Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists in Tenth Year: Visibility, Valuableness and Reliability

Oguz M. O.

MILLI FOLKLOR, no.116, pp.5-17, 2017 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.5-17
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


The number of the State Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage adopted at the General Conference of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, held in 2003 has reached 175 in 2017 and the visibility of the Convention has increased among international society. Comparing to the five former cultural heritage Conventions of UNESCO, it can be suggested that the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was attracted considerable attention of the international community in a short time based on the indicator of increasing number of State Parties soon after the 1972 Convention. The prominent part of the visibility of the Convention in the international community is producing International Lists. The distinguished International Lists i.e. The Representative List, The Urgent Safeguarding List and Good Safeguarding Practices become prominent among others in that the visibility of the Convention, the valuableness of the safeguarding and the reliability towards community participation, respectively. At this point, we should mention that the Eepresentative List locates at the centre of all assessments on the visibility, the valuableness and the reliability of the Convention. On the other hand, from the perspective of the NGOs who are the members of the Evaluation Body, responsible for the evaluation of the nomination files and for advising to the Intergovernmental Committee, we should mention here that the social inclusion of the Convention and the community participation are not visible enough especially in developing countries. While the distribution of the State Parties of the Convention to the groups is scattered rather homogeneously, the same adjusted distribution of the selection group of accredited NGO's cannot be seen. This causes the Intergovernmental Committee to encounter the difficulty of finding the expert NGOs for the nomination to the Evaluation Body. For each selection region, the possibility of an insufficient number of expert NGOs poses a risk of non-expert NGOs inclusion to the Evaluation Body which results in the introduced recommendations to become highly controversial. Moreover, the inconveniences like inadequate proficiency of the State Parties that take charge in the Intergovernmental Committee as well as the rush due to the willingness of (file submitted states towards registering their elements negatively effects the intellectual values of the lists and the reliability of decision making processes.