Inventorying and safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage of Bhutan


The Royal Government of Bhutan ratified the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in 2005.  In 2008, the mask dance of the Drametse community from Bhutan was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. However, Bhutan is still in the process of developing a national inventory of ICH, which is one of the key aspects of the implementation of the 2003 Convention and crucial for ICH safeguarding.
UNESCO New Delhi has been providing technical and financial assistance to Bhutan to strengthen its efforts in the area of ICH safeguarding. Earlier this month, a workshop was organized in partnership with The National Library and Archives under the Department of Culture, which is the nodal agency for ICH in Bhutan. The workshop held from 5-7 November 2019 in Thimphu was an effort to build on our earlier capacity building work in Bhutan in the area of ICH.

The aim of the workshop was to reinforce the ICH safeguarding efforts in Bhutan by focusing on the development of a national inventory of ICH and involving community participation in inventorying

Junhi Han, Chief of Culture Sector, UNESCO New Delhi

The Convention emphasizes the widest possible participation of communities and individuals that create, maintain and transmit such heritage.
A total of 30 participants including officials of ICH nodal agency, Culture Department, Department of Traditional Medicine, Textile Museum, researchers, District Cultural Officers, cultural professionals, and other relevant stakeholders were part of the three-day workshop. It provided an opportunity for relevant stakeholders to come together and evolve a way forward collaboratively for ICH safeguarding and inventorying in Bhutan.