Study of Emergency Protection of ICH in Conflict-Affected Countries in Asia（FY 2017-2020）
As exemplified by the Bamiyan Buddha Statues or Palmyra, many tangible cultural heritage structures have been damaged or destroyed in armed conflicts. Because ICH is ‘living’ cultural heritage transmitted by people, various factors such as the transmitters’ death, forced migration, or displacement resulting from armed conflict or long-term political instabilities, can cause severe situations including the decline or disappearance of ICH elements such as craftsmanship, performing arts, and festivals and rituals, which are inherited for generations. However, little research or discussion on the safeguarding of such ‘intangible’ cultural heritage in conflict-affected countries or regions exists.
More attention has been paid to the problem internationally, and UNESCO has emphasised the responses to post-conflict and post-disaster situations in its Medium-term Strategy. In response to such situations, and based on the experiences in its previous research on ICH in post-conflict situations in Timor-Leste and in the North and North-East provinces of Sri Lanka, in 2017, IRCI started a four-year research project on the protection of ICH that is on the verge of extinction in the conflict-affected countries in the Asia region such as Afghanistan.
In this research project, IRCI has conducted a survey on the current situation of ICH in the target countries in cooperation with experts and related institutions in these countries. With the cooperation of these experts, IRCI has been able to recognize what is needed for ICH protection and has started practical research on emergency protection measures.