Yoga in UNESCO’s Representative List of intangible heritage

In a diplomatic triumph for India, an intergovernmental committee of the United Nations has inscribed yoga in UNESCO’s Representative List as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“This declaration of yoga as a ‘Human Treasure’ enjoyed the unanimous support of 24-member Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which overturned the decision of an Evaluation Body of technical experts, seeking to defer the case to the next session of the Committee in 2017,” MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup today said.
The tag emphasises yoga’s role as a social practice, an oral tradition and a system of ancient and scientific knowledge, facilitating an enhanced harmony and peace across caste, creed, gender, age and nationality, he said.
The eleventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee is being held in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, from November 28 to December 2.
The inscription and classification as a ‘human treasure’ brings immense recognition to yoga, as it went through rigorous criteria set out by UNESCO, the only UN body mandated to capture the intangible aspects of culture, Swarup said.
Additionally, the inscription enables a bottoms-up empowerment, as it directs the spotlight towards the numerous institutions and communities in India disseminating this ancient tradition, he said.
“As well, it can potentially foment a dialogue on the ideas of peace and tolerance, how these can be extended to meet the goals of sustainable development and where India can play a leading role in this global dialogue on intercultural relations,” he added.
Recognising its universal appeal, in December 2014, the United Nations had proclaimed June 21 as International Yoga Day.
The core functions of the Committee are to promote the objectives of the Convention (for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage), provide guidance on best practices and make recommendations on measures for safeguarding it