The Spirit of the Convention –: Interlocking Principles and Ethics for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage

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Abstract

Since December 2015, a set of twelve Ethical Principles for
Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage enriches the
paradigm of the 2003 UNESCO Convention. At the meeting of its
Intergovernmental Committee at Windhoek where those
principles were endorsed, and where a whole chapter of new
operational directives was fine-tuned in order to respond to the
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN General
Assembly, 25 September 2015), the UNESCO Secretariat was
instructed to build an on-line platform with a toolkit about
ethics and safeguarding intangible heritage. Accredited NGOs
were also finally invited to collaborate and play a role in
developing and updating the 2003 UNESCO Convention and its
operational directives. This is a major breakthrough. In this
article we trace and discuss this ‘hop’ (1999), ‘skip’ (2012-2015)
and ‘jump’ process (2016 onwards) in the emerging paradigm of
safeguarding ICH. Why twelve principles and not a supermodel
code of ethics for (safeguarding) intangible heritage?
How do innovations like ‘sustained free and informed consent’
or ‘benefit sharing’ open new doors? What do anthropology,
folklore studies and museology have to offer? Is the online
platform a good idea, in the light of recent developments in
international conventions on biodiversity, bioethics or the work
of WIPO and other organisations ?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Intangible Heritage
Volume11
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • intangible cultural heritage
  • operational directives
  • Ethics
  • UNESCO
  • UNESCO convention
  • Consent
  • safeguarding
  • intergouvernmental committee

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