With 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development seeks to balance the three dimensions of economics, society and environment based on the three basic principles of human right, gender quality and sustainability. The prerequisites of the sustainable development include peace, security and intangible cultural heritage.

    The three dimensions of economics, society and environment are inseparably connected to peace and security. To achieve such relation, comprehensive policy making and full co-ordination in all fields are required as intangible cultural heritage may help resolve sustainable development issues. Therefore, the protection of the heritage and surrounding environment is needed to bring everyone a better future. Thus, the article presents the relationship between intangible cultural heritage and environmental sustainability.

    The environmental sustainability is in need of a stable environment, sustainable resource management and biodiversity protection. These issues can be solved with scientific knowledge about climate change, potential natural disasters, surrounding environment and the limit of natural resources, which should be shared among stakeholders. Local residents should also be assisted to improve their adaptability as they are vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters, thus, that is an urgent issue to minimize the casualty and socio-economic losses.

    For thousands of years, the knowledge, traditional values and practices, as parts of intangible cultural heritage, have been accumulated and passed from generation to one another to guide the human to connect with the surrounding environment. Today, the impact of intangible cultural heritage on environment sustainability is seen in the fields of biodiversity preservation, sustainable management of natural resources and responses to climate change and natural disasters.

    Like a living legacy passing on from generations to generations, the knowledge, values and practices of environment-related intangible cultural heritage help local community develop their capability and adaptability to use natural resources in a more sustainable way, thus, allowing them to respond better to natural disasters and climate change.

   Intangible cultural heritage may help preserve the biodiversity. Local communities are the core to preserving and sustaining the biodiversity. In Kenya, the Kikuyu women are responsible for propagating and preserving the seeds. They traditionally plant different kinds of bean on the same field and operate various storehouses to prepare for unexpected developments of weather and disease. Today, these storehouses become a valuable base of knowledge about local herbs, which is essential as the quality of agricultural genetics has downgraded after decades of single-seasonal plantation. Among those holding local knowledge, farmers, breeders and doctors are widely recognized as the key to biodiversity protection.

   Intangible cultural heritage helps communities achieve sustainable environmental protection. As the consumption of natural resources has been increasing and become unsustainable worldwide, many local communities have had a close relationship with the nature and environment around them. For instance, the Samoan mat - le toga - is used in cultural and spiritual activities. Chronologically, local people develop their weaving knowledge and skills, in which pineapple trees are planted to provide raw materials. The weaving knowledge and skills help Samoans protect their environment because they are aware pineapple trees have great impact on their physical conditions. As being made of plants, weaved products naturally decompose and the product life cycle is shorter than plastics, which are used worldwide and very damaging to the environment.

    Natural knowledge and practices among local residents may contribute to environmental sustainability studies. Traditional fishermen are the key to resolving issues related to marine biodiversity as they know the ecosystem, the behavior, the movement and the living environment of the fish, and appropriate seasonal fishing methods. Their diversified, specific, useful knowledge may help scientists study the preservation and restoration of the marine biodiversity. Meanwhile, international co-operation between local communities and specialists as well as practice sharing may lead to environmental sustainability and preservation for the forestry and agricultural sectors and natural resources management.

     The knowledge and responsive strategies create an important community-based foundation to deal with natural disasters and climate change. The local communities residing in harsh-condition areas are always the most vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. Their knowledge and practices of the nature and climate – which are the understandings of the ecosystem, the skills and principles for the protection of the environment and biodiversity, the natural resources management, and weather forecast – create a great, full-of-strategy reserve to response to natural threats. The knowledge and skills, being accumulated and adjusted for adaptability, are the tools that can help local communities minimize the damage of natural disasters, rebuild their life and adapt to the climate change.

    In summary, the human have kept their development going on and they have adjusted intangible cultural heritage, including natural and social knowledge and practices, to adapt to the environment, meet basic living standards and resolve social issues chronologically. Thus, intangible cultural heritage is vital as it propels the culture to change and guarantees the society is sustainably developed.


    The knowledge and practices achieved in the history help develop the sustainable natural exploration and restrict the impact of climate change. Therefore, intangible cultural heritage may assist communities to protect the biodiversity and develop sustainably. Many local communities have attached their life to the nature based on their intangible cultural heritage practices.


Nguyễn Thị Hiền

The Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies

(Nguồn: Bài đăng trên Tạp chí Môi trường số Chuyên đề Tiếng Anh II/2020)

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Lượt truy cập: 3269686