What is UNESCO’s  Intangible Cultural Heritage List?« Back to Questions List

UNESCO in 2008 established Intangible Cultural  Heritage list. UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list focuses on intangible aspects of culture. The list is a counter part to the UNESCO World Heritage list.  Heritage means cultural or natural sites of substantial value passed on to us by past generations. Such place or  buildings  are identified and listed by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO and they find place in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The  Intangible Cultural Heritage list attracted the attention of world once again, when the UNESCO decided to include Sensual Ramba dance of Cuba, Belgian beer, Ugandan traditional music and black pottery manufacturing processes of Portuguese to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.   


The list of intangible Cultural Heritage was established with the twin aims of ensuring protection of important intangible cultural heritages and creating awareness on their significance. It emphasizes on the importance of safe guarding intangible heritage and acts as a repository of cultural diversity.

There are two lists. Representative ‘list of the intangible cultural heritage of Humanity’ comprises cultural practices and expressions that reveal the diversity of culture. This list is a long one. The shorter ‘list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safe guarding’ consists of cultural aspects that require urgent attention to keep them alive. Puppetry in Slovakia and Czechia, Yoga of India, Barkcloth making in Uganda and Baul  songs of Bangladesh are some of the items in the first list.   Qiang New Year Festival of China, Traditional music of the Tsuur , Mangolia etc find place in the second list that require urgent attention.

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