The National Program for ICH Safeguarding in Mongolia

Sambuugiin Pürevjav of Altai Khairkhan (an overtone singing ensemble from Mongolia) playing a morin khuur near Centre Georges Pompidou in 2005 CCBY 2.5 Eric Pouhier

By the 68th resolution of the government of Mongolia, the National Program for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage was approved on 13 February 2019. This national program will be implemented between 2019 and 2023, and it has six parts.

  1.   Justifications
  2.   Objectives, purposes, and duration
  3.   Activities to be implemented within the framework of the national program
  4.   Evaluation criteria for implementing the national program
  5.   Financing the national program
  6.   Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of national program

Several articles associated with protecting and safeguarding traditional culture, its transmission, development, research, and dissemination were reflected on the Constitution of Mongolia, the National Security Concept of Mongolia, the Concept of Mongolia’s Foreign Policy, the Concept of Sustainable Development of Mongolia, the State Policy on Culture, the Law of Culture, the Law on Protection of Cultural Heritage, and the Law of Mongolian Language.

The Mongolian Law on Protecting Cultural Heritage was amended in 2014 by the State Great Khural for regulating relations associated with the fifteen ICH classifications, the rights and duties of ICH practitioners, an organization of transmission activities and so on.

Between 2005 and 2016, the government of Mongolia approved and implemented national programs for ICH elements, including morin khuur, traditional long song, and Mongol khoomei, which were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and Mongolian traditional folk dance bii biyelgee, Mongol epic, and Mongol tsuur, which were inscribed on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. The NCCH has taken part in implementing these programs. As a result, these national programs have had positive changes in safeguarding ICH, such as identifying ICH practitioners from elders, organizing apprenticeship training, promoting traditional culture and cultural heritage abroad and nationwide, transmitting ICH to younger generations, building pride in ICH, and self-researching ICH.

The national programs were implemented only for the folk performing arts domain—one of the five UNESCO domains of ICH—but were not implemented for the other domains.It is a demanding task to implement ways to increase and improve research and safeguarding efforts for ICH in every domain represented in nomadic culture as well as to promote ICH abroad and nationally, and, at the same time, also increase the social and economic status of ICH practitioners while improving their skill and opening possibilities to introduce the cultural industry as a form of a tourist product.

The main objective of this national program is to identify ICH elements of ethnic groups in Mongolia and to research, register, document safeguard, transmit, and disseminate the ICH elements abroad and nationally.

Within the program’s framework, the following objectives were put forward to be implemented:

  • To improve the policy and legal environment of ICH and to intensify the implementation of the UNESCO 2003 Convention for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • To improve research, documentation, and activities of ICH registration and information database in accordance with international standards
  • To organize and conduct activities associated with raising the general public’s awareness about ICH and disseminating ICH abroad and nationally based on intersectoral cooperation
  • To increase the ICH specialists’ capacity and support ICH practitioners