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The UNESCO 'Award of Excellence for Handicrafts' aims to encourage artisans to produce handicrafts using traditional skills, patterns and themes in an innovative way, in order to ensure the continuity and sustainability of these traditions and skills. It is UNESCO’s flagship programme for supporting craft producers.

Objective 1
Establish rigorous standards of excellence for handicrafts

The UNESCO “Award of Excellence for Handicrafts” aims to promote quality crafts that upholds rigorous standards of excellence. It aims to ensure that when consumers buy awarded handicrafts, they are buying high quality, culturally authentic products that have been manufactured in a socially-responsible manner with respect for the environment.

Objective 2
Encourage innovativeness

While it seeks to promote the continuation of traditional skills, the UNESCO Award also encourages product innovation in order to ensure that handicrafts remain relevant, valuable, and marketable in modern life.

Objective 3
Offer training and support services

The UNESCO programme aims to provide capacity-building and training workshops to assist craft producers in the improvement of their product design and marketing, development of their markets, and protection of their intellectual property rights.

Objective 4
Provide new opportunities to ensure sustainability of handicraft industries

The handicraft sector plays an increasingly significant role in local economic development and poverty eradication. By providing new market opportunities, the programme aims to enable handicraft producers to establish sustainable livelihoods. This will be achieved through developing networks of handicraft producers and buyers, including the higher-end of the market, and through exhibitions and trade fairs.