Al-Zajal, recited or sung poetry [draft decision 9.COM 10.25] submitted by Lebanon.
Al-Zajal is a form of Lebanese folk poetry declaimed or sung at social and family celebrations and in daily life. During poetic jousts, troupes of poets perform verses often in the form of challenges in front of a mixed audience to the rhythm of the tambourine and derbouka. These verbal exchanges evoke the beauty of Lebanon, the importance of tolerance, dialogue between communities and religions. Poetic jousts serve as a safety valve and play an important role in resolving conflicts and strengthening social cohesion. In its evaluation, the Subsidiary Body found that all the criteria were satisfied. The Body found that the nomination adequately demonstrated how the Lebanese people recognized
Al-Zajal as its intangible cultural heritage, which – through its ability to bring communities with various political and religious sensitivities together – confers to them a sense of cultural identity and continuity. The Body was also convinced of the potential of the element’s inscription to foster dialogue and promote respect for cultural diversity. The nomination also contained adequate information on the implemented safeguarding measures or those designed to protect and promote the element. The joint efforts of the Ministry of Culture and the two NGOs representing Al-Zajal poets were described in the elaboration of the safeguarding measures as a whole, and provided evidence of free, prior and informed consent from a large number of players. In addition, the Body found an adequate description of the steps that led to the inscription of Al-Zajal on the national register of intangible cultural heritage established by the Ministry of Culture, as well as evidence of its inscription. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of
Al-Zajal, recited or sung poetry on the Representative List.
687.Thanking the Vice-Chair of the Subsidiary Body, the Vice-Chair proceeded with the adoption of the draft decision on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. With no forthcoming comments or amendments, paragraph 1 was duly adopted.
688.The delegation of Côte d’Ivoire wished to maintain the working method previously adopted. Initially, the paragraphs were adopted paragraph-by-paragraph, but when there were no amendments proposed, the decision was adopted as a whole.
689.The Vice-Chairthanked Côte d’Ivoire for its intervention and thus turned to the adoption of the draft decision as a whole. With no objections, the Vice-Chair declared adopted Decision 9.COM 10.25 to inscribe Al-Zajal, recited or sung poetry on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
690.The delegation of Lebanon spoke of its great honour and warmly thanked the Committee for its decision. It also thanked UNESCO and the Secretariat, adding that it was at the initiative of UNESCO and the partnership created among Mediterranean countries with the MEDLIHER project, which resulted in the inscription of its first element on the Representative List. The concept of intangible cultural heritage and its safeguard was new in Lebanon in that there was no legislation to define communities or to determine the intellectual property rights of heritage for the practitioners. It was thanks to these individuals, groups and communities that the country had embarked on a law-making action in this regard. Thus, legislation had been developed to take into account the new intangible cultural heritage concepts and the need for safeguarding. Similarly, a reorganization of the Ministry of Culture included a sub-directorate for intangible cultural heritage. The delegation spoke of its pride in the country’s rich and varied tangible and intangible heritage, whose origins were lost in history. Al-Zajal is an ancient practice rooted in Lebanese folk tradition. Its inscription would give the Lebanese people a sense of special pride, and would generate interest and awareness of the value of intangible cultural heritage, and not only in the spaces where these traditions were expressed but also in the transmission of this heritage in the collective memory of the people. Lebanon remained firmly convinced that the safeguarding of its intangible heritage involved establishing and maintaining strong partnerships with other Member States. It therefore relied on the formidable international cooperation mechanism that the Convention facilitated in the safeguarding of the intangible heritage of humanity.
691.The Vice-Chair congratulated Lebanon for its first inscription on the Representative List.
692.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body turned to the next nomination on Tchopa, sacrificial dance of the Lhomwe people of southern Malawi [draft decision 9.COM 10.26] submitted by Malawi. Tchopa is a performing art practised among Lhomwe communities in southern Malawi. The dance is usually performed during celebrations after good harvests and successful hunting trips and during offerings to ancestral spirits after calamities such as droughts and outbreaks of disease. Knowledge and skills for the dance are transmitted during practice sessions and occasional performances. Tchopa dance strengthens social cohesion among Lhomwe communities with members providing mutual support in times of need, such as during ill health and bereavement, and participates in communal labour in the field. In its evaluation, the Subsidiary Body found that all the criteria were satisfied. It found that the nomination demonstrated in a clear and reasoned manner that Tchopa fulfilled many functions for the Lhomwe community while strengthening its cohesion and nurturing its spiritual life. Regarding R.2, the Body found that the information provided showed how potential inscription would raise the capacity of intangible cultural heritage to serve as a factor of social cohesion. The nomination also provided a clear overview of the safeguarding measures that were focused on transmission and the promotion of Tchopa in the communities. The respective responsibilities of the various actors involved in their implementation, including the communities themselves, were also adequately defined. The nomination also contained the required evidence of the free, prior and informed consent of the communities, traditional authorities and associations, and the inscription of the element on the inventory of intangible cultural heritage of Malawi in 2010 was also demonstrated. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of Tchopa, sacrificial dance of the Lhomwe people of southern Malawi on the Representative List.
693.With no forthcoming comments or amendments, the Vice-Chair proceeded with the adoption of the draft decision as a whole. With no objections, the Vice-Chairperson declared adopted Decision 9.COM 10.26 to inscribe Tchopa, sacrificial dance of the Lhomwe people of southern Malawi on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
694.The delegation of Malawi thanked the Committee for upholding the decision of the Subsidiary Body. With this inscription, Malawi now had three elements on the Representative List, as well as achieving regional balance at national level, as the two previously inscribed elements were from communities in the northern and central regions; an important aspect in Malawi’s context. The delegation thanked the Secretariat for its invaluable guidance on the technical requirements, urging the Committee to ensure that the Secretariat continued this important stage of the process of dealing with nominations, despite the additional workload. The delegation felt that this preliminary examination and guidance was essential as it was directed at a specific nomination and helped the submitting State correct inadequacies in the information provided. It also served as a learning process, contributing to the development of capacity and confidence in the nominating State, as well as communities on how to elaborate future nominations. It also acknowledged the generous support of Belgium through the Flanders Funds-in-Trust, which continued to support a project on strengthening capacities for implementing the Convention in some countries in Southern Africa, and Malawi was grateful to be among the beneficiaries. This project enabled the regional facilitator to train members of a number of communities in Malawi, including the Lhomwe community, when inventorying and documenting intangible cultural heritage. The results of the project included an inventory compiled by the Lhomwe community themselves, which included Tchopa dances. In fact, as a result of this project, five files had been elaborated with the participation of communities throughout Malawi. The delegation added that the other four files would be submitted over the next four cycles.
695.The Vice-Chair presented his warmest congratulations to Malawi.
696.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala [draft decision 9.COM 10.27] submitted by Mali. The coming forth of the masks and puppets is a ritual festivity practised among the Markala communities. During the dry season, young neophytes participate in the rites that take place in a sacred wood next to the Niger River and is characterised by dances with masks and puppets. Each mask and puppet symbolizes the sacred link between man and nature, with particular animals incarnating specific virtues of society. The ritual illustrates the cohesion, dialogue, tolerance and continuity of the plural cultural identities of the Markala communities and neighbouring villages. In its evaluation, the Subsidiary Body found that all the criteria were satisfied. It was recalled that the nomination had first been presented to the Committee during its seventh session in 2012 and had been referred to the submitting State for additional information in criterion R.4, notably on measures taken to ensure compliance with customary practices that restrict access to certain parts of the element. Although the submitting State introduced changes in the new nomination for the criteria that had been deemed satisfied, they were considered mainly stylistic. The Body therefore focused primarily on the information regarding the referred R.4, deciding to maintain the same formulation as provided in Decision 7.COM 11.20 for the criteria that had already been satisfied in 2012. The Body found that the new information in R.4 sufficiently explained the State’s commitment to ensuring that inscription did not affect the continuity of the ritual practices and ensured respect for customary practices governing access to sacred and profane knowledge and know-how associated with this practice. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of Coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala on the Representative List.
697.The Vice-Chair proceeded with the adoption of the draft decision as a whole, and with no forthcoming comments or objections, declared adopted Decision 9.COM 10.27 to inscribe Coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
698.The delegation of Mali praised the Chairperson for his difficult but exciting task, which up until now had obtained satisfactory results. The delegation thanked the Secretariat for its efforts that led to the successful organization of this meeting and the various exchanges that continued to be established with States Parties in the preparation of periodic reports and nomination files. It thanked the Subsidiary Body for its objective reviews and in-depth analyses of the nominated elements, and expressed gratitude to the Committee for accepting the element on the Representative List. This inscription was the culmination of hard work and the effective participation of Markala communities who were now filled with joy. In addition, the element was a unifying factor in promoting peace and intercultural dialogue. Moreover, it was one thing to inscribe an element but quite another to initiate and maintain daily actions that contributed toward the safeguarding and promotion of the element under anthropogenic and natural threats. Mali would spare no effort to initiate actions to safeguard and promote this element in the implementation of the Convention and the fulfilment of its commitments.
699.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body turned to the next nomination on Traditional Mauritian Sega [draft decision 9.COM 10.28] submitted by Mauritius. Traditional Mauritian Sega Tipik is an emblematic performing art of the Creole community. Each soloist improvises lyrics while a frame drum, box rattle and triangle keep time and produce the rhythmic beat. Dancers move their hips and hands using short steps to manoeuvre around each other. Practitioners transmit their skills both formally and informally through participation and imitation. Sega can be performed by all the members of the community and contributes towards unifying the various groups around a shared Mauritian heritage. In its evaluation, the Subsidiary Body found that all the criteria were satisfied. In clearly and precisely describing the various components of the Mauritian sega and its modes of inter-generational transmission, the nomination demonstrated that the element constituted intangible cultural heritage, providing Mauritians with a strong sense of identity and continuity, while playing a central role in building a highly multicultural society. By focusing on dialogue between the migrant cultures from where the Mauritian sega was born, the nomination also convincingly demonstrated that inscription would contribute towards a better understanding of the importance of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage to promote intercultural dialogue. The various safeguarding measures proposed were coherent and focused on the transmission, documentation, recognition and promotion of Sega Tipik. The safeguarding activities, in particular the different government programmes, were supported by the State. The Body noted that the proposed safeguarding measures had been prepared with care and consistency to ensure the transmission and documentation of the practice. Both the active participation of the different actors involved in the Mauritian sega in the nomination process and its inscription in the national inventory were also satisfactorily demonstrated. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of Traditional Mauritian Sega on the Representative List.
700.The Vice-Chair proceeded with the adoption of the draft decision as a whole, and with no forthcoming comments or objections, declared adopted Decision 9.COM 10.28 to inscribe Traditional Mauritian Sega on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
701.The delegation of Mauritius, represented by Mr Mookhesswur Choonee, Minister of Arts and Culture, expressed its sincere thanks to the Subsidiary Body, the Committee and the Secretariat for its great support in its first inscription on the Representative List. The delegation added that it was a recognition of its ancestors’ living traditions transmitted from generation to generation. It particularly honoured the memory of its ancestors of African descent, which came at an opportune time to coincide with the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015–2024), the General History of Africa project, and the Commemoration of the 180th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Mauritius on 1 February 2015. This nomination would thus help reinforce its national identity and contribute towards further promoting intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and sustainable development. Mauritius, its artists in particular, and the communities were fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the traditional Sega for coming generations. This first nomination was testimony to the continuous efforts by the Mauritian government and its people to the cause of intangible cultural heritage. The delegation concluded by quoting the UNESCO Director-General in her address to the sixth session of the Committee in Bali, ‘intangible cultural heritage is our bridge from the past to the future’.
702.The Vice-Chair thanked the Minister for having honoured the Committee with his presence, congratulating Mauritius again on its first inscription and its continuous efforts for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.
703.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting [draft decision 9.COM 10.29] submitted by Mongolia. Knuckle-bone shooting is a popular Mongol game played in teams of six to eight players who flick thirty domino-like marble tablets on a smooth wooden surface towards a target of sheep knuckle-bones, aiming to knock them into a target zone. Each shooter possesses their own shooting tools and instruments, and wears costumes embossed with distinguished characteristics depending on their rank and merits. The tradition brings team members from different backgrounds closer together, encourages their interaction and respect towards elders and one another, and improves their social cohesion. It was recalled that the nomination had been recommended for referral in 2012 but had been withdrawn by the submitting State before its evaluation by the Committee. The Body thus evaluated the nomination in its entirety and found that it demonstrated that all criteria were satisfied. Indeed, the information showed that knuckle-bone shooting was recognized as part of Mongol intangible cultural heritage by each village or provincial team in a spirit of mutual respect and social cohesion. The nomination also provided sufficient information to find that its inscription would contribute to greater awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage as a resource for ethics education and social cohesion. The proposed safeguarding measures appeared appropriately designed to protect and promote knuckle-bone shooting nationwide. The participation of practitioners and governmental and non-governmental institutions in every step of a long nomination process was adequately demonstrated, as well as its inscription on the National Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting on the Representative List.
704.The Vice-Chair proceeded with the adoption of the draft decision as a whole, and with no forthcoming comments or objections, declared adopted Decision 9.COM10.29 to inscribe Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
705.The delegation of Mongolia thanked the Committee and experts for their unanimous decision to inscribe the element on the Representative List. It also wished to convey the gratitude of the community of Mongolian knuckle-bone players to the Secretariat and the Subsidiary Body for their hard work and positive recommendation. The representatives of the European Community of the Mongolian knuckle-bone players were present in person to thank and express their respect to the Committee. Knuckle-bone shooting is an expression of Mongolian nomadism and one of team-based games of Mongolia practised over the centuries. It is not only about knuckle-bone shooting, but a combination of rituals, knowledge, skills, techniques, traditional melodies and songs associated with the game, which were transmitted through apprenticeship. This game provided a favourable environment in which each member contributed to the team’s success, social well-being and development by supporting and learning from each other. The tradition brought team members from different backgrounds closer together, and encouraged interaction and respect towards the elderly and improved social cohesion. Inscription was the recognition of its identity, continuity and survival through the centuries, which contributed towards living in peace and harmony with nature, and fostering friendship among communities. The delegation was confident that its inscription would contribute towards increasing the visibility of intangible cultural heritage for ethics education and social cohesion, and thus promote intergenerational dialogue through safeguarding measures.
706.The Vice-Chair thanked Mongolia for the way it approached the nomination and its efforts following the referral to rework the file, by taking the advice of the Subsidiary Body to heart and re-submitting the file again to the Committee.
707.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Practices and know-how concerning the argan tree [draft decision 9.COM 10.30] submitted by Morocco. Rural women and, to a lesser extent, men living in the Arganeraie Biospehere Reserve practice traditional methods to extract argan oil from the fruit of the tree. This oil has multiple uses for cooking, medicines and cosmetics, and is given as a wedding gift. All the cultural aspects of the argan tree, including the cultivation of the tree, oil extraction, the preparation of recipes and derived products, and the crafting of traditional tools for the various tasks are transmitted by means of imitation and through non-formal education. In its evaluation, the Subsidiary Body found that all the criteria were satisfied. The Body found that the nomination clearly and comprehensively demonstrated that the practices and know-how related to the Argan tree were recognized by the bearers, mostly women, not only as a valuable source of livelihood but as a fundamental component of their cultural heritage, which contributed to the local economy and ecological sustainability. The nomination also demonstrated that the inscription of an element whose practice is based on a close relationship with the environment could contribute to greater awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage for the conservation of the natural environment, enriching the concept of sustainability. The proposed safeguarding measures reflected the will of the State Party to safeguard the practices and know-how related to the argan tree, as well as those proposed by the practitioners, appeared to be appropriately designed to promote them nationally and internationally, and to establish appropriate legal frameworks while strengthening their role in sustainable development. The Body also found detailed information demonstrating the broad participation and involvement of the communities. The Body particularly appreciated the description of the role played by the researchers who provided support to the communities, working with them during the nomination process. Finally, evidence of the inscription of the element in the national inventory of Morocco was sufficient. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of Practices and know-how concerning the argan tree on the Representative List.
708.The Vice-Chair opened the floor for comment.
709.Having consulted with experts, the delegation of Turkey found that argan was not only the name of the tree but, among the people of Morocco, was very broadly recognized to define the entire ritual. It therefore believed that ‘Argan’ could be inserted at the beginning of the title name, i.e. ‘Argan, practices and know-how concerning the argan tree’, as it was more representative of the element and would also add visibility to this very important element.
710.The Vice-Chair thanked Turkey for its proposal, and noting no objections, proposed to move to the adoption of the draft decision as a whole, which included the amendment by Turkey.
711.Supporting the proposal by Turkey, the delegation of Brazil remarked that the change needed to be reflected when the Committee decided to inscribe.
712.The Vice-Chair thanked Brazil for its relevant remark, adding that the title would also be introduced in the third paragraph.
713.As the change concerned the title itself, the delegation of Latvia found it relevant to hear the opinion of the submitting State as to whether this change was acceptable.
714.The delegation of Morocco accepted the amendment by Turkey.
715.With no further comments or amendments, the Vice-Chair proceeded with the adoption of the draft decision as a whole, and declared adopted Decision 9.COM 10.30 to inscribe Argan, practices and know-how concerning the argan tree on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
716.The delegation of Morocco welcomed the inscription of the element, adding that argan was endemic to Morocco, dating back to the Tertiary period and closely linked to the landscape and culture of the people in the central southwest of the country. Mentioned by the chroniclers in the Middle Ages, the practices and know-how related to the argan tree were transmitted from generation to generation among the communities in the region, particularly through women. According to the bearers, seven processes were required to obtain this prodigious oil, which had multiple uses from consumption to cosmetics. The delegation wished to express its warmest thanks to the Committee for this inscription in addition to the five elements already on the Representative List. It also thanked the Subsidiary Body and the Secretariat for their serious examination of the nomination. It was particularly sensitive to the Subsidiary Body’s appreciation of the Moroccan contribution to the visibility of women whose role was so central in the preservation and transmission of skills and knowledge related to the argan tree. The delegation also wished to congratulate all the partners involved in the preparation of this nomination file, as well as those involved in the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage linked to the argan, especially the ‘arganières’ women and their regional cooperatives, communities and NGOs, the Ministry of Culture, the High Commissioner for Water and Forests and the Combat against Desertification, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Research and Protection of the Argan Tree, and the National Development Agency of Oases Zones and the Arganeraie. The delegation was committed to safeguarding the practices and know-how related to the argan tree, as stated in the safeguarding plan, starting with the protection of the tree itself. The partners involved in the preparation of the nomination would thus work together to ensure its safeguard.
717.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body turned to the next nomination on Practices and expressions of joking relationships in Niger [draft decision 9.COM 10.31] submitted by Niger. Joking relationships are a social practice performed among ethnolinguistic communities, groups and individuals to promote fraternity, solidarity and conviviality. The members have a duty to tell each other the truth, to joke together and to pool their respective assets, knowing that any dispute must be settled peacefully. Transmitted informally from generation to generation, joking relationships are a tool for reconciliation and peace-building and promote the cohesion and stability of families, ethnic groups and communities. In its evaluation, the Subsidiary Body found that all the criteria were satisfied. It was recalled that the nomination had been presented to the Committee at its seventh session in 2012 and had been referred to the submitting State for additional information in criteria R.1, R. 2 and R.3. The Body found that the nomination demonstrated that ‘joking relationships’ included a set of practices that weave social links between communities and was recognized as a vehicle for shared values of solidarity and non-violence. The Body found that the nomination had now provided enough information to determine that the inscription of an element, focusing on values and principles of reconciliation between communities, could promote dialogue and promote mutual respect and cultural diversity at the local, national, sub-regional and regional levels. The Body also found detailed safeguarding measures in the nomination that covered both traditional modes of transmission and more institutionalized modes, and that they were likely to contribute towards the preservation and promotion of the practice. However, the Body wished to invite the State Party, through the Committee, to focus more on the practices and expressions specific to the joking relationships during the implementation of the many listed safeguarding measures, and ensure the full involvement of the bearer communities. This was the meaning behind paragraph 4 of the draft decision. Although the State had chosen to slightly revise the information in criteria R.4 and R.5, which had already been satisfied by the Committee, the Body remained convinced of the participation of traditional leaders and other authorities in the elaboration process of the resubmitted nomination, as well as the inscription of the element in the national inventory administered by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of Practices and expressions of joking relationships in Niger on the Representative List.
718.With no forthcoming comments or objections, the Vice-Chair proceeded with the adoption of the draft decision as a whole and declared adopted Decision 9.COM 10.31 to inscribe Practices and expressions of joking relationships in Niger on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
719.The Vice-Chair invited Niger to take the floor.
720.The Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure of Niger spoke of the delegation’s great joy and emotion in expressing its profound gratitude to the Committee and Subsidiary Body for the excellent work done on the inscription of the element on the Representative List. He added that the inscription of the element, which conveyed the values of peace, brotherhood, solidarity, integration and tolerance, would further contribute to its promotion but also its transmission to younger generations. He reiterated its commitment to strengthen the safeguarding measures of this ancient practice, but also to take appropriate action in implementing the recommendations by the Committee. The joking relationship was practised everywhere around the world, and was why Niger encouraged and invited other countries to synergize actions in favour of this valued practice. The Minister congratulated UNESCO for its continued efforts in promoting cultural heritage, a factor of sustainable development for all communities.
721.The Vice-Chair thanked the Minister for his encouragement, congratulating the delegation once again for its inscription and for its efforts in safeguarding cultural intangible heritage.
722.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body turned to the next nomination on