International mobilization in favour of intangible heritage and cultural diversityIstanbul (Turkey) - Representatives of 110 countries, among them 72 culture ministers, decided to develop "policies which aim at the identification, safeguarding, promotion and transmission of the intangible cultural heritage, particularly through information and education."
At the close of a two-day round table - Intangible Cultural Heritage, Mirror of Cultural Diversity - chaired by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, ministers and participants adopted the Istanbul Declaration undertaking "to actively promote the principles set out in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity", adopted in Paris in November 2001.
The Istanbul Declaration, also pledges "in the spirit of international solidarity, to pay special attention to countries, such as Afghanistan, and to territories suffering from poverty, conflicts or crisis, and extend assistance when deemed necessary." The Declaration calls on UNESCO "to examine the possibility of establishing a special fund" to safeguard intangible heritage which consists of languages, social and religious rituals, songs, dance, plays, unique crafts all of which distinguish cultures from one another.
The Istanbul Declaration further states that "an appropriate international convention […] could be a positive step" in pursuing this goal. An intergovernmental expert meeting has been scheduled to prepare a preliminary draft convention.