Chairperson thanked the Rapporteur for the pertinent points that would lead the debates.
439.The delegation of Belgiumwarmly thanked the Subsidiary Body for the hard work and for proposing a set of coherent draft decisions, adding that it appreciated its comments and suggestions. In point 23, the Subsidiary Body stated that they accord particular importance to the consistency of its decisions, which was considered a very good thing, as the Committee should always be as consistent as possible. The delegation recalled Decision 5.COM 6.2, taken by the Committee at its fifth session in Kenya, on ‘Azerbaijani carpet’ in which Morocco intervened to emphasize that processes not products should be the focus. As a result, an addition was made to avoid the inscription of a product on the Representative List and the title was changed to ‘Traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving’. The delegation therefore wished to emphasize the central part played by the process and not product, and refer to Decision 5.COM 6.2 when making similar decisions. Furthermore, in point 54, the Subsidiary Body stated that submitting States should implement concrete and precise safeguarding measures that focus on transmission rather than a museological approach that tends to freeze elements. It wished to recall yesterday’s discussion on the role of museums, adding that museums also played an important role that does not necessarily imply the freezing of an element. Museums can work as mediators and were very important actors in the safeguarding process.
440.The delegation of the Republic of Koreathanked the Subsidiary Body for its hard work and valuable contributions in evaluating the 46 nomination files, and in producing a substantive report on its examination. It was also grateful for its selection of the Korean nomination file as one of the good examples. In addition, it appreciated all the valuable comments made on every nomination, whether positive or not, as these would help the submitting States better prepare their nominations in subsequent cycles, including the Republic of Korea. It was the delegation’s hope that the new Evaluation Body will inherit the wealth of experience and know-how from the Subsidiary Body, and that it looked forward to such close cooperation.
441.With no Observers wishing to take the floor, the Chairperson thanked the Committee for its interventions and turned to its examination of nominations to the Representative List. As mentioned at the beginning of the session, the Chairperson suspended the examination of the chapeau of the draft decision until the individual decisions had been taken, inviting the Vice-Chair of the Subsidiary Body to introduce the nominations.
442.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the first nomination on Ritual and ceremonies of Sebeïba in the oasis of Djanet, Algeria [draft decision 9.COM 10.1] submitted by Algeria. The ritual and ceremonies of Sebeïba are practised by two communities in Djanet during ten days in the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Dancers and singers compete for the right to represent their communities during a nine-day competition. Once there, the dancers stand in a ritual circle rattling their swords continuously as the women sing traditional songs to the rhythm of the tambourine. The ritual symbolically wards off potential violence between rival communities by simulating and transposing it to the realm of artistic competition. In its evaluation, the Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied criteria R.1, R.3 and R.4, but that it lacked the technical details to determine R.2 and R.5. The Body found that the submitting State had sufficiently described the main features of the ritual and ceremonies that gave the community a sense of identity and continuity, promoting a peaceful life in society. It also considered satisfactory the overall safeguard measures and the level of community participation and involvement of public institutions in the elaboration of the nomination. However, criterion R.2 was not well understood, which had been a recurrent problem. The Vice-Chair reminded the Committee of Decision 8.COM 8: ‘Decides that criterion R.2 will only be considered to be satisfied if the nomination demonstrates how the possible inscription will contribute to ensuring visibility and awareness of the significance of the intangible cultural heritage in general, and not only of the inscribed element itself, and to encouraging dialogue which respects cultural diversity.’ Criterion R.2 should not demonstrate the benefits that would follow inscription for the element itself but to demonstrate how it would help increase the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general and to raise awareness of its importance, which is the very purpose of the Representative List. As presented, the nomination lacked sufficient information to do so. The Body therefore could not conclude the criteria was met. Finally, in R.5, the Body found that although a certificate had been provided, stating the inclusion of the element in a database of intangible cultural heritage, information was needed to demonstrate that the database was indeed an inventory drawn up in accordance with the Convention, in particular with Article 11.b, which requires the participation of communities, and Article 12 requiring that inventories are regularly updated. The Body thus recommended that the nomination be referred to the submitting State, inviting it to resubmit the nomination for examination to the Committee during a subsequent cycle. Furthermore, the use of certain expressions were deemed at odds with the spirit of the Convention and therefore the Body wished to draw the submitting State’s attention to this point in paragraph 5 of the draft decision.
443.The Chairperson opened the floor to the Committee Members.
444.Wishing the Committee fruitful deliberations, the delegation of Turkey spoke of its careful examination of the nomination and found that R.2 satisfied the principles and framework laid down by the Convention vis-à-vis the visibility of the Convention and its fundamental requirements. With regard to R.5, the delegation noted that this was not the first nomination from Algeria and that in earlier submissions, the Algerian national inventory had been accepted. It therefore wished to hear from the submitting State in this regard.
445.The delegation of Tunisia thanked the Secretariat and the Subsidiary Body for the efforts made in reviewing the nomination files, adding that the Subsidiary Body’s report demonstrated the very specific criteria that were taken into account to assess these files to better study these decisions. However, it understood that the majority of States had faced difficulties with regard to R.2, adding that it hoped that the Committee’s work would make it easier to understand this criterion so that it would be better applied in future nominations. The delegation valued the part played by ceremonies and rituals passed on from one generation to another that safeguarded intangible cultural heritage, and it believed that the inscription of the rituals and ceremonies of Sebeïba on the Representative List was justified. It invited Algeria to provide clarifications on the database pertaining to intangible cultural heritage in Algeria, bearing in mind that this corresponded to R.5.
446.The delegation of Brazil also considered that this was a very good nomination and that it satisfied all the criteria proposed, however it wished to hear from Algeria on the issue of R.2 and R.5, especially on how this nomination would favour social cohesion and dialogue, and respect for the principles of the Convention. In R.5, it sought clarification on how the database was regularly updated, and how the collected data demonstrated community participation.
447.The delegation of Côte d’Ivoire studied the nomination with interest, and wished to hear Algeria respond to the reservations by the Subsidiary Body.
448.The delegation of Egypt agreed with Tunisia, Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire, adding that it appreciated the efforts by the Subsidiary Body, and also sought clarifications on R.2, as it seemed that this criterion was an issue in many files and not just this one.
449.The delegation of Greece agreed with the previous speakers that the nomination was very interesting and seemed to fulfil all the criteria. It was a very ancient tradition practised by a large number of people, and communities would be very much encouraged if this element was inscribed. It also wished to hear from Algeria.
450.The delegation of Republic of Korea appreciated the Subsidiary Body’s report and hard work in analysing this nomination, noting that the missing information was related to criteria R.2 and R.5. It therefore wished to give Algeria an opportunity to explain its position.
451.The delegation of Afghanistan expressed its satisfaction with the rich and detailed report, adding that it would surely help the Committee in its work in the future, especially in the preparation of nominations. With regard to the nomination, the delegation noted that it had received the general approbation of the Committee Members, except in R.2 criterion, which was a difficult requirement because it required the contribution of the element towards the enhancement of culture in general. The delegation was of the opinion that this was rather a test of time, adding that if the element persisted and was accepted by a community then it was in harmony with the rest of culture. It therefore asked Algeria to provide more clarification in order to knowingly make a decision.
452.The delegation of Ethiopia welcomed and appreciated the very good nomination by Algeria, and it shared the opinion expressed by previous speakers, especially the question by Turkey. With regard to the recommendation of the Subsidiary Body on R.2, it understood that submitting States should give careful attention to the way nominations are formulated and to be particularly attentive so that the nomination did not inadvertently give rise to misunderstandings that might undermine dialogue and mutual respect. Thus, it wished to ask Algeria whether its nomination could provoke some misunderstanding among communities in any way. Secondly, it sought more information from Algeria on how the inscription could increase the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general, which might help in reviewing the nomination.
453.The delegation of India complimented Algeria for a very succinct nomination, adding that it would like Algeria to respond to the points made by the Subsidiary Body, especially with regard to increasing the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general.
454.The Chairperson gave the floor to Algeria to respond.
455.The delegation of Algeria thanked the Committee Members for their questions, and the Subsidiary Body for the quality of its work. Concerning R.2, the delegation explained that the nomination provided evidence that the inclusion of Sebeïba would promote visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general, especially with regard to the Tuareg language in which the poetry is expressed, and in the diversity of its oral traditions through crafts, skills, know-make related to jewellery, costume-making and the irrigation of gardens. The inscription of these crafts was thus likely to promote human creativity by the poetic creation of each ritual. Regarding R.5, the delegation further explained that all the aspects of the element functioned in collaborative and fruitful partnership with the community, its associations, and the cultural and scientific institutions in charge of heritage. Moreover, the community was involved in the development of safeguarding measures, in the preparation of the nomination file, and in all aspects related to identification, inventorying and contribution to the database of intangible cultural heritage. The delegation confirmed that Algeria held a national database of intangible cultural heritage that was created by decree, whose operation was both territorial and thematic. Documentary elements of the national databank were available to specialized cultural and scientific bodies, including via a hyperlink. It was noted that the work of editing, scanning and securing the different documents required time, as well as material and human resources. Nevertheless, it was true that the hyperlink to the database had been omitted from the nomination form. It was noted that the database was constituted in various ways, though the most important was carried out by Tassili Cultural Park, which managed a World Heritage Site, and whose staff counted many members of the community. It was also noted that the cultural park had created a unit in 2010 that collected data on intangible cultural heritage. Moreover, the director of the cultural park, Ms Aisha Tagabou, was herself a member of the community. The collection of data was also carried out through an annual cultural festival created in 2009 whose organizing committee comprised members of the community and bearers of the element, as well as through the network of associations, including the association called Sebeïba that featured in the accompanying video, and whose members are all from the community. Finally, the element was updated at least once a year on the occasion of the performance of the ritual according to the agreed coordination and traditional partnership between the communities, represented by these associations, with bearers on the one hand, and the festival’s organizing committee and the Tassili Cultural Park on the other. In addition, the research centre regularly initiated scientific research in collaboration with the community and the bearers. The collection of poetry, texts, stories, founding myths, oral tradition and music recordings. This work was published in book form, as that published in 2012 and again in 2013, which were provided in the bibliography in the nomination form.
456.The Chairperson then turned to the adoption of the draft decision on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. Paragraphs 1 and 2 were duly adopted.
457.Following consultations with other delegations, as well as experts from Algeria, the delegation of Brazil wished to present two amendments, in paragraph 3 in R.2, which read: ‘The inscription of the element on the Representative List can contribute to increasing the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general, and beyond, to foster social cohesion and dialogue’; and in R.5: ‘The element is included in the national database of the intangible cultural heritage of Algeria maintained by the Ministry of Culture, which is regularly updated and accessible on the internet.’
458.The Chairperson noted that the draft amendments were displayed on the screen.
459.The delegation of Belgium noted a technical problem in that the Committee had already adopted paragraph 2, and it could thus no longer be changed.
460.The delegation of Brazil remarked that it had submitted the amendments earlier to the Secretariat, adding that it had not changed any of the three sub-paragraphs that were included in paragraph 2. It was thus proposing the deletion of paragraph 3, and the insertion of the new formulations in criteria R.2 and R.5 in the right paragraph, which meant paragraph 2. The new paragraph 3 would be the decision to inscribe the element. The delegation therefore asked Belgium to accept this procedure, especially if it did not have anything against the substance of the proposal.
461.The delegation of Belgium reiterated that paragraph 2 had been adopted, adding that it also appreciated the Algerian nomination. Referring to point 21 of the Subsidiary Body’s report, the delegation noted that it clearly stated that the evaluation was solely based on the information contained in the nomination file, which was also what the Committee should do. It was also noted that there were a number of details missing, i.e. in point 2.1 on page 6, and on page 14 in section five of the nomination file. The delegation added that this was the reason behind the introduction of the referral option to correct technical details. It believed that lessons could be drawn on the problems encountered with some of the criteria, including R.2, suggesting that perhaps the Operational Directives be changed so as to rethink the entire system. However, at the moment the system used five relatively easy criteria, which were examined thoroughly and severely. Nevertheless, the delegation agreed that it would be interesting to reopen the debate and to reconsider how to deal with criteria, and perhaps using a Wikipedia solution where there could be lot of proposals on the list. Thus, if a discussion would ensue in the future to revise the Operational Directives, then criterion R.2 should also be looked at so as to avoid these kinds of situations.
462.The delegation of Brazil wished to elaborate on the nature of its amendments, particularly in light of the explanations provided by Algeria and knowing the importance of this element to Tuareg culture. It explained that Tuareg culture is the native culture of the entire Maghreb region over millennia, before the Greeks, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Christians and the Muslims. The Tuareg had thus preserved their traditions, which would contribute to dialogue among all countries in the region, while preserving the very important creative culture of Tuareg language and traditions. This was why the delegation believed the nomination fully provided the information necessary in R.2 to be accepted. It surmised that perhaps the use of swords in the Tuareg dance was inappropriate, adding that as a 10-year-old he had witnessed a wedding in Brazil of a person belonging to the national military academy. After the wedding, the bride and groom passed through a tunnel of swords, which was impressive and beautiful and not aggressive or contrary to dialogue and social cohesion. In the same way, the delegation did not see why this would be case in traditional Tuareg culture in the Maghreb. With regard to R.5, the delegation remarked on the clarifications given that explained the system of collecting information for the national database of their intangible cultural heritage, and how it was accessible to everyone. It therefore strongly believed that the nomination satisfied all five criteria, and the reason it proposed the amendments in criteria R.2 and R.5, and thus the inscription of the element.
463.The delegation of Turkey concurred with the remarkable statement by Brazil, adding that it was aware of the importance of Tuareg culture, not only for Algeria but the entire region. It believed that the proposed amendments were very pertinent, and it endorsed the Brazilian amendments, inviting the Algerian delegation to provide its statement to the Secretariat.
464.The delegation of Peru congratulated the Chairperson and the Secretariat for the smooth organization of the work, and the Subsidiary Body for its great work. It was noted that Peru was a serving Member of the Subsidiary Body, and thus fully supported the evaluation and the draft decision. That said, having listened attentively to the previous speakers, especially the explanations provided by Algeria, and agreeing with the amendments proposed by Brazil, while also taking into account Belgium’s concerns, it supported the amendments for the following reasons. Algeria had explained that it failed to present evidence required in the nomination file, and thus the Subsidiary Body was right in deducing that there was a ‘lack of information’ in R.5, as evidence of the existence of the inventory must be provided. Moreover, the delegation recalled that in previous Committee meetings, States that had not provided the necessary evidence of the existence of an inventory, but had provided an explanation during the Committee meeting had resulted in the Committee accepting the explanation. In this way, this would resolve the issue in criterion R.5, i.e. that the Committee could accept the explanation, and actually was aware that Algeria, through previous nominations, maintained more than one inventory of intangible cultural heritage. In addition, given that the Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body explained that no nomination would be rejected on the sole basis of criterion R.2 not being met, and as R.2 was difficult to interpret, the delegation believed that the Committee had to accept the nomination and therefore the amendments proposed by Brazil, while taking into account the impeccable work carried out by the Subsidiary Body.
465.In light of the information provided by Algeria, the delegation of Tunisia expressed its support for Brazil’s amendments. Moreover, the element was not only relevant for Algeria but for Maghreb as a whole, and there was sufficient information provided on the database maintained by Algeria.
466.The delegation of Greece thanked Algeria for its pertinent clarifications, as well as Brazil for its explanation of the importance of the ancient Tuareg tradition throughout the Maghreb region and its emphasis on the need to safeguard these ancient traditions. It therefore supported the amendments by Brazil.
467.The delegation of Hungary thanked Algeria for the much needed and relevant clarifications, adding that it supported all three amendments by Brazil.
468.Following the explanations by Algeria, the delegation of Congo firmly supported the amendments by Brazil on R.2 and R.5. With regard to the remark by Belgium, the delegation concurred that the Committee had indeed adopted paragraph 2, but that it had yet to consider the other criteria R.2 and R.5 for which Brazil had submitted amendments. It therefore supported and welcomed the two proposed amendments by Brazil.
469.The delegation of Ethiopia fully supported Brazil’s amendments, and in light of the additional information provided, believed that criteria R.2 and R.5 were fully satisfied.
470.The delegation of Uruguay thanked the Subsidiary Body and Algeria for their efforts and work. Taking into consideration the information provided by Algeria, and thanking Brazil for its proposals, it supported the amendments.
471.In light of the explanations provided by Algeria, the delegation of Indiaseconded the amendments proposed by Brazil in R.2 and R.5.
472.The delegation of Egypt thanked Algeria for the explanations provided, and Brazil for the proposed amendments. Considering the explanations, the delegation believed that the file should be accepted, thanking those that supported the Algerian nomination.
473.The delegation of Belgium thanked the Committee for the debate, noting however that it was creating a precedent, as paragraph 2 had already been accepted and there was no question of reopening it. Thus, the amendments should appear in a separate paragraph 3 to clearly distinguish the outcome and motivation compared to the initial decision. Regarding the Tuareg culture, of course, the delegation appreciated the Tuareg culture enormously but as the Committee had been reminded countless times, it was not making statements about culture, but examining nomination files, adding that this argument was not useful in this document. If so, then it should be clearly stated that the Committee was creating a precedent and changing directives, which was very clearly a problem. Thus, a separate paragraph 3 was needed if the Committee was introducing new things that were not in the file, but that had been explained in the room, which was also a precedent in the Subsidiary Body’s procedure. The delegation hoped that the future Evaluation Body would not copy this bad example in trying to reconfigure an element.
474.The delegation of Saint Lucia spoke of its hesitance to take the floor on this nomination. Of course, it agreed with Belgium, however, its position was similar to Peru. It was known that the Committee did not refrain from inscribing nominations on the sole basis of criterion R.2, though it did not accept new information on R.2 given in the room. However, there were big problems with R.2, which – as noted by Belgium – the Committee wished to revisit. The delegation believed that the visibility of intangible cultural heritage resulted from inscription, and was not an obligation of the State Party. Regarding the inventory, it was noted that the link was missing but that it was the presented afterwards, and that it contained the missing information and the inventory. However, if this Committee had not decided two years ago to inscribe an element of a country that did not have an inventory at the time of the nomination, but was shown a ministerial letter that the element was included on the inventory, the Committee would not be in a position to consider this element today and accept the addition of the hyperlink after the deadline. The delegation however believed in the importance of consistency and fairness to all Member States, and the reason it was very nervous when the Committee took decisions lightly and created precedence, adding that precedence could be used later to transgress again from decisions taken by the Committee on how to evaluate files. Thus, because the Committee accepted to inscribe an element two years ago when the inventory was done at the last minute, it now had to accept the nomination from Algeria dispite the link was missing. Consequently, if the Committee accepted R.5, then it could not refuse the inscription based on R.2.