Throughout history, people have valued objects such as monuments, artifacts and archaeological sites. These objects have been used to build a sense of identity for a specific community and thereby provide an anchor for the history of that group. The loss of this cultural heritage can be catastrophic.
Intangible cultural heritage consists of traditions, beliefs, customs and skills that are intangible and do not have physical objects associated with them. These can include oral traditions, rituals, social observations, and practices related to the environment. It may also include the expression of these things through music, dance and other artistic forms.
This heritage is a valuable part of the culture that makes up the communities in which it is located and should be preserved. It provides a way for people to look back and reflect on their lives, and it can give them new opportunities for growth and development.
Preservation involves ensuring that these cultural heritages remain intact against the effects of natural disasters and other factors that would wear them down. This can be done by reviving buildings and archaeological sites, passing on ancient crafts or recording traditional tales.
The concept of culture is an essential element of human rights and has been a central theme of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Diversity and Access to Justice since its inception. She has submitted numerous thematic reports to the Human Rights Council that examine how access to cultural heritage can be safeguarded, and how enjoyment of it can promote respect for human rights.
A cultural heritage can be tangible or intangible, depending on the type of artifacts and practices that are preserved. Intangible cultural heritage is more difficult to preserve and protect than tangible cultural heritage.
Intangible cultural heritage includes the arts and other creative activities, such as literature, music and theatre. It also includes oral and written traditions, such as traditional languages, religious beliefs, and rituals.
UNESCO has led efforts to protect world heritage from threats such as terrorism and armed conflict. It has created a number of initiatives that aim to protect cultural heritage in areas where armed conflicts occur and to raise awareness about these threats, including through the United Nations’ Unite for Heritage campaign.
As a result of this, many countries have established their own heritage protection programs that can help preserve the artifacts and traditions of their communities. These programs often have the potential to reduce poverty, boost the economy, and enhance a community’s quality of life.
The destruction of cultural heritage during armed conflict is a major concern that the international community must take seriously. This is especially true for historic and sacred sites. In the past few years, UNESCO has worked with a range of civil society actors to create initiatives that can address this issue and make a difference in regions where armed conflict occurs.
The loss of cultural heritage can be catastrophic and can affect a country’s economic and social development, as well as its cultural identity. It is therefore important for every nation to protect its own cultural heritage, and work together to ensure that it remains intact in the face of challenges.