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UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

  • 18 Dec 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Hawker Culture in Singapore has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the 15th session of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) that was held online.

Key Points

  • Hawker Culture in Singapore:
    • It is a living heritage shared by those who prepare hawker food and those who dine and mingle over hawker food in community dining spaces called hawker centres.
    • It reflects Singapore’s multicultural identity as a people and nation, and resonates strongly with Singaporeans across all races and social strata.
  • UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage:
    • This coveted list is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance.
    • The list was established in 2008 when the Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage came into effect.
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage of India, recognized by UNESCO:


  • UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture.
  • UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.
  • It has 193 Members and 11 Associate Members. India joined UNESCO in 1946.
  • It is headquartered in Paris, France.
  • UNESCO-IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission) is leading a global effort to establish ocean-based tsunami warning systems as part of an overall multi-hazard disaster reduction strategy.
  • Other Initiatives of UNESCO:
    • Man and Biosphere Programme:
      • Biosphere Reserves focus on the harmonised management of biological and cultural diversity.
      • Out of 18 notified biosphere reserves, India has 12 biosphere reserves under the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), the latest one included is Panna Biosphere Reserve.
    • World Heritage Programme:
      • World Heritage Sites promote the conservation of natural and cultural sites of outstanding universal value.
      • India has 38 world heritage sites, including 30 cultural properties, 7 natural properties and 1 mixed site. The latest one included is Jaipur city, Rajasthan.
    • UNESCO Global Geopark Network:
      • UNESCO Global Geoparks give international recognition for sites that promote the importance and significance of protecting the Earth’s geodiversity through actively engaging with the local communities.
      • India does not have any UNESCO Global geopark.
    • UNESCO's Network of Creative Cities:
      • The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.
      • The Network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music.
      • There are five Indian cities in UCCN as follows:
        • Hyderabad – Gastronomy (2019).
        • Mumbai – Film (2019).
        • Chennai - Creative city of Music (2017).
        • Jaipur - Crafts and Folk Arts (2015).
        • Varanasi - Creative city of Music (2015).


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