Intangible Cultural Heritage Human, Nature, and 2020.09.23. (Wed) ~ 25. (Fri)
Online Forum due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

2020 World Forum for Intangible Cultural Heritage

Intangible Cultural Heritage:
Protects Biodiversity
Contributes to Environmental Sustainability
Enables Mankind to Interact with the Natural Environment and
Allow us to respond better and faster to Climate Change and Natural Disasters.


Online Forum due to the COVID-19 Pandemic


2020. 09. 23. (Wed) ~ 25. (Fri), 3days
14:00 ~ 16:00 (KST)


Human, Nature, and Intangible Cultural Heritage
2020 World Forum for Intangible Cultural Heritage, Online Forum due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
2020. 09. 23 (Wed) ~ 25 (Fri).

Will our next generation thoroughly enjoy the clean water and fresh air, and abundance of nature that we all enjoy now?

Environmental sustainability is the most fundamental and urgent issue for humankind. Nonetheless, humanity has brought about climate change and the destruction of the natural environment in a relatively short time. This year, the pandemic of COVID-19 has caused tremendous causalities and brought significant changes around the world. Many experts attribute frequent emergence, and climate change influences the new viruses’ rapid spread in recent decades. The Republic of Korea is also experiencing more and more side effects of extreme weather every year, such as extreme heat and cold waves, unprecedented floods, and severe droughts.

There has never been a single living species in Earth’s history that has damaged our planet as much as humankind has had done. How can we prepare and maintain both environmental and ecological sustainability in the face of natural calamities?

Intangible cultural heritage is the knowledge and practice of nature and the universe that individuals and communities worldwide have accumulated through interaction with nature. Specifically, it refers to knowledge about traditional ecology, knowledge about local animals, plants and environment, indigenous and native knowledge, traditional treatment systems, cosmology, etc. Such knowledge and practice can significantly influence and change our values and beliefs towards nature. For example, Switzerland and Austria’s avalanche risk management, which was registered on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2018, is an excellent example of responding to a natural crisis while strengthening its identity and sense of camaraderie. Nevertheless, such intangible cultural heritage has been much threatened by climate change, a series of deforestation, and desertification due to humankind’s destruction. Therefore, in the 2020 World Intangible Cultural Heritage Forum, we would like to discuss the meaning and role of the intangible cultural heritage and how it can contribute to environmental sustainability.

We hope this forum will serve as a meaningful opportunity to rediscover the value of intangible cultural heritage and discuss and find new ways to protect humankind from the ecological crisis. Thank you.


Language: English/Korean (Simultaneous Interpretation)

  • 9.23.(Wed)

  • 9.24.(Thu)

  • 9.25.(Fri)

  • Stressing the importance of intangible cultural heritage safeguarding and promotion as a response to natural disasters caused by climate change. Examining the current situation on intangible cultural heritage and safeguarding amidst the chaos of the pandemic, Presenting the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage policy and vision to redefine the relationship between humanity and nature.

  • The Anthropocene is a geological term referring to the era characterized by human impact on geological activity and geological history. Climate change, environment, and disease are going beyond scientific discourse to impact our daily lives. Understanding the message being sent from the planet to humanity, and discussing the future and potential of intangible cultural heritage.

  • Agroforestry is a traditional method of agriculture with a 1000-year long history, practiced mostly in Southeast Asia and Africa. Agroforestry acts as a buffer against flooding and stabilizes the soil, making it an effective response to climate change. Presenting the example of Micronesian sustainable agroforestry, which co-exists in harmony with nature.

  • Avalanche risk management of the Alps, inscribed to UNESCO’s Representative List of ICH in 2018, is a major topic of interest for Alpine communities which plays a role in forming their identity. Examining the method of disaster management in the Alps, which prepares against natural risks based on experience and knowledge accumulated over centuries.

  • How research on the indigenous understanding of nature and methods of co-existence in the Pacific regions crossed over into the humanities—examining intangible cultural heritage in the human-nature relationship through the field of ecological humanities.

  • Discussing the importance of the ecological turn, rising to prominence in the post-corona discourse. Emphasizing the importance of nature as well as the co-existence of humanity and other forms of life in nature. Presenting a social ecology perspective on the direction for human intangible cultural heritage which has a long-shared history with nature.

  • Indigenous Local Knowledge (ILK) is an important form of intangible cultural heritage. Presenting examples of attempts to scientifically prove the contribution of ILK, transmitted and accumulated over a long period of time, to biodiversity. Exploring research and policies that encourage the use of ILK in diverse ways.

  • Presenting examples of disaster reduction and water management through intangible cultural heritage in countries in the Himalayan region. Understanding the importance of intangible cultural heritage as a response to natural disasters. Looking at the current situation in the knowledge community, where experts from different countries can discuss the use of intangible cultural heritage in this field and outcomes thereof.

  • Examining human ethics revealed in the traditional use of natural resources and human-nature interactions. Introducing the environmental ethics concept of ‘creative conservation’, sharing examples from Japan and Australia in the use of intangible cultural heritage for environmental sustainability.

  • How Asian local and indigenous groups’ practices and cultural styles can play an essential role in strengthening the coastal ecosystems and international cooperation in the midst of on-going climate change. Through the examples of Timor Leste, we hope to find both indirect and direct solutions while maintaining international collaboration and the Sustainable Developmental Goals.

  • Intangible cultural heritage transmitted and accumulated over generations allow human societies to interact with nature, and contribute to environmental sustainability. Examining the central role of local communities in such contribution, presenting future tasks and direction for action.

  • In Fiji, a boat is a central cultural element for the indigenous and local people. The traditional boat building skills and practices need to be attended in the light of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. The situation of the significant reduction of the boatbuilding community not only poses a threat to the boatbuilding community but also to the marine environment as well. By revitalizing the traditional boat building skills and community, the Pacific Blue Foundation hopes to solve environmental sustainability and marine pollution in Fiji while promoting knowledge of intangible cultural heritage.

  • Exploring the mutual relationship between nature and intangible cultural heritage, and the possible role of laws in protecting both intangible cultural heritage and nature amidst such interactions. Looking at intangible cultural heritage-related laws enacted within environmental regulations.

  • Examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on intangible cultural heritage. Studying the example of the Philippine to discuss the importance of national policy in intangible cultural heritage safeguarding and promotion.

  • Discussing examples of young people working in the field of intangible cultural heritage, and how they make their voices heard in different ways to promote the importance of interactions between nature and intangible cultural heritage.


Introducing Participants of the 2020 World Forum for Intangible Cultural Heritage.