UNESCO provides support to Member States in the preservation and promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage, focusing on strengthening on the need in the public consciousness to preserve this heritage to bequeath to future generations. In 1997, the 29th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO decided to establish an international distinction “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. The Sites included in this List represent a great value with a “historical, artistic, ethnological, sociological, anthropological, linguistic or literary” point of view.
Russia took an active part in this project. The List of masterpieces includes the cultural traditions of Transbaikalian Old Believers “Semeiskie” and Yakut heroic Olonkho epos.
The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which entered into force on 20 April 2006, covers the folklore and oral traditions, including languages, shows, rituals and festive events, habits and customs, traditional crafts.
Within the framework of the Convention the Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity and the List of Monuments of this Heritage requiring urgent measures to save are compiled.
In October 2003, under the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO the Russian Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was established. Its President is the Director of the State House of Folk Arts E.S.Kunina (a member of the Board of Russia for UNESCO).
Currently the Russian Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage that exists on the basis of the State House of Folk Arts is working on an inventory of the Intangible Heritage Sites of Russia.
Significance for Russia:
• Participation in UNESCO programs allows using the Organization’s experience for the development of creative potential, promotes the mutual enrichment of cultures, makes it possible to use best practices for the protection and preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, promotes the creation of mechanisms to attract extra-budgetary funds at the international level.