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Finland joined the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 16.5.2013 10.24
Press release -

UNESCO?s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage will enter into force in Finland on 21 May 2013. The Convention has been ratified by 152 nations to date. Finland was the last of the Nordic countries to join.

Intangible cultural heritage consists of phenomena that are passed down through the generations and remain alive. This means elements related to oral traditions, performing arts, practices in social life, rituals, festivities as well as knowledge, skills and practices related to the natural environment and the universe. They help create objects, such as tools and handicraft, different forms of expression such as songs, poems, dance, or representations related to social life, such as games and food and ways to prepare food.

The Convention aims to promote the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, ensure recognition of and respect for the intangible cultural heritage of different groups and individuals, and awareness-raising of intangible cultural heritage at the local, national and international level and thus also foster mutual understanding between peoples and provide international cooperation and assistance.

In line with the main objectives, each State Party shall safeguard and recognise its intangible cultural heritage, and record, list, examine, protect and promote its heritage. The State Parties shall also provide education and research into its intangible cultural heritage and encourage collaboration between different actors both at the national and international level.

Cross-cultural dialogue helps to better understand cultural heritage, and strengthens respect for different ways of living. Awareness of intangible cultural heritage is instrumental when it is used to hand down important skills and knowledge from one generation to the next. It is particularly relevant in ensuring harmonious living between minorities and the general population.

The Convention specifies ways to draw up appropriate representative lists. This involves regular updating of national intangible cultural heritage lists, an international intangible cultural heritage list and an international list of endangered intangible cultural heritage.

Inquiries: Ms Leena Laaksonen, (Senior Advisor), Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 3 30175

Text of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage