Intangible Heritage & Sustainable Development

Mediterranean Diet a Sustainable Lifestyle

The huge amount of practices, traditions and rituals belonging to the agro-food sector has been progressively recognized as an integral and lively part of the immaterial heritage of the communities located on every continent, also as representative of forms of compatible interaction between man and the environment, contributing to enriching the 2003 Convention with elements that provide examples of sustainability approaches and, at the same time, testimonies of the present able to offer indications for the future.

This trend was confirmed during the working sessions of the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention for the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage and embraces the great contribution assured by the main actors at national and local level: communities, teachers and carriers of practices, Authorities and NGOs, universities, research centers and institutes, which have played a fundamental role in the development of the notion of intangible heritage and its safeguard measures, as well as institutionally recognized through the accreditation of experts and NGOs to ensure their highly qualified support to the Committee.

The emphasis on food security, agricultural practices, sustainable development and related social dynamics was confirmed in June 2016 as one of the fundamental aspects of the Convention. During its 6° session of work, the General Assembly of the States parties a new chapter of the Operative Directives on “Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and sustainable development at national level” whose implementation represents one of the main challenges for the following years, in line with the relevant UN addresses.

Chapter VI refers, for example, to the intangible heritage “as a driver and guarantee of sustainable development, to maintain a balance between the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental)” and underlining the “dynamic nature of intangible cultural heritage” in both the urban and rural contexts”(par.170) The new chapter includes among the fields of investigation and action of the Convention inclusive social and economic development, and environmental sustainability, encouraging States parties to “recognize, promote and enhance the importance of intangible cultural heritage as a strategic resource for sustainable development “also through” scientific studies and research methodologies “in particular” aimed at understanding the contributions of intangible cultural heritage to sustainable development “(paragraph 174 and 175).

Explore the Mediterranean Diet