Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)


The Convention, building on the 1989 Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore, establishes the necessary measures that States should take in the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). The Convention defines the nature and forms of ICH—oral traditions, expressions, language, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, traditional craftsmanship, and knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe—and recommends ways to preserve them. Noting the threat that globalization and social transformation pose to ICH, safeguarding measures include:
  • identification and documentation of traditions;
  • research;
  • preservation, protection, and promotion;
  • transmission, particularly through formal and non-formal education; and
  • revitalization of the various aspects of such heritage.

The Convention also creates the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and establishes a fund for financial assistance.