Intangible cultural heritage includes the practices, expressions, and skills that are valued by communities, groups, and individuals because they provide a sense of cultural identify and continuity. UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Hertiage Convention (as it is commonly known), ratified by 178 countries, seeks to safeguard that heritage. The radical import of the 2003 Convention often goes unrecognized, both by countries that have ratified it and by scholars who study its implementation. At a time when the Convention is still relatively young and its fate not yet finally determined, we must ask how well the Convention is achieving its important mission to contribute to sustainable development worldwide.
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