Mauritius second State to ratify the International Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural HeritageMauritius became the second Member State to ratify the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)* after completing the required procedure at the Organization on June 4.
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura welcomed the move, to be followed next week by Japan, which is expected to deposit its instrument of acceptance at the Organization’s Headquarters on Tuesday, June 15. In March this year Algeria was the first State to deposit its instrument of approval of the Convention, which will enter into force three months after 30 States have ratified it.
The Convention aims to safeguard oral traditions and expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events and traditional craftmanship, as well as knowledge and practice concerning nature and the universe. This new legal instrument complements other UNESCO Conventions protecting the world’s tangible cultural heritage.
There is a “common concern to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage of humanity,” states the Convention, which stresses the “invaluable role” of such heritage “in bringing human beings closer together and ensuring exchange and understanding between them”. The Convention provides for the drawing up of national inventories of cultural elements that must be protected, the creation of an Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage comprising experts from the future States Parties, and the creation of two lists: one covering the intangible heritage of humanity, the other featuring the parts of that heritage considered to be in urgent need of safeguarding.
A regional seminar is currently taking place in Dakar, Senegal, to promote the ratification of the Convention in West and Central Africa. Seven other regional meetings are scheduled to take place by the end of next year in Paraty, Brazil; Delhi, India; Nairobi, Kenya; Algiers, Algeria; Dominica; Fiji; and in Europe.
*The complete text of the Convention can be found at http://www.unesco.org/legal_instruments