By the deadline of September 30, 2008, UNESCO had received a total of 112 applications from 35 States for the first ever registration on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
According to UNESCO, after in depth examination of all the application files, the 24 elected members of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee will decide on their possible registration, which should be carried out in late 2009.
The press release indicates that the third session of the Committee, scheduled to take place in Istanbul (Turkey) in November, will incorporate the 90 Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity proclaimed by UNESCO in 2001, 2003, and 2005 into the Representative List. These masterpieces include, for example, the Carnival of Oruro (Bolivia), the Kutiyattam Sanskrit Theatre (India), and the Oral Heritage of Gelede (Benin, Nigeria, and Togo).
UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura welcomed the high number of applications as “proof of the great interest of the international community in the safeguarding of living heritage. It is my conviction that the Representative List, designed to give more visibility to the intangible cultural heritage, will contribute to raising awareness of its importance and give the communities that are custodians of intangible cultural heritage a feeling of pride and belonging. Not only will it contribute in this way to the continued existence of this rich and diverse heritage for the benefit of future generation, it will also, without a doubt, be a means to favor dialogue that is respectful of cultural diversity.”