectively implementing the Convention, States Parties shall endeavour, by all appropriate means, to ensure respect for the intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups and individuals concerned, as well as raise awareness at the local, national and international levels of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage, and ensure mutual appreciation thereof.
- When raising awareness about the importance of specific elements of intangible cultural heritage, all parties are encouraged to observe the following principles:
- The intangible cultural heritage concerned responds to the definition in Article 2.1 of the Convention.
- The communities, groups and, where appropriate, individuals concerned have given their free, prior and informed consent to raise awareness about their intangible cultural heritage, and their widest possible participation in the awareness-raising actions is ensured.
- The awareness-raising actions fully respect customary practices governing access to specific aspects of such heritage, in particular secret and sacred aspects.
- The communities, groups and, where appropriate, individuals concerned shall benefit from the actions taken to raise awareness about their intangible cultural heritage.
- All parties are encouraged to take particular care to ensure that awareness-raising actions will not:
- de-contextualize or denaturalize the intangible cultural heritage manifestations or expressions concerned;
- mark the communities, groups or individuals concerned as not participating in contemporary life, or harm in any way their image;
- contribute to justifying any form of political, social, ethnic, religious, linguistic or gender-based discrimination;
- facilitate the misappropriation or abuse of the knowledge and skills of the communities, groups or individuals concerned;
- lead to over-commercialization or to unsustainable tourism that may put at risk the intangible cultural heritage concerned.
Local and national levels
- States Parties are encouraged to develop and adopt codes of ethics based on the provisions of the Convention and these Operational Directives, in order to ensure appropriate ways of raising awareness about the intangible cultural heritage present in their respective territories.
- States Parties shall endeavour to ensure, in particular through the application of intellectual property rights, privacy rights and any other appropriate form of legal protection, that the rights of the communities, groups and individuals that create, bear and transmit their intangible cultural heritage are duly protected when raising awareness about their heritage or engaging in commercial activities.
- States Parties shall endeavour, by all appropriate means, to keep the public informed about the importance of intangible cultural heritage and the dangers threatening it, as well as about the activities carried out in pursuance of the Convention. To this end, States Parties are encouraged to:
- support media campaigns and the broadcasting of intangible cultural heritage on all forms of media;
- support the organization of symposiums, workshops, public forums and seminars on intangible cultural heritage, as well as exhibitions, festivals, intangible heritage days and contests;
- support case studies and field surveys, and disseminate this information;
- promote policies for the public recognition of bearers and practitioners of intangible cultural heritage;
- promote and support the establishment of community associations, and foster the exchange of information among them;
- develop policies to recognize the contribution of the manifestations of the intangible cultural heritage present in their territories to the cultural diversity and wealth of the States;
- support the development and implementation of local policies aiming at promoting awareness of intangible cultural heritage.
- States Parties shall endeavour in particular to adopt measures to support the promotion and dissemination of the programmes, projects and activities selected by the Committee, in conformity with Article 18, as best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention.
Formal and non-formal education measures
- States Parties shall endeavour, by all appropriate means, to ensure recognition of, respect for and enhancement of intangible cultural heritage through educational and information programmes, as well as capacity-building activities and non-formal means of transmitting knowledge (Article 14 (a)). States Parties are encouraged, in particular, to implement measures and policies aimed at:
- promoting the role of intangible cultural heritage as an instrument of integration and intercultural dialogue, and promoting multilingual education to include vernacular languages;
- teaching about intangible cultural heritage in school curricula adapted to local specificities, and developing appropriate educational and training material such as books, CDs, videos, documentaries, manuals or brochures;
- enhancing the capacities of teachers to teach about intangible cultural heritage, and developing guides and manuals to this end;
- involving parents and parent associations to suggest themes and modules for teaching intangible cultural heritage in schools;
- involving practitioners and bearers in the development of educational programmes and inviting them to explain their heritage in schools and educational institutions;
- involving youth in collecting and disseminating information about the intangible cultural heritage of their communities;
- acknowledging the value of the non-formal transmission of the knowledge and skills embedded in intangible cultural heritage;
- privileging experiencing intangible cultural heritage with practical methods by employing participatory educational methodologies, also in the form of games, home-tutoring and apprenticeships;
- developing activities such as summer training, open-days, visits, photo and video contests, cultural heritage itineraries, or school trips to natural spaces and places of memory whose existence is necessary for expressing intangible cultural heritage;
- making full use, where appropriate, of information and communication technologies;
- teaching about intangible cultural heritage in universities and fostering the development of interdisciplinary scientific, technical, and artistic studies, as well as research methodologies;
- providing vocational guidance to youth by informing them about the value of intangible cultural heritage for personal and career development;
- training communities, groups or individuals in the management of small businesses dealing with intangible cultural heritage.
Community centres and associations, museums, archives and other similar entities
- Community centres and associations that are created and managed by communities themselves can play a vital role in supporting the transmission of intangible cultural heritage and informing the general public about its importance for those communities. In order to contribute to raising awareness about intangible cultural heritage and its importance, they are encouraged to:
- be used by communities as cultural spaces in which their intangible cultural heritage is safeguarded through non-formal means;
- be used as places for transmitting traditional knowledge and skills and thus contribute to intergenerational dialogue;
- serve as information centres about a community’s intangible cultural heritage.
- Museums, archives, libraries, documentation centres and similar entities play an important role in collecting, documenting, archiving and conserving data on intangible cultural heritage, as well as in providing information and raising awareness about its importance. In order to enhance their awareness-raising functions about intangible cultural heritage, these entities are encouraged to:
- involve practitioners and bearers of intangible cultural heritage when organizing exhibitions, lectures, seminars, debates and training on their heritage;
- introduce and develop participatory approaches to presenting intangible cultural heritage as living heritage in constant evolution;
- focus on the continuous recreation and transmission of knowledge and skills necessary for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, rather than on the objects that are associated to it;
- employ, when appropriate, information and communication technologies to communicate the meaning and value of intangible cultural heritage;
- involve practitioners and bearers in their management, putting in place participatory systems for local development.
Communications and media
- The media can effectively contribute to raising awareness about the importance of intangible cultural heritage.
- The media are encouraged to contribute to raising awareness about the importance of the intangible cultural heritage as a means to foster social cohesion, sustainable development and prevention of conflict, in preference to focussing only on its aesthetic or entertainment aspects.
- The media are encouraged to contribute to raising awareness among the public at large about the diversity of intangible cultural heritage manifestations and expressions, particularly through the production of specialized programmes and products addressing different target groups.
- Audiovisual media are encouraged to create quality television and radio programmes, as well as documentaries, to enhance the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and its role in contemporary societies. Local broadcasting networks and community radios could play a major role in enhancing knowledge of local languages and culture, as well as spreading information on good safeguarding practices.
- The media are encouraged to contribute to the sharing of information within communities by using their existing networks in order to support them in their safeguarding efforts, or by providing discussion forums at local and national levels.
- Information technology institutions are encouraged to facilitate the interactive exchange of information and enhance non-formal means of transmission of intangible cultural heritage, in particular by developing interactive programmes and games targeting youth.
Commercial activities related to intangible heritage
- Commercial activities and trade in cultural goods and services related to intangible cultural heritage can raise awareness about the importance of such heritage and generate income for its practitioners. They can contribute to improving the living standards of the communities that bear and practice the heritage, enhance the local economy, and contribute to social cohesion. Besides creating job opportunities for practitioners and bearers, they can also contribute to the transmission of the knowledge and skills necessary for ensuring the viability of their intangible cultural heritage. The production of books, films, videos, music recordings, crafts, musical instruments, traditional clothes or the organization of festivals, fairs and the welcoming of tourists can raise awareness about intangible cultural heritage, generate income and support a sustainable model of economic development.
- These activities and trade should not, however, threaten the viability of the intangible cultural heritage, and all appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that the communities concerned are their primary beneficiaries. Particular attention should be given to the way such activities might affect the nature and viability of the intangible cultural heritage, in particular the intangible heritage manifested in the domains of rituals, social practices or knowledge about nature and the universe.
- Particular attention should be paid to avoiding commercial misappropriation, to managing tourism in a sustainable way, to finding a proper balance between the interests of the commercial party, the public administration and the cultural practitioners, and to ensuring that the commercial use does not distort the meaning and purpose of the intangible cultural heritage for the community concerned.
- The Committee updates and publishes annually the Urgent Safeguarding List, Representative List and register of programmes, projects and activities mentioned in Article 18 of the Convention. In order to ensure better visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and awareness of its significance at the local, national and international levels, the Committee encourages and supports the widest possible dissemination of the Lists through formal and non-formal means, in particular by:
- schools, including those belonging to UNESCO’s Associated Schools network;
- community centres, museums, archives, libraries and similar entities;
- universities, centres of expertise and research institutes;
- all forms of media, including UNESCO’s website.
- The Committee encourages the production of audiovisual and digital material, as well as publications and other promotional material such as maps, stamps, posters or stickers on the intangible cultural heritage, including the elements inscribed on the Lists.
- When publicizing and disseminating information on the elements inscribed on the Lists, care should be given to presenting the elements in their context and to focusing on their value and meaning for the communities concerned, rather than only on their aesthetic appeal or entertainment value.
- The Committee shall accompany the implementation of programmes, projects and activities that it considers best reflect the principles and objectives of the Convention by disseminating best practices using all possible means, including those referred to in paragraph 20 above of these Operational Directives.
- To contribute to the fullest possible visibility and raising awareness about intangible cultural heritage, the emblem of the Convention may be used in accordance with the principles and regulations established for this purpose, as laid out in paragraphs [***] of these Operational Directives.
- In order to assist the Committee in raising awareness of intangible cultural heritage, the UNESCO Secretariat shall:
- function as a clearing house for the collection, exchange and dissemination of information on intangible cultural heritage, in particular through the maintenance and update of databases, an information management system and a website;
- facilitate the exchange of information among communities and groups, civil society, non-governmental organizations, centres of expertise, research institutes and other entities with expertise or interest in the field of intangible cultural heritage;
- produce training and information material addressed to different publics to support safeguarding and awareness-raising efforts; such material should be easily reproduced and translated locally;
- organize and participate in workshops, seminars and international conferences in order to provide information about the Convention;
- coordinate efforts in raising awareness about the importance of intangible cultural heritage with the Secretariats of other UNESCO normative instruments and programmes, as well as with other UN Agencies and Programmes and other intergovernmental organizations;
- promote the importance of intangible cultural heritage in international celebrations such as International Mother Language Day or the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, and launch international campaigns aiming at raising awareness about intangible cultural heritage and increasing voluntary contributions to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund;
- include training on intangible cultural heritage in UNESCO scholarship systems and traineeships.