DPRK Continues its ICH Safeguarding Efforts

Pongsan mask dance © National Authority for the Protection of Cultural Heritage

The UNESCO Beijing Office held a training workshop on ICH inventorying from 26 September to 3 October 2018 in Pyongyang, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Hosted by the National Authority for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in DPRK, the workshop is the first of its kind in the framework of an International Assistance project jointly implemented by a Member State and a UNESCO Field Office with financial support from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.

The workshop was aimed at strengthening DPRK’s capacities in inventorying community-based ICH and preparing nomination files for the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The participants also discussed how DPRK can refresh their knowledge on ICH inventorying methodologies and techniques.

Since DPRK ratified the 2003 Convention in November 2008, it has been striving to safeguard and promote its living heritage as a testimony of its identity. DPRK successfully submitted the Arirang folk song (2014) and the tradition of Kimchi making (2015) for inclusion on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The UNESCO Beijing Office has been supporting DPRK’s efforts for ICH safeguarding through various capacity-building activities, including raising national awareness about safeguarding (2011), holding a training workshop on implementing the 2003 Convention (2013), and holding a training workshop on community-based ICH inventorying (2016).

The aim of this capacity-building approach is to provide integrated and sustainable support to DPRK to allow authorities and communities in the country to enact and transmit their heritage over time. In addition, the workshop helped reinforce participants’ knowledge of the requirements and criteria of nominations. It covered more specialized topics, including joint nominations with other countries, how to apply for international financial assistance, integrated sustainable development, and inclusive approaches in nominations. Thirty-two participants in the DPRK ICH field had a chance to apply what they learned from the workshop on ICH elements, including traditional dance, painting, and celadon.

Additional information about the workshop is available on the UNESCO website.

Meanwhile, DPRK has constantly participated in the Sub-Regional ICH Network Meeting in Northeast Asia organized by ICHCAP, a biennial event held since 2014, thus boosting efforts to safeguard ICH and vitalize its network.