EXAMINATION OF THE REPORTS OF STATES PARTIES ON THE CURRENT STATUS OF ELEMENTS INSCRIBED ON THE LIST OF INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE IN NEED OF URGENT SAFEGUARDING
41.In the temporary absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chair, Mr Philippe Potjes from Belgium, introduced the next item on the agenda, inviting Mr Proschan to present item 5.b.
42.Mr Proschan explained that the Committee’s task was to examine the eight reports submitted by States Parties during the first cycle of ordinary reporting, covering the elements that were inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List in 2009; the summary of which would be presented to the General Assembly. The document was composed of a brief introduction in Part A. The table in paragraph 3 showed the list of the 8 reports for examination, while the table in paragraph 4 showed four reports that were expected but had not been submitted during the current cycle by France and China, and would therefore be examined by the Committee at its next session. In the case of China, the message from the Secretariat to China concerning its periodic report had been received in the wrong mailbox and therefore had not been transmitted to the right national channels. Thus, there were many factors that could contribute to a State not submitting a report in a timely manner. In Part B of the report, the Secretariat had provided the Committee with general observations on the reports submitted, particularly, on the effectiveness of safeguarding measures and on the challenges encountered by States during their implementation. It was noted that the Committee should expect to examine 10 reports in the 2015 cycle. As previously done by the Secretariat, it provided the reporting States with an aide-mémoire of the experiences accumulated by other States in previous cycles so that those reports could be as informative and useful as possible. Several of the reports indicated encouraging progress in safeguarding, and in paragraph 13 of the document, the Secretariat signalled the possible need in the near future to discuss a procedure to implement what was already provided in paragraph 38 of the Operational Directives, i.e. the possible transfer of an element from the Urgent Safeguarding List to the Representative List. Although that possibility was created in the Operational Directives, the specific procedure had not been elaborated, as a case had yet to be presented. Nevertheless, the Committee was made aware that this issue was expected in a future cycle owing to safeguarding efforts that had been sufficiently strong that an element was no longer in need of urgent safeguarding and could be transferred to the Representative List. In Part C of the document, an assessment of each of the eight reports, and a corresponding draft decision, was provided. The reports themselves had been made available online in English and French since July 2014. The Secretariat had summarized the effectiveness of the safeguarding activities, the participation of communities in implementing the safeguarding plan and in the reporting process, and the viability and current risks for the inscribed element. An overall draft decision was also proposed by the Secretariat, which could perhaps be considered once the individual reports had first been examined. In paragraph 4, States were invited to strengthen their engagement in the safeguarding of elements inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List.
43.Thanking Mr Proschan for the introduction, the Vice-Chair suggested commencing with a general debate on the reports before moving to the examination of each report and the corresponding draft decision. He encouraged the six submitting States: Belarus, Kenya, Latvia, Mali, Mongolia and Viet Nam to take the floor if they so wished.
44.The delegation of Latvia wished to provide some general observations on the elements under examination inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, adding that the information provided was a very valuable source for reflection on various aspects. In the cases currently examined, there were numerous examples where awareness on safeguarding the intangibleaspects of cultural heritage had a very valuable impact on the preservation of other domains of heritage. Regarding the proposed assessments of the reports, it wished to invite the Secretariat to maintain the very welcome practice of summarizing community participation in the preparation of the reports, presenting it as a separate paragraph within the assessment, adding that the practice deserved to be a general principle in the future. With regard to its element on the Suiti cultural space, the delegation explained that it was initiated and driven by the strong willingness of the community to safeguard existing cultural traditions and re-utilize elements that had been lost during previous decades. The nomination process encouraged the recognition of the diversity of its traditions, while the inscriptions raised the confidence of the community. Since its inscription, the community had demonstrated its strong commitment to the implementation of the safeguarding activities, fostering various cooperation modes, strengthening the capacity of NGOs, raising awareness among children, and developing international exchange of experiences on common projects with other communities in neighbouring countries. In addition, the safeguarding of solid cultural traditions had significantly impacted on the preservation of other fields of heritage, such as renovating church buildings, liturgical objects and preserving textiles. The community had also demonstrated its involvement in research projects that had led to publications on their traditional costumes and the Suiti cultural space. Although the safeguarding plans developed within the nomination had met with certain difficulties regarding cultural policy at national and local level, but also educational, regional development and other fields of policy-making in achieving a concise approach for sustainable development, the community had a strong conviction that the inscription of the nomination had been, and continued to be, a strong driver for developing safeguarding activities. For example, on 28 November 2014, the community presented in its village, Alsunga, and also in Basi and Jūrkalne, two newly elaborated school books for raising awareness among children on the Suiti traditions, whose activities had lead to future strengthening of the cultural identity of the Suiti community and the transmission of their cultural traditions.
45.Noting that the Committee was already discussing item 5.b, the delegation of Congosought clarification as to whether the Committee would return later to unfinished item 5.a.
46.The Vice-Chair confirmed that this was indeed the case. With no other forthcoming comments, the Vice-Chair turned to the individual reports, beginning with the report submitted by Belarus on the status of the Rite of the Kalyady Tsars (Christmas Tsars).
47.Mr Proschan explained that he would not summarize the brief notes provided by the Secretariat for each of the reports, but instead proceed directly to the draft decisions, as projected on the screen. It was noted that all the draft decisions for each report had a few standard paragraphs, typically the first few, as well as specific ones addressing the needs and challenges in each inscribed element. In the case of Belarus, it was noted that the reporting State was unable to submit a revised report, as had been advised by the Secretariat (in paragraph 3), such that the Committee would be examining the report as it had been originally submitted. Mr Proschan recalled that Belarus had previously submitted an extraordinary report in 2011, and in paragraph 4 of the draft decision, it was therefore proposed to take note of its continued efforts in safeguarding this element. Paragraphs 5 and 6 highlighted two means by which the reporting State might strengthen its efforts, suggested by the Secretariat’s reading of the report. The Committee might wish to invite the submitting State to decentralize the management of the budget and the implementation of safeguarding measures to local authorities, and to establish and provide support for a long-term safeguarding strategy that would extend beyond 2015.
48.The Vice-Chairpresented the draft decision on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. With no comments or objections, the Vice-Chair declared Decision 9.COM 5.b.1 adopted.
49.Mr Proschan turned to the second report submitted by Kenya on the status of Traditions and practices associated to the Kayas in the sacred forests of the Mijikenda. In this draft decision, it was noted that paragraph 5 proposed that the Committee took note that the safeguarding activities were undertaken with support from an International Assistance grant from the ICH Fund; information that was reported in document 5.c. In paragraph 6, the reporting State was invited to continue its safeguarding efforts by supporting the local communities, not only to continue their traditions and practices, but also to conserve their natural environment, a crucial element in this practice. In paragraph 7, the Committee might wish to encourage Kenya to extend its safeguarding strategy to three Kaya communities that had not yet benefitted from it.
50.The Vice-Chair turned to the draft decision. With no comments or objections, the Vice-Chair declared Decision 9.COM 5.b.2 adopted.
51.Mr Proschan turned to the third report submitted by Latvia on the status of the Suiti cultural space. This draft decision proposed that the Committee take note of the progress realized so far by Latvia, particularly in response to the specific concerns raised by the Committee in 2009 at the time of the element’s inscription (in paragraph 4). Furthermore, the Committee might wish (in paragraph 5) to invite the reporting State to further develop its safeguarding strategy and to secure the funds needed for its implementation, and to encourage the State (in paragraph 6) to ensure an active involvement of the Suiti community in the planning of the long-term strategy and its subsequent implementation. It was noted that the Secretariat had received a small correction (in paragraph 25 of the report itself), which would subsequently be reflected in the report to be submitted to the General Assembly, but that it did not figure in the language of the decision.
52.The Vice-Chair turned to the draft decision. With no comments or objections, the Vice-Chair declared Decision 9.COM 5.b.3 adopted.
53.Mr Proschan turned to the fourth report submitted by Mali on the status of the Sanké mon, collective fishing rite of the Sanké. This draft decision proposed that the Committee encourage the reporting State to make every effort to involve local communities at each stage of safeguarding, whether in the planning and implementation of safeguarding measures, or the preparation of technical and financial reports. The Committee might also wish (in paragraph 6) to encourage Mali to take further action in the field of environmental conservation, particularly regarding water resources management, as this element was intimately linked to its natural environment, and to build upon the local management capacities for the safeguarding of this rite (in paragraph 7). Finally, taking into account the on-going emergency international assistance granted in 2013 for an inventory of intangible cultural heritage, proposed that Mali be encouraged (in paragraph 8) to coordinate those larger national actions with the specific safeguarding measures being taken for Sanké mon.
54.The Vice-Chair turned to draft decision. With no comments or objections, the Vice-Chair declared Decision 9.COM 5.b.4 adopted.
55.Mr Proschan turned to the fifth report: the first of three reports submitted by Mongolia on the status of Mongol Biyelgee, Mongolian traditional folk dance. It was noted that the numbering of the paragraphs of the draft decision was incorrect in the working document, though now corrected, as projected on-screen. In the first draft decision addressed to Mongolia, related to the Mongol Biyelgee, the Committee might wish to take note of the progress achieved so far (in paragraph 4), while encouraging the reporting State to further develop its safeguarding strategy, paying particular attention to the risks of potential distortion and de-contextualization of this folk dance (paragraphs 5 and 6). It also proposed (in paragraph 7) that the reporting State be encouraged to fully involve the community concerned in its safeguarding efforts, and to explore the possibility of cooperation with the newly established civil society groups in charge of safeguarding this element.
56.The Vice-Chair thanked Mr Proschan for highlighting the correction, and turned to the draft decision. With no comments or objections, the Vice-Chair declared Decision 9.COM 5.b.5 adopted.
57.Mr Proschan then turned to the sixth report: the second of three reports submitted by Mongolia on the status of Mongol Tuuli, Mongolian epic. The Committee might wish to commend the reporting State for the implementation of its safeguarding plan, while underlining that safeguarding efforts should maintain the diversity of Mongolian epic rather than standardizing it (concerns outlined in paragraph 4). Paragraph 5 also proposed that the Committee encourage the State Party to find ways of addressing the decreasing number of practitioners, and of maintaining the wealth and diversity of the epic repertoire in their performances. Finally, the reporting State might be invited to secure appropriate funds for the future viability of the element and the sustainability of the safeguarding strategy (in paragraph 6).
58.The Vice-Chair turned to the draft decision. With no comments or objections, the Vice-Chair declared Decision 9.COM 5.b.6 adopted.
59.Mr Proschan then turned to the seventh report and the last of three reports submitted by Mongolia on the status of Traditional music of the Tsuur. In the last draft decision addressed to Mongolia, the Committee might wish to take note (in paragraph 4) of the recent adoption in 2014 of a three-year national safeguarding plan, and request the State to report on its results in its next report. Paragraph 5 invited the State to take action in establishing spaces for the workshop and the making of musical instruments, while encouraging Mongolia to make every effort to strengthen the necessary human resources for the safeguarding of this element, in particular within the communities concerned and NGOs (in paragraph 6). The State could also be invited to secure a sufficient budget for the full implementation of present and future safeguarding activities (in paragraph 7).
60.The Vice-Chair turned to the draft decision. With no comments or objections, the Vice-Chair declared Decision 9.COM 5.b.7 adopted.
61.Mr Proschan turned to the eighth and final report, submitted by Viet Nam on the status of Ca trù singing. For this last report, aware of the innovative work carried out by Viet Nam to integrate intangible cultural heritage into education, the Committee might wish (in paragraph 5) to invite the reporting State to include the teaching of Ca trù singing in formal education programmes. Viet Nam could also be encouraged (in paragraph 6) to fully involve the communities concerned, particularly the Ca trù clubs in the planning and implementation of the safeguarding plan, and to support their own existing efforts to transmit the element. Finally, the Committee might encourage the reporting State to find systematic ways to finance its safeguarding activities so as to ensure a secure source of future income (in paragraph 7).
62.The Vice-Chair turned to the draft decision. With no comments or objections to paragraphs 1 to 3, they were duly adopted. He noted an amendment by Latvia to be added to the current paragraph 4, which read, ‘and in ensuring that safeguarding measures encourage the diversity of traditional local styles’. There were no objections, and it was duly adopted. With no further amendments or comments to paragraphs 5 to 8 of the draft decision, the Vice-Chair declared Decision 9.COM 5.b.8 adopted.
63.Following the completion of the eight draft decisions, the Vice-Chair proceeded to the overall draft decision 9.COM 5.b on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. With no objections or comments, the Vice-Chair declared Decision 9.COM 5.b adopted.