Since ratification of the 2003 Convention in 2005, Iceland has not yet adopted any specific policy for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH), but relevant legal obligations are set out in several laws that regulate official institutions involved in safeguarding both tangible and intangible heritage. At the time of submission of the report, Iceland was elaborating a plan for implementation of the 2003 Convention. The main competent bodies are: the Arni Magnusson Institute for Icelandic Studies, the National Museum of Iceland, the National and University Library of Iceland (Centre for Oral History) and the Icelandic Music Museum (Tónlistarsafn Íslands). Active civil society associations also mentioned in the report include: the Folk Music Center, the Family Craft Association, the Reykjavik Folk-Dance Association, the Icelandic National Wrestling Association and the National Association of Traditional Singers.
The University of Iceland and Bifröst University both offer courses relevant to training in the management of ICH. Documentation on ICH is held by the Arni Magnusson Institute and the National Museum of Iceland, while databases have also been created for Icelandic music and cultural heritage (maintained by ISMUS – Islenskur Musik & Menningararfur) and cultural history (maintained by Sarpur: Menningarsögulegt gagnasafn).
Thus far, no national inventory of Iceland’s ICH has been established, though the report notes that information for this purpose was being gathered in late 2014 and early 2015.
Beyond the existing documentation and the aforementioned work towards establishing an inventory of ICH, no other state-led safeguarding measure is mentioned. However, it is noted that non governmental organizations active in the field of ICH organise educational and training programmes, as well as awareness-raising and information programmes for all generations.
In terms of bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international cooperation, during Iceland’s presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, an international conference on ‘Tradition for Tomorrow’ was organised in Akureyri, Iceland, in August 2014 by the Nordic Committee for Folk Music in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Iceland and the University in Akureyri. This facilitated dialogue between practitioners, researchers and officials for safeguarding Nordic ICH in accordance with the 2003 Convention. Nordic multiculturalism was also investigated through seeking to identify commonalities in Nordic heritage of music and dance while respecting the specificity of traditions within each country.
Iceland currently has no elements inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity or the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.