Research Handbook on Contemporary Intangible Cultural Heritage
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Research Handbook on Contemporary Intangible Cultural Heritage

Law and Heritage

Edited by Charlotte Waelde, Catherine Cummings, Mathilde Pavis and Helena Enright

Bringing together key insights from expert legal and heritage academics and practitioners, this book explores the existence and safeguarding of contemporary forms of intangible cultural heritage (ICH). Providing a detailed analysis of the international legal frameworks relevant to ICH, the contributing authors then go on to challenge the pervasive view that heritage is about ‘old’ tangible objects by highlighting the existence, role and importance of contemporary forms of ICH to modern society.
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Chapter 5: ICH, cultural diversity and sustainable development

Abbe E. L. Brown


This chapter introduces sustainable development (from the Brundtland Commission to Agenda 21 to 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) and assesses its complex relationship with culture, cultural diversity and intangible cultural heritage. The chapter explores the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the UNESCO Convention on Promotion and Protection of Diversity of Cultural Expressions and relevant intersections with intellectual property and traditional knowledge. The chapter evaluates substantive developments regarding sustainable development and culture at the UN General Assembly (ultimately a resolution from 2015), UNESCO Declarations (notably from Hangzhou and Florence) and the development of new operational guidelines and directives from 2016; legal steps taken at national level in different countries; and engages with some contemporary Aberdeen-based examples. The chapter argues that although the legal relationship between intangible cultural heritage, cultural diversity and sustainable development is much more developed, there is still a need for more intersectional dialogue and also for substantive action. This could ensure that culture in its different forms does indeed have its envisaged role as an enabler and driver of sustainable development.

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