Climate change, commercialization, tourism: challenges for intangible heritage

  • 4 June 2014

As highlighted in a recent evaluation of the impact of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the link between culture and sustainable development is increasingly recognized internationally. The Convention, however, is not explicit in this regard, even if the relationship between safeguarding, commercialization and sustainable development have featured in numerous debates in Committee meetings in recent years.
Similarly, the impact of climate change and its effects on ecosystems and the communities concerned is not addressed, even though traditional knowledge offers viable adaptive strategies that can easily be implemented.
Awareness-raising about the importance of intangible heritage, particularly its contribution to sustainable development, remains a work in progress, and many such efforts are still required. More so, these efforts have to avoid de-contextualization or denaturalizing the expressions involved.
Three expert meetings will be held successively on these issues over the next twelve months to propose new Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the Convention and to initiate work on a model code of ethics: in Istanbul, Turkey, in September 2014; in Vinh , Viet Nam , in December 2014 and in Valencia, Spain, during the first half of 2015.