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2003 UNESCO Convention

Generated in the wake of the Declaration of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) of the principles of international cultural cooperation of 1966 (as well as of the initiatives adopted to follow, including the international seminars "Mondiacult" promoted in 1982 , from the recommendation of the general conference "On the safeguarding of traditional culture and folklore", from the 1996 report "Our creative diversity" and from the first proclamation of the first "masterpieces of humanity" in 1997), the need to identify the so-called " intangible heritage "and ensure protection measures in the relationship between human activities and the social environment develops since 1972, the adoption of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972.

Since then concepts such as traditional practices and techniques and representations of artistic identities and creativity, and methods of protecting cultural diversity have been re-elaborated several times in the course of several UNESCO work sessions up to adoption, during the 32 conference General, in the 2003, of an ad hoc instrument, the Convention on the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage, signed the 17 2003 October and entered into force on 20 2006 April after the accession of Albania as 47th State part.

About thirty years after the Convention on World, Cultural and Natural Heritage (Paris, 1972), therefore, the negotiation for a treaty establishing a second protection regime, based on a broader concept of cultural heritage. This heritage also includes elements "intangible" or "immaterial" (oral traditions, popular practices, knowledge of nature, crafts, etc), which are connected with human groups and territorial contexts in which these elements are created, recreated and transmitted.

Article. 2, par. 1, of the Convention for the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage defines the "intangible cultural heritage" as practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, know-how - as well as tools, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated with them - that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history and gives them a sense of identity and continuity, promoting in this way respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.

The Intangible Cultural Heritage is mainly made up of the following broad categories of assets:

  • the languages, dialects and alloglotte islands;
  • performing arts, music, dance and theater forms;
  • social practices, rites, parties and ceremonies (including agricultural ones);
  • the knowledge and practices around nature and the universe;
  • methods and techniques, knowledge, craftsmanship.

The interrelation of these elements with the surrounding physical and social environment leads to the formation and dynamic elaboration of local identities.

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