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Extension nomination for Dry Stone construction, signed and delivered to UNESCO

New nomination on an extended basis for UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Art of Dry Stone Construction, Knowledge & Techniques

We are delighted to let you know that the extension nomination for Dry Stone construction was signed and delivered to UNESCO last week. Thank you to everyone of you who submitted letters of support, images and videos.

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg have now officially applied to UNESCO to join Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland in the multinational inscription of Dry Stone Construction, Knowledge & Techniques on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Representatives from each of the 13 Countries met on the 29th March 2023, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to officially sign and submit the nomination file to UNESCO. The nomination file will be evaluated by UNESCO in a procedure lasting over one year with the announcement of UNESCO’s decision expected in late 2024.

This multinational nomination file has been prepared through the cooperation of each of the 13 countries in consultation with the bearers of dry stone construction, relevant experts, NGOs and public bodies, who wish to collectively achieve further international recognition of this key element of living heritage and who are committed to work together to safeguard the practice for future generations. The UNESCO Representative List is intended to promote visibility, awareness, protection and appreciation of the diversity of cultural heritage internationally.

Dry Stone Construction

Dry Stone Construction is the practice of building with stone without the use of binding material. An innate understanding of geometry and gravity is required, alongside the skills that develop over many years of handling the raw material that the communities retrieve from their immediate surroundings. Dry stone construction is achieved through the careful selection and arrangement of stones to ensure long-term stability of the structure and adaptation to the local terrain. A few simple tools are required to practice the craft – a hammer, a steel bar, a pick, a shovel and a string line.

Dry stone construction is a sustainable practice which is closely linked to many aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including sustainable industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG7); sustainable cities and communities (SDG11); life on land (SDG15); and, as a direct contributor to the protection of biodiversity (SDG15).

UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was established in 2003 in order to safeguard, appreciate, and raise awareness of cultural heritage locally, nationally, and internationally. Intangible cultural heritage refers to customs, traditions, crafts, games, and practices that are part of people's lives and identities both individually and as part of wider communities, and that are passed on from generation to generation. The text of the Convention can be found at

UNESCO Decision

The General Assembly of the State Parties is the supreme body of the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which to date has 181 Member States. The General Assembly elects, among others, the Intergovernmental Committee, in which twenty-four member states have a four-year term and their work includes assessing applications to the three international lists. The Committee meets once a year and is expected to decide on inclusion of the element ‘Art of Dry Stone Construction, Knowledge & Techniques’ on an extended basis at their 19th meeting in late 2024.

Additional Information on international lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Individual elements from the National Inventory can be nominated for the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (currently 568 entries), the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices (currently 33 entries) or the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Urgent Need of Safeguarding (currently 76 entries). The Art of Dry Stone Construction, Knowledge & Techniques’ application was put forward for consideration for inclusion on the existing multinational inscription on the Representative List. The procedure of preparation and submission of the application form (also referred to as nomination file) can take several years. The evaluation of the application on the part of the Intergovernmental Committee takes another 1-2 years.


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