UNESCO Adds 56 New Practices to Intangible Cultural Heritage List

From Opera to alpine migrations, and from polonaise to pasta performance Europe is well represented as the UN body adds over 56 new practices to the intangible heritage list

By Creatives Unite Newsroom
December 12, 2023
UNESCO recently concluded its meeting in Botswana where it added 56 new elements to its prestigious register of intangible cultural heritage. The list, which recognizes globally important living cultural traditions, has now grown to 694 elements representing over 140 countries since being established in 2003.

Among the practices now inscribed are several renowned cultural acts from Europe. Perhaps the highest profile is the addition of Italian opera singing, the performative art of projecting the unamplified voice for storytelling. Alpine pasture seasons in Switzerland and various glass production methods across European nations were also listed.

Other European practices gaining recognition included the iconic polonaise dance of Poland, the festive iftar meal from Turkey during Ramadan, and the striking sodai straw decorations handcrafted in Lithuania. Weaving, metalworking and seasonal migrations were further themes represented.

Significantly, six of the new additions were deemed in urgent need of safeguarding support by UNESCO, including olive cultivation in Turkey - a practice at risk despite its sociocultural importance for generations.

The registry aims to draw global attention to help preserve intangible cultural heritage under threat. The recent inscriptions highlight the diversity of European practices now benefiting from these protections.