On the occasion of the accreditation of the Traditional Arts Association by UNESCO, this report was presented and about the activities carried out during this period by the association's management, “7th General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage” held at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, the capital of France, on 4-6 June 2018.


General Information

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the “Convention on the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage” at its 32nd General Conference held in Paris on 17 October 2003.

Turkey has been involved in this process with the law that approve the Protection Aggreement of “Intangible Cultural Heritage” dated 19th January 2006 and numbered 5448; and it officially became a party in 27 March 2006. According to the 13th article of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Law No. 4848 on Organization and Duties, the General Directorate of Research and Education continues to work as an executive unit.


Accreditation Process of the Traditional Arts Association

With the suggestion and support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the process of “Non-Governmental Organization to be Accredited to Provide Advisory Services to the Committee” of the Traditional Arts Association started in 2016.

First of all, a database was created by updating the association’s member lists. Subsequently, all the activities (projects, publications, competitions, exhibitions, etc.) carried out up to now are broken down and adapted to the format of UNESCO-ICH. The draft application form was finalized at the meetings held in Ankara with Ministry officials and experts, and an official application was made to UNESCO in April 2017.

At the annual regular general assembly of UNESCO at the end of 2017, the application of our Association was examined in terms of technical and content, and it was announced that it will be among the NGOs whose accreditation will be approved at the next UNESCO-ICH meeting. Upon the invitation made to our association, participation in the 7th General Assembly at the level of the President of the Association and the General Secretary of the Association was ensured.

UNESCO-ICH 7th General Assembly

At the 7th General Assembly held in Paris between 4-6 June 2018, the decisions of the committee in previous meetings are brought forward and approved. While the General Assembly lasts for three days, many parallel events related to non-governmental organizations working towards the protection of intangible cultural heritage are also organized.

The representatives of the association attended one of these parallel events themed as “Tell Your #LivingHeritage Story” meeting on June 4th and they listened and learned about their projects in music, medicine and education, which are the living heritage of Mali, Colombia and Uganda. In addition, the Youth Forum video installations in the lounge area, which is an extension of this event, were also watched.

At the event “Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage for Quality and Relevance in Education” on June 5, 2018, the issue of embedding intangible cultural heritage in education programs was discussed. Indonesia, Senegal and UNESCO, as well as representatives of UNESCO Turkey National Committee Chairman Prof. Dr. Ocal Oguz took part as a speaker in the panel on behalf of Turkey. After the panel, contacts were made with Prof. Oğuz and National Committee Member Assoc. Dr. Evrim Olcer Özünel. Traditional Arts Association will make a meeting with UNESCO Turkey National Committee at Ankara.

The event titled “Intangible Cultural Heritage in National Laws” was held on June 6, 2018. In the meeting, the joint project of France-Lithuania called “OSMOSE” and the doctoral dissertation in the field of law, which is the output of the project, was introduced. Project stakeholders provided information on the phases of the project approaching the intangible cultural heritage in legal terms and in the context of national laws.

The representatives of the association also visited the NGO stands in the lounge area, held various contacts and exchanged ideas. (Poland, Azerbaijan, South Korea, Senegal, Scotland, etc.)

Procedures after GSD and UNESCO-ICH Accreditation

The steps to be taken by our Association, whose accreditation was approved in the last session dated June 6, 2018, can be summarized under the following headings.

- An official letter will be written to the UNESCO-ICH Committee Chair and it will be informed that our Association is ready to provide consultancy in the field of traditional arts and crafts.

- A meeting will be held with the UNESCO Turkish National Committee in Ankara and we will exchange ideas on how we can support.

- An international event will be planned that will gather in Turkey for the accredited NGOs working in the field of intangible cultural heritage.

- As a condition of accreditation, NGOs are required to submit a report to the UNESCO-ICH committee every four years. The report to be submitted in 2022 will be put on the Association’s agenda.

Av. Ahmet Akcan - Dr. Aslıhan Erkmen

Traditional Arts Association