Safeguarding our Heritage for our Grandchildren - Can UNESCO help?


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Safeguarding our Heritage for our Grandchildren - Can UNESCO help?

  1. 1. Safeguarding our Heritage for our Grandchildren – can UNESCO help?
  2. 2. UNESCO Declarations and Conventions Heather Peters, UNESCO Bangkok Cultures around the world are threatened by globalization, modernization and irresponsible development Can UNESCO play a role?
  3. 3. UNESCO Tools Designed to Safeguard our Heritage 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage ( 2001 Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity ( 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (
  4. 4. UNESCO World Heritage Convention Most famous UNESCO convention. Adopted on 16 November 1972. Significance: the cultural and natural sites found within national boundaries were significant not just to their own national heritage, but to the heritage of the world. Important, but government driven – communities do not nominate sites
  5. 5. Criteria Represent a masterpiece of human creative genius Exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town planning or landscape design; Bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or has disappeared; Be an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human
  6. 6. Criteria Be an outstanding example of a traditional settlement or nd use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), pecially when it has become vulnerable under the impact irreversible change; Be directly or tangibly associated with events of living ditional; with ideas or with beliefs, with artistic and rary works of outstanding universal significance; Contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of ceptional natural beauty and esthetic importance;
  7. 7. Criteria Be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s ory, including the record of life, significant on-going geological cesses in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic physiographic features; Be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ological and biological processes in the evolution and development errestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and mmunities of plants and animals; Contain the most important and significant natural habitats for the in- conservation of biological diversity, including those containing eatened species of outstanding university value from the point of w of science or conservation
  8. 8. World Heritage – a Benefit or a Threat to Heritage? Issues at Stake – Popular destination vs. fragility of destination – Glory and fame of World Heritage inscription vs. no money from UNESCO – Tourism as one of few means to generate income
  9. 9. Concerns in Living Historic Towns The living, traditional ways of life are threatened by tourism development Local inhabitants can easily become side- lined from benefits of tourism The increased costs of site maintenance are not compensated by increased revenues from tourist industry
  10. 10. Tourism Development and Preservation: contradiction at World Heritage Sites
  11. 11. World Heritage
  12. 12. Shift to Living Cultural Heritage Growing awareness that most dimensions of human culture are intangible; for example, cultural practices, knowledge systems, religion, different forms of creativity (music, dance, painting, etc) Led to the Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001) and the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) Combined with the recognition of complex linkages between bio-diversity and cultural
  13. 13. Declaration on Cultural Diversity Unanimously adopted by the 31st session of the General Conference of UNESCO, Paris, 2 November 2001 – Was adopted shortly after the events of 9/11 when the world reacted in horror at the conflict between cultures. – It raised cultural diversity to the level of the “common heritage of humanity” – as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature. Reaffirms that culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses not only art and literature, but ways of life, value systems, traditions and beliefs.
  14. 14. 12 Articles: Declaration on Cultural Diversity Cultural Diversity is the common heritage of humanity Cultural Diversity leads to Cultural Pluralism Cultural Diversity is a factor in development The defense of Cultural Diversity is inseparable from a commitment to human rights. Cultural rights are an integral part of human rights 1. For example, all persons have the right to express themselves in language of their choice
  15. 15. 2 Articles: Declaration on Cultural Diversity Ensure free flow of ideas and access for all to cultural diversity by safeguarding linguistic heritage and promoting linguistic diversity Cultural heritage is the wellspring of creativity Recognize the rights of authors, artists etc. Cultural policies are catalysts of creativity . Strengthen Capacities for creation and dissemination worldwide . Build partnerships between public sector, private sector and civil society . UNESCO has a role to play
  16. 16. Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage Adopted in 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is transmitted from generation to generation and is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity Safeguarding means guaranteeing its visibility and continuity – this includes identification, documentation research, preservation, promotion and transmission.
  17. 17. Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage What are its objectives: – Safeguard ICH – Ensure respect for the ICH of communities, groups and individuals – To raise awareness at the local, national and international levels of the importance of ICH
  18. 18. Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) includes: – Oral traditions and expressions including language – Performing arts – Social practices, rituals and festive events – Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe – Traditional craftsmanship
  19. 19. Oral traditions and Performing Arts
  20. 20. Social Practices and Festive Events
  21. 21. Rituals; knowledge and Practices concerning Nature
  22. 22. Traditional Craftsmanship
  23. 23. Traditional Artisans
  24. 24. Role of Communities Importance of the ICH Convention is the role of the COMMUNITY Governments do not define ICH – the community does Part of the process is for communities to do an inventory
  25. 25. Education and Awareness Raising
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