A seminar held in HCM City on Tuesday, 21 December 2010 sought to gather materials and information on the art for submission to the UN agency.
Dozens of researchers, educators, cultural administrators and musicians attended the meeting at the HCM City Museum.
Vu Kim Anh, deputy director of the Culture, Sports and Tourism Department, said don ca tai tu has lost none of its "miraculous vitality" after more than 100 years of existence.
There are 97 clubs and groups with 1,133 members that propagate the music.
Researchers said the art form is becoming more and more popular among Vietnamese and foreigners though its format has changed for the worse, according to some experts.
Songs are now played as short extracts rather than in full, often leaving listeners unable to understand the meaning.
Composer Ngo Hong Khanh said the art form must be preserved and developed in a creative manner while still retaining all its original values.
Don ca tai tu performer Minh Duc said it is necessary to create a cultural space for the art and popularise it among the younger generations and teach it in schools.
Professor Tran Van Khe presented a CD on don ca tai tu that he and folk artist Bach Hue had made in 1963 for UNESCO.
Viet Nam Traditions of the South, featuring 11 songs, has since found a place in a series called UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music of the World.
Other researchers and composers offered valuable references on the art to a city don ca tai tu research group that was established in August.