The Chengdu Consensus Adopted by the International Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Forum at the Second International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival of Chengdu, China
2nd June 2009
The International Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Forum in the framework of the Second International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival of Chengdu, concurring with one year’s commemoration of the May 12, 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, was convened from June 1 to 3, 2009 in China. The Forum was attended by Ambassadors, Permanent Delegates and Deputy Permanent Delegates to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization from 31 nations, including Algeria, Belarus, Benin, Bulgaria, Central Africa Republic, China, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Honduras, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Niger, Paraguay, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, The United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela and Vietnam, Representatives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and specialists and scholars from across China. While sharing deep condolences for the victims of the Wenchuan Earthquake, participants of the Forum have had wide-ranged discussions on the theme of “Disaster and the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage”, made in-depth exploration of the protection mechanism for intangible cultural heritage in the face of disasters, and reached the following consensus:
Natural disasters not only bring great losses to human life and people’s properties, but also inflict great damage to the cultural environment, in particular the intangible cultural heritage of the disaster-hit place. Intangible cultural heritage is an important component of cultural heritage of all humanity. It is not only the life memory and living gene of different human communities, but also a significant indicator of cultural identity, fundamental source for human creativity and the spiritual homeland of various ethnic groups. Henceforth, the protection of intangible cultural heritage is as important as economic development in the process of rebuilding the disaster-ridden areas. It should be considered a basic necessity for the promotion of sustainable social development, and an important guarantee for the building of a harmonious society in the long run. Therefore, the social and humanitarian aspects should also be taken into account when dealing with safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.
With the common wish that victims of natural disasters rest in peace and a new world of beauty and diversity be raised out of the rubbles of disasters, we must all take actions and adopt feasible measures for protecting intangible cultural heritage against disasters, the current global economic crisis notwithstanding. To this end, international cooperation，especially capacity building and exchange of good practices, shall be strengthened in order to preserve and promote the cultural diversity and creativity of mankind.
The protection of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of human spiritual homeland are not only our common consensus, but also a responsibility for all of us in the spirit of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The participants recognize the considerable work that UNESCO has achieved in safeguarding and protection of the intangible cultural heritage.
The participants appreciate the valuable contribution made by the Chinese experts in the Forum regarding safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage. These issues may be considered in relevant future meetings.
The participants also recognize the efforts of the Chinese authorities in protecting their cultural heritage and congratulate them for organizing the 2nd International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival of Chengdu, China, which has become a tradition.