The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage’s 10th session of the General Assembly commenced on June 11 at the Paris headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The event witnessed the participation of 183 member countries and over 100 observers.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc, who also chairs the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO, headed the Vietnamese delegation. He attributed the country’s appointment as Vice-Chair to its increasing international prominence and the global community’s confidence in its capacity to contribute significantly to global institutions.

Deputy Minister Ngoc credited Vietnam’s success to the Party and State’s prudent foreign policy, emphasizing diversification and multilateralism in external relations. He also highlighted the nation’s comprehensive global integration and cultural diplomacy initiatives, particularly the Cultural Diplomacy Strategy to 2030.

As Vice-Chair, Vietnam is committed to playing a pivotal role in shaping UNESCO’s cultural agenda and driving progress on the 2003 Convention. The Deputy Minister also emphasized the country’s dedication to leveraging UNESCO’s programs and initiatives to support national development, heritage preservation, and ensuring the highest national interests in global cultural cooperation.

With a rich and diverse intangible cultural heritage, Vietnam has 15 elements inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List and 550 recognized nationally. The nation continually refines its policies and laws, as evidenced by the recent National Target Program on Cultural Development to 2045 and amendments to the Cultural Heritage Law, affirmed Deputy Minister Ngoc.

In his opening address, the Vietnamese diplomat emphasized the importance of continued international cooperation and effective implementation of the Convention. He underscored knowledge sharing and capacity building for developing states, with a specific focus on empowering communities, women, and youth in heritage preservation efforts.

The General Assembly serves as the supreme body of the 2003 Convention, providing a platform for 183 member states to unite in safeguarding the world’s living cultural traditions. Vietnam officially joined the Convention on September 5, 2005, becoming one of the first 30 countries to adopt it. The nation has been elected twice to the Inter-Governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, reflecting its active role in this field.

Currently, Vietnam is in the process of finalizing and submitting several dossiers for UNESCO recognition. These include the Yen Tu – Vinh Nghiem – Con Son, Kiep Bac relic and scenic complex; the Oc Eo-Ba The archaeological site; Con Moong Cave; the Ba Chua Xu Temple Festival at Sam Mountain; Dong Ho folk painting art; cheo stage art; Mo Muong; Lang Son Geopark; and a project focused on preserving and promoting the values of the central sector of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi.

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