According to UNESCO, intangible cultural heritage includes
traditions or living expressions inherited from the past, such as
performing arts, social practices, oral traditions, rituals and
festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature or the
knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.
While on the one hand industrialisation, urban development,
mass tourism, the standardisation of lifestyles in towns and villages,
and of the various forms of knowledge and skills all constitute
a context which places the intangible cultural heritage in a vulnerable
position, the idea is not to shield the intangible cultural heritage
and rigidly entrench age-old practices, but rather to enable them
to develop and evolve with the times, and to encourage practices
that are vitally embedded in contemporary society and which are
flourishing in interaction with other cultures.
Recalling both the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding
of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Council of Europe Framework
Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society, the report
draws up recommendations concerning policy design and implementation
at national and local levels and urges for a greater coherency of
action between the Council of Europe, UNESCO and the European Union
in this area.