The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has now been ratified by 178 countries and is implemented worldwide. Many organizations and institutions have been developing activities at different scales and in multiple domains to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage present in their respective areas.
Article 18 of the 2003 Convention highlights that the ‘Committee shall periodically select and promote national, sub-regional and regional programmes, projects and activities for the safeguarding of the heritage which it considers best reflect the principles and objectives of this Convention, taking into account the special needs of developing countries’. The Intergovernmental Committee selects such safeguarding practices to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices based on nine criteria.
As the Register has been constantly underutilized in comparison to other listing mechanisms of the Convention, the Intergovernmental Committee at its eighth and tenth sessions requested the Secretariat to explore and develop alternate, lighter ways of sharing good safeguarding experiences to complement the Register (decisions 8.COM 5.c.1 para. 5.3 and 10.COM 10 para. 10). In this context, UNESCO launched a worldwide survey to collect information from key actors working in the field of living heritage safeguarding on the ground to shed new light on the challenges involved.
The survey was open for a period of six weeks, from 1 June to 16 July 2018, and targeted 2,232 contacts in the field of intangible cultural heritage, including NGOs accredited under the 2003 Convention, indigenous organizations, cities/local governments, national or sub-national/local institutions, academic communities, UNESCO Chairs and Category 2 Centres.