The role of NGOs in the implementation of the Convention on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage is indisputable, as it is clearly indicated in a recent report by the secretariat on item 14.b of the Provisional Agenda (ITH/13/8.COM/14.b). Accredited NGOs hold a pivotal role in mediating communication and information flow between communities and the states.
NGOs are the closest actors of local communities and they are also working closely with the state in safeguarding activities. However, it doesn’t mean that all of local NGOs have the full understanding or the capacity in the implementation of the convention. The ICCN, an accredited NGO to the convention in 2012, organizes workshops and sessions related to the major issues of the convention every year. The ICCN has invited many local NGOs from various local communities in specific ICH areas to attend its yearly meetings and share experiences and knowledge in the field. These activities not only help local NGOs, particularly those with limited access to the Convention build their capacity but also foster the communication flow among international partners. ICCN’s workshops and meetings have created an open forum where NGOs, international and local, can raise their voices on local policies based on their open communication with local governments.
In addition, ICCN festivals have showed and strengthened the role of NGOs as mediators. The festivals enable local communities to bring their ICH to the public and enrich ICH bearers both culturally and economically. However not all ICH bearers can participate in international festivals due to obstacles in language and logistics. Thus NGOs must be active mediators in facilitating ICH bearers in these events, as can be seen from the last festivals the ICCN organized successfully.
Among many roles of NGOs in the implementing ICH convention, in this paper, it will be focused on NGOs’ position as the great informative or communicative medium and will be presented the case of the Intercity Intangible Cultural Cooperation Network (ICCN) as an example. (This paper was presented at the NGO Forum 2013 held in Baku, Azerbaijan.)
8-12, Oct. 2014, Isfahan, Iran
2014 ICCN GA/Women’s Forum and the 2nd ICCN festival will be held in Esfahan, the city of Azure, Half of the world, Iran.
Come join us, share your arts, culture, and peace with all!
We have prepared everything for your pleasant stay.