UNESCO and the United Arab Emirates signed in December 2021 an agreement to establish the International Centre for Capacity Building in Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Arab States in Sharjah. This new Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO is hosted by the Sharjah Institute for Heritage in its headquarters, following the decision taken by the UNESCO General Conference. The signing ceremony of the agreement was held in Sharjah, in the presence of H.E. Ms Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth of the UAE and President of the UAE National Commission for Education, Culture, and Science, Ms Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, Dr. Abdulaziz Almusallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and other guests.
The objectives of the Centre are to contribute to the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage and the implementation in the Arab States of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage by supporting the promotion of the Convention, strengthening institutional capacities and increasing the participation of communities, groups and individuals in safeguarding their living heritage. It also aims to raise awareness of and ensure respect for intangible cultural heritage in the Arab States, as well as fostering regional and international cooperation, including South-South collaboration.Category 2 centres (C2Cs) under the auspices of UNESCO are established and funded by Member States to contribute to the achievement of UNESCO’s objectives. Each centre has a specialized field of activity and set of functions in order to accomplish those shared objectives. To this date, there are eight centres devoted to intangible cultural heritage.