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Part II Commentary, Art.2(3) Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage

Antonio Arantes

From: The 2003 UNESCO Intangible Heritage Convention: A Commentary

Edited By: Janet Blake, Lucas Lixinski

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 15 October 2021

Cultural property / heritage

This chapter reflects on ‘safeguarding’ as an action, such as described in Article 2(3) of the 2003 Convention. This action provides conceptual and practical parameters of central importance to the implementation of that treaty since it addresses what Article 1 sets out as the first of its purposes, namely ‘to safeguard the intangible heritage’. As such, this chapter contends that the safeguarding of intangible heritage cannot be properly comprehended without considering its constitution as a State policy, global in scale, regulated by a multilateral public agency, UNESCO. This means that its description requires paying attention to its specific modus operandi, the scope of its application in the geopolitical sphere formed by the States Parties, and the effects of its regulatory nature. Under these conditions, safeguarding participates in the cultural dynamic of the diverse social realities contained in this ample universe. In examining the action of safeguarding, therefore, this chapter keeps in mind the transformations that have shaped the trajectory of this policy, the power relations present in their implementation, and the infinite socio-cultural diversity to which this practice refers, and which is affected by it in distinct ways around the world. Finally, the chapter comments on some of the themes that traverse various articles of the treaty to delimit the parameters that constitute the core of this new modality of heritage action.

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