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    General Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage: IC Attended First General Assembly of States Parties

    17/06/2015

    The General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held its first meeting from June 27 to 29 at UNESCO’s office in Paris with the participant of member states. Zhang Xinsheng, Vice-Minister of Education of the People’s Republic of China, attended the meeting with his delegation and gave a speech during the opening ceremony. Macao S.A.R. Government, an associate member of UNESCO, also attended the meeting as an observer, represented by Heidi Ho, Director of the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) and Leung Hio Ming, Dean of the Macao Conservatory.

    During the 32nd session of the General Conference, UNESCO adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on 17 October 2003 “Considering the deep-seated interdependence between the intangible cultural heritage and the tangible cultural and natural heritage, Recognizing that the processes of globalization and social transformation, alongside the conditions they create for renewed dialogue among communities, also give rise, as does the phenomenon of intolerance, to grave threats of deterioration, disappearance and destruction of the intangible cultural heritage, in particular owing to a lack of resources for safeguarding such heritage, Being aware of the universal will and the common concern to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, Recognizing that communities, in particular indigenous communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals, play an important role in the production, safeguarding, maintenance and re-creation of the intangible cultural heritage, thus helping to enrich cultural diversity and human creativity...”

    The Convention entered into force on 20 April 2006, three months after the deposit of the thirtieth instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. According to its Article 4 (1), a General Assembly of the States Parties was established as the sovereign body of the Convention. During the first session, the General Assembly adopted its agenda and timetable and the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The General Assembly shall meet in ordinary session in Paris every two years.

    Pursuant to the Convention, the General Assembly shall elect an Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is to be composed of representatives of States Parties to the Convention and which is to be elected by the States Parties meeting in General Assembly. The States Members of the Committee are to be elected for a term of four years by the General Assembly, with the exception of half of the Committee Members elected at the first election, which will serve a term of two years. The General Assembly shall subsequently renew half of the States Members of the Committee every two years. The Committee will be composed of representatives of 18 States Parties, including China.

    Functions of the Committee includes: to promote the objectives of the Convention, and to encourage and monitor the implementation thereof; provide guidance on best practices and make recommendations on measures for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage; prepare and submit to the General Assembly for approval a draft plan for the use of the resources of the Fund; seek means of increasing its resources, and to take the necessary measures to this end; prepare and submit to the General Assembly for approval operational directives for the implementation of this Convention; examine the reports submitted by States Parties, and to summarize them for the General Assembly; examine requests submitted by States Parties, and to decide thereon, in accordance with objective selection criteria to be established by the Committee and approved by the General Assembly for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, etc.

    The first session of the Intergovernmental Committee meeting will be held in Algeria the coming October. The Committee will then examine requests submitted by States Parties for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The “intangible cultural heritage” means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.


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