7 October 2008Dozens of applications from around the world have been received for inscription on a new UN-endorsed list that will work to protect and enhance awareness about intangible cultural heritage, such as oral traditions and expressions, performing arts and rituals. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) confirmed today from its Paris headquarters that a committee will consider 112 applications from 37 States for the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, part of the broader Convention on the same issue. UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura welcomed the high response as “proof of the great interest of the international community in the safeguarding of living heritage,” according to a press release. “It is my conviction that the Representative List… will contribute to raising awareness of its importance and give the communities that are custodians of intangible cultural heritage a feeling of pride and belonging,” Mr. Matsuura stated. “It will also, without doubt, be a means to favour dialogue that is respectful of cultural diversity.” Adopted in 2003 and ratified by over 100 countries to date, the Convention seeks to protect the world’s oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, craftsmanship and knowledge of nature. The Convention further outlines the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, which aims to provide financial assistance to its accepted applicants. Under the selection process, a 24-member committee will now decide on which of the 112 applications for inscription makes the final Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, expected by late next year.