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Intangible cultural heritage

Traditions, knoweldge, craftsmanship techniques  
Photo: © UNESCO/James Muriuki

Implementation in Austria

Since the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has entered into force, the Austrian Commission for UNESCO has accompanied the ratification process in Austria and has been entrusted with the implementation of the Convention at the national level since Austria's ratification in 2009. Its central tasks include the implementation of awareness-raising measures  aimed at the safeguarding, transmission and promotion of the intangible cultural heritage in Austria and to draw-up an Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria.

The Austrian Commission for UNESCO:

  • has access to a network of expert institutions and experts;
  • takes measures to promote the intangible cultural heritage in society;
  • provides advice on good practices and recommends measures for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage;
  • encourages studies and research projects on intangible cultural heritage;
  • draws attention to the significance of institutions of further and higher education in the process of passing on intangible cultural heritage;
  • encourages the identification and documentation of intangible cultural heritage.

The Austrian Commission for UNESCO consciously focuses on local knowledge that has been transmitted for generations, in addition to the well-established field of “Volkskultur” [folk culture] (regional songs, music, dance and storytelling, etc.). In the age of climate change and globalisation, such immersion can generate motivation for individuals to participate in sustainable development.

Examples of good practice
Projects and measures aimed at maintaining and passing on intangible cultural heritage

Examples of good practice meet the principles and objectives of the Convention on Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage in an extraordinary manner and significantly contribute to sustainably maintaining and passing on intangible cultural heritage in Austria.

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Frau mit Holzsieb zur Saatgutreinigung

Key focal points
Traditional knowledge and skills

Since its ratification in 2009, the Austrian Commission for UNESCO has developed focal points for implementing certain areas of the Convetion together with the tradition-bearers and the Advisory Committee. Given that intangible cultural heritage is always borne by experience and knowledge, the areas ”knowledge in dealing with nature” and “traditional craftsmanship” are of particular importance. Raising awareness, safeguarding and passing on traditional knowledge form the main focus.

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