UNESCO aims at promoting the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world that are taken as especially valuable to humanity. Links with the safeguarding of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Brazil might be the main references for policies in this field.
Cultural and Natural Heritage in Brazil
Cultural Heritage is fundamental to peoples' memory, identity and creativity and the richness of cultures. It consists of monuments, groups of buildings or sites which have exceptional and universal historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value.
Natural Heritage consists of physical, biological and geological outstanding formations, habitats of endangered animal and plant species and areas that have scientific, conservation or exceptional and universal aesthetic value.
In this sense, UNESCO works driven by the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), which recognizes that certain places on Earth are of "outstanding universal value" and should form part of the common heritage of humankind.
The work in the field of World Heritage in Brazil has meant fruitful collaborations with federal, state and local governments, and with civil society. Today, the country has 22 sites inscribed in the World Heritage List recognized by their exceptional and universal value to the culture of humanity. From the 22 sites in Brazil, 14 are cultural heritage sites, one is a mixed heritage site, and seven are natural heritage sites.
Among the main activities of UNESCO in Brazil, it is the implementation of the Convention on World Cultural and Natural Heritage ratified by Brazil in September of 1977.
To assure reaching the goals of the Convention, UNESCO in Brazil maintains close relations with the World Heritage Centre aiming the implementation of technical cooperation actions with various administrative units responsible for the Brazilian World Heritage sites.
World Heritage Sites in Brazil:
Intangible Cultural Heritage in Brazil
The Intangible Cultural Heritage comprises the living expressions and traditions that communities, groups and individuals around the world receive from their ancestors and pass on their knowledge to their descendants.
Intangible Cultural Heritage consists not only of the physical aspects that constitute culture. There is much more in the traditions, folklore, in knowledge, languages, parties and various other elements and manifestations, transmitted orally or gesturally, collectively rebuilt and modified over time.
Despite trying to maintain a sense of identity and continuity, this kind of heritage is particularly vulnerable since it is in constant mutation and multiplication. For this reason, the international community adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003. This Convention regulates the intangible cultural heritage and complements the 1972 World Heritage Convention, which takes care of the tangible properties to cover the entire cultural heritage of humanity.
For many people, especially ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, intangible heritage is a source of identity and history. Philosophy, values and ways of thinking, reflected in the languages, oral traditions and diverse cultural events, are the foundation of community life. In a world of increasing global interactions, the revitalisation of traditional and simplified cultures ensures the survival of cultural diversity within each community, contributing to the achievement of a plural world.
To stimulate governments, NGOs and local communities to recognise, value, identify and preserve the intangible heritage, UNESCO has created an international title, awarded to renowned spaces (places where people regularly produce cultural manifestations) and to traditional and simplified culture manifestations. Thus, in 2003 and 2005, the Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity selected through international jury spaces and expressions of outstanding importance, among applications coming from several countries.
Besides the records and files, UNESCO considers that one of the most effective ways to preserve the intangible heritage is to ensure that the bearers of this kind of legacy can continue producing and broadcasting it. Thus, the Organization stimulates countries to establish a permanent system of people identification (artists, craftsmen etc.) who embody, in a high degree, the necessary skills and techniques for the manifestation of certain aspects of cultural life and the maintenance of their material cultural heritage.
Brazilian Elements Inscribed in the Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Inscribed in the Representative List of of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
- Cultural Complex of Bumba-meu-boi from Maranhão - Date of Inscription: 2019
- Capoeira Circle - Date of Inscription: 2014
- Círio de Nazaré (The Taper of Our Lady of Nazareth) in the city of Belém, Pará - Date of Inscription: 2013
- Frevo, performing arts of the Carnival of Recife - Date of Inscription: 2012
- Oral and graphic expressions of the Wajapi - Date of Inscription: 2008
- Samba de Roda of the Recôncavo of Bahia - Date of Inscription: 2008
Inscribed in the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding
- Yaokwa, the Enawene Nawe people's ritual for the maintenance of social and cosmic order - Date of Inscription: 2011
Programmes, projects and activities for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage considered to best reflect the principles and objectives of the Convention