UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has decided to include the culture of Jeju’s haenyeo women divers on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity.
The designation is expected to help protect the techniques and traditions of haenyeo by potentially increasing public interest and education, as well as leading to new funding and legislation to protect and support the haenyeo’s cultural practices.
Increased international and intercultural communication among countries and communities with similar marine traditions is likely to be an added effect.
The number of practising women divers on Jeju Island is dwindling as they age, and few new haenyeo are being added to their ranks due to the difficulty and dangerous nature of the work.
This makes the haenyeo Korea’s 19th cultural asset to be recognized with the world body’s heritage status. Representatives from 24 nations reviewed some 37 nominees for inclusion in the list, of which 18 were selected.
Did you know? The 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has been ratified by 171 states. This was its 11th session.
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