The visions and missions of IRCI approved at the First Governing Board Meeting (2011) and later modified at the Fourth Governing Board Meeting (2015) are as follows:


  1. Promote UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (hereinafter referred to as “the 2003 Convention”) in the Asia-Pacific region on the ground of Article 4 Paragraph 1 of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regarding the establishment, in Japan, of an international research centre for intangible cultural heritage in the Asia-Pacific region under the auspices of UNESCO (Category2) (hereinafter referred to as “the Agreement”).
  2. Achieve the objectives prescribed in Article 4 Paragraph 1 of the Agreement, through the functions outlined in Article 4 Paragraph 2 of the Agreement.
  3. Contribute to the achievement of UNESCO’s Medium-term Strategy 37C/4 Strategic Objectives 7 (protecting, promoting and transmitting heritage) and 8 (fostering creativity and diversity of cultural expressions), and quadrennial Programme and Budget 37C/5, through the functions outlined in Article 4 Paragraph 2 of the Agreement.


  1. To instigate and coordinate research into practices and methodologies of safeguarding endangered intangible cultural heritage elements present in the Asia-Pacific region, while cooperating with universities, research institutions, community representatives and other governmental and non-governmental organizations in Japan and elsewhere in the region.
  2. To assist, in terms of research, countries in the Asia-Pacific region in implementing such measures as referred to in Articles 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the 2003 Convention, while paying special attention to developing countries;
  3. To organise workshops and seminars focusing on the role of research as a useful component for safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage and related practices and methodologies, involving experts, community representatives and administrators from the Asia-Pacific region;
  4. To encourage and assist young researchers in the Asia-Pacific region engaging in research activities related to safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage;
  5. To cooperate with other category 2 centres and institutions active in the domain of safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage, in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond; and
  6. To initiate cooperation among all other interested institutions active in the domain of safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage, while furthering technical assistance vis-a-vis developing countries, in the Asia-Pacific region.


All research projects are conducted by IRCI in line with its long- and medium-term programmes and work plans, which were approved by the IRCI Governing Board Meeting (GBM).

Long-term Programme
2022 – 2031

Medium-term Programme
2022 – 2026

Work Plan for FY 2024 (PDF)

Work Plan for FY 2023 (PDF)

Work Plan for FY 2022 (PDF)

Long-term Programme
2013 – 2020 (Revised) (PDF)

Extended to 2021


Medium-term Programme
2016 – 2020 (PDF)

Extended to 2021

Work Plan for FY 2021 (PDF)

Work Plan for FY 2020 (PDF)

Work Plan for FY 2019 (PDF)

Work Plan for FY 2018 (PDF)

Work Plan for FY 2017 (PDF)

Work Plan for FY 2016 (PDF)

Medium-term Programme
2013 – 2015 (Revised) (PDF)

Work Plan for FY 2015 (PDF)

Work Plan for FY 2013 – 2014


Long-term Programme
2012 – 2021 (PDF)

canceled in 2013

Medium-term Programme
2012 – 2015 (PDF)

canceled in 2013
Work Plan FY 2011- 2012 (PDF)


Medium-Term Programme (2022-2026)

FY 2022 FY 2023 FY 2024 FY 2025 FY 2026
Activity Focus I: Promoting Research for ICH Safeguarding
Sustainable Research Data Collection for ICH Safeguarding:
Focusing on Central Asia and Small Island Developing States
Creation of the Asia-Pacific Regional Hub of Research for the Safeguarding of ICH
Activity Focus II: Research on the Safeguarding of ICH for Building Sustainable and Resilient Societies
Research on ICH Contributing to SDGs: Intangible Cultural Heritage for Sustainable Cities and Communities    
Research on ICH Safeguarding and Disaster Risk Management (FY 2020-2023) Research on ICH and Climate Change in the Asia Pacific Region
Research on ICH Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic