Calls for French transhumance to be recognized as a UNESCO heritage site

Transhumance, the practice of moving livestock from one pasture to another according to a seasonal cycle, should be recognized as Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage, France’s PACA region has said.

Renaud Muselier, chairman of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur council, is attending this year’s flagship agricultural event, the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris, and said the campaign “has a good chance” of success.

He told BMFTV: “We made the call, with the support of the state and others in the south, and we think it’s a reminder that if you love the countryside, you practice the transhumance. Transhumance is part of our heritage, and it must be included.

“It has a good chance of being recognized by Unesco.”

Transhumance is often practiced in mountain agricultural regions, especially for flocks of sheep used for the local production of milk, butter, yoghurt and cheese. It generally consists of a seasonal movement of livestock from winter pastures to summer pastures and vice versa.

The Agricultural Show, called the Paris International Agricultural Show in English, takes place this year from February 26 to March 6, at the Paris Porte de Versailles exhibition center.

According to Unesco’s own definition, intangible cultural heritage “comprises traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and transmitted to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills necessary for the production of traditional crafts”.

It is “an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of increasing globalization”, he says, and adds that “understanding the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps intercultural dialogue and encourages mutual respect for other modes of life”. .

It can be historical and contemporary, “flourish on the basis of the community”, can be “transmitted to the rest of the community, from generation to generation”, and “can only be heritage when it is recognized as such by the communities, groups or individuals who create, maintain and transmit it”.

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