In 1993, following an agreement between UNESCO and the Japanese government, a special Funds-in-Trust was created aimed at assisting UNESCO in its actions in favour of intangible cultural heritage. Up to and including 2007, Japan’s total contribution to the Fund has amounted to approximately USD 12 millions. In particular, the Fund played an important role in the preparation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
In accordance with the spirit of the Convention, the main focus of the Fund is currently given to activities, especially for developing countries and post-conflict countries, aimed at ensuring the viability of the intangible cultural heritage, including identification (inventories), transmission, particularly through formal and non-formal education, protection, promotion, enhancement, documentation and research. The Fund also contributes to awareness-raising about and capacity-building in ratification and implementation of the Convention, especially in the Pacific region.
The various projects supported by the Fund provide examples and lessons learnt of the development and implementation of safeguarding projects in the field of intangible cultural heritage. The following list presents, by region, the projects and meetings that were possible thanks to contributions of the Japan Funds-in-Trust.