Al-Ayyala, a traditional performing art of the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates [draft decision 9.COM 10.33] submitted by Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Al-Ayyala is a popular and expressive cultural performance practised in north-western Oman and throughout the United Arab Emirates during weddings and other religious and national festivities. Al-Ayyala involves chanted poetry, drum music and dance, and simulates a battle scene. Two rows of men face each other, carrying thin bamboo sticks. The men move their heads and sticks synchronously with the drum rhythm and chant poetic lyrics, while other performers move around the rows holding swords or guns, which they hurl to the sky and catch. The lead performer is usually an inherited role and is responsible for training other performers. It was recalled that the nomination was first presented to the Committee during its seventh session in 2012 and had been referred to the submitting States for additional information in criteria R.4 and R .5. Changes introduced by the submitting States on criteria already satisfied were mainly editorial in nature. Therefore, the formulations in the draft decision in criteria R.1, R.2 and R.3 were virtually identical to those already adopted by the Committee in 2012. The evaluation thus focused on the referred criteria. This time, the Body found that the resubmitted nomination contained sufficient information on the nomination process and provided evidence of free, prior and informed consent of dozens of practitioners from both submitting States; their support was also expressed in the accompanying video. In addition, the nomination satisfactorily demonstrated there were no customary practices that restricted access to certain aspects of this traditional art. Regarding criterion R.5, evidence was provided that demonstrated the inscription of the element on both the inventory of intangible cultural heritage of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and that the nomination provided sufficient information on the elaboration process of these inventories to comply with Article 11 and Article 12 of the Convention. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of Al-Ayyala, a traditional performing art of the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates on the Representative List.
723.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 10.33 to inscribe Al-Ayyala, a traditional performing art of the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
724.The delegation of Oman spoke of its delight to have the element inscribed, congratulating the practitioners of Al-Ayyala. Indeed, thanks to the good preparation of this file, the delegation was able to count on the participation of all stakeholders, practitioners, academics and the communities that practice this element. Working together on the file, the delegation spoke of how research was conducted in order to develop some training programmes to guarantee the transmission of knowledge of Al-Ayyala. It thanked all those who took part in this process, as well as the Subsidiary Body, the Secretariat, and the Committee. It was grateful for the assistance of the Secretariat during the preparation of this file, and congratulated the States that also had elements inscribed.
725.The delegation of United Arab Emirates echoed the remarks by Oman in expressing its happiness and gratitude for the inscription of this joint element. It thanked the Committee and the Subsidiary Body for inscribing the element on the Representative List, as well as the Secretariat for providing assistance and advice whenever needed. The delegation remarked that this was an important performing art in the two countries, and was a symbol of joy, and it would have liked to have a troupe of Al-Ayyala perform to the Committee, perhaps at a future session. The element was widespread in the two countries and was practised by all levels of society whenever there was a special event people would gather around this element in order to express their feelings. Since the beginning of the Convention, the United Arab Emirates had thought of the Al-Ayyala and looked for a partner State, which came about very naturally because it had so many commonalities with the Sultanate of Oman, and thus it was able to inscribe a third element. The delegation also had on-going nominations with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and others countries, as it really sought to focus on the links between countries and to this common heritage. Indeed, there existed cultural dialogue in the region as countries assisted each other when submitting files, which demonstrated a real spirit of cooperation and solidarity. It hoped that countries that had been unsuccessful during the present session would achieve success in a later session. The delegation concluded by saying that the Committee needed to preserve this joyful dimension and the sharing of happy moments, which was part of the Convention and represented the cultural lives of countries. The delegation congratulated the local communities in the two countries, and thanked all those with whom it had cooperated.
726.The Vice-Chair conveyed warm thanks to both submitting States for their commitment to the Convention and their perseverance in putting this file forward. On behalf of the Committee, the Vice-Chair conveyed thanks to the Secretariat for having assisted both submitting parties.
727.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body turned to the next nomination on Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno [draft decision 9.COM 10.34] submitted by Peru. The Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria, celebrated every February in the city of Puno, draw on Catholic traditions and symbolic elements of the Andean worldview of local Quechua and Aymara ethnic groups. A liturgical act leads into a religious procession as the image of the Virgin is carried aloft along the village streets. Rehearsals and crafts workshops by three associations of practitioners are the places where these traditional skills are passed on to younger generations. In its evaluation, the Subsidiary Body found that all the criteria were satisfied. Indeed, the information provided in the nomination convincingly demonstrated that the Festivity of the Virgen de la Candelaria constituted intangible cultural heritage for the communities of the Quechua and Aymara in the Puno region, who were fully mobilized in the organization of the religious, festive and cultural activities, displaying a shared sense of continuity and belonging. The Body also found that the nomination adequately demonstrated the link between the inscription of the element and the awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage in general, notably due to its openness and innovation, and sense of intercultural and inter-community dialogue. The current safeguarding measures to safeguard and promote the Feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria were concretely described and reflected a combination of will and commitment from both the submitting State at the local, regional and national levels, and the communities concerned. The nomination also demonstrated the participation of a wide range of government and civil actors in all stages in the elaboration of the nomination process, and had provided their free, prior and informed consent. The information provided on the process that led to the declaration of the Virgen de la Candelaria in Puno as ‘Cultural Heritage of the Nation’ was deemed sufficient to conclude that the element was inscribed in an inventory of intangible cultural heritage in accordance with the internal procedures in Peru. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno on the Representative List.
728.The Vice-Chairthanked the Vice-Chair of the Subsidiary Body for the summary of the debates. Before moving to the draft decision, the Vice-Chair informed the Committee that extensive consultations had taken place between Bolivia and Peru in order to facilitate consensus in the adoption of the draft decision. He was very happy to report that the concerned parties had successfully concluded their consultations. Draft decision 9.COM 10.34 thus incorporated two additional paragraphs that was submitted to the Committee for its consideration. The Vice-Chair congratulated both delegations for their efforts, and trusted that the Committee would agree to adopt the draft decision as a whole. The Committee was asked to take note of the amended paragraphs 4 and 5.
729.The delegation of Brazil expressed its full support for the consensual solution found by the delegations concerned, and was extremely happy to see this nomination inscribed on the Representative List, adding that it was also an honour for all the countries in the region. It also thanked Peru for the very beautiful music presentation the previous day by the singer Tamaris from Puno.
730.The delegation of Egypt endorsed the statement by Brazil and the draft decision, and commended both delegations for this compromise, which reflected the spirit of the Convention, adding that it would like this approach to be applied to all similar nominations.
731.The delegation of Turkey welcomed the mutual solution attained by Peru and Bolivia, and was happy to endorse the amendments. It wished to highlight that this was yet another example demonstrating the need to promote multinational files in order to bridge cross-boundary cultures and concentrate on the common goal of demonstrating diversity, which was not a dividing but a uniting element. The Convention was thus the ideal tool to demonstrate this to the rest of the world and to other multilateral platforms. In order to avoid a spirit of competition and exclusion, the delegation believed that the Committee needs to send a strong message at the end of its session to promote multinational files, and even consider having an expert meeting on this aspect of the Convention on how to find solutions when faced with challenges caused by the difficulties in preparing multinational files.
732.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 10.34 to inscribe Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
733.The delegation of Peru spoke of the eruption of western civilization to the coastal lowland deserts, the high Andean mountains and valleys and the deep Amazonian jungles that brought about desperation and extreme livelihood changes. But at the same time, a dim light of hope manifested in the incarnation of divinity in images and cults that people in these regions regarded as their own. Traditional cults and ritual practices were syncretized, mixed and combined with a new and foreign faith expressed in multiple cultural manifestations, and hope had been found side-by-side with misery, reconciliation and exploitation. The delegation explained that it was quite difficult for rational people to understand the real meaning behind the festivities of the Virgin of Candelaria of Puno as it implied understanding of a symbolic value that populations aspire to in the search for hope and celebration, whether in Puno, the region of Candelaria or the entire Andean region. Before Christian faith laid roots in these places, the ‘Mama Pacha’ as it is called in the local language, conceived the female figure as the source of life and fertility. The Andean virgins give continuity to these beliefs, adapting and syncretizing the values represented in the figure of the Virgin mother in Catholic liturgy with European traditions where the Virgin is a protective mother. The delegation, the peoples of Puno, and the Ministry of Culture of Peru expressed its deep gratitude to the Committee for the opportunity to bring this exceptional cultural expression to a world forum, and to the many organized religious and cultural communities in Puno that with dedication put together an impeccable nomination file.
734.The Vice-Chair thanked the Vice-Minister of Culture, congratulating him once again on the inscription, as well as the community of Puno.
735.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body turned to the next nomination on Cante Alentejano, polyphonic singing from Alentejo, southern Portugal [draft decision 9.COM 10.35] submitted by Portugal. Cante Alentejano is a genre of traditional two-part singing performed by amateur choral groups in southern Portugal characterized by distinctive melodies, lyrics and vocal styles, and performed without instrumentation. Existing or recently composed melodies accompany a vast repertoire of traditional poems that address traditional and contemporary themes. It permeates social gatherings in both public and private spaces, reinforcing dialogue between different generations, genders and individuals from different backgrounds, thereby contributing to social cohesion. In its evaluation, the Subsidiary Body was unanimous on the quality of the nomination and thus found that all the criteria were satisfied. The Body found that the nomination clearly demonstrated that the Cante Alentejano was representative of intangible heritage in the region, reaffirming a sense of belonging and emotional connection to the Alentejo community. The Body was also convinced of the explanation provided in the nomination of its possible contribution towards a broader awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage as a vehicle of sustainable development and the promotion of the diversity of polyphonic singing traditions. The nomination clearly described the many safeguarding measures to protect and promote Cante Alentejano, which documented the will and firm commitment of the State and the choirs to implement them within the stated timetable. The description of the nomination process demonstrated that the community and groups concerned had, from the outset, been actively involved, and their free, prior and informed consent came not only for the submission of the nomination but also for the implementation of the proposed safeguarding measures. The Body also found satisfactory evidence of the inclusion of Cante Alentejano in the databases of the Casa do Cante and e-Museu do Património Cultural imaterial. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of Cante Alentejano, polyphonic singing from Alentejo, southern Portugal on the Representative List and suggested to the Committee to add this nomination to the list of files considered as good examples.
736.The Vice-Chair noted the very clear opinion from the Subsidiary Body.
737.The delegation of Brazil expressed its happiness with this nomination, adding that it was fond of its Portuguese heritage and as such was as emotional as the Portuguese people.
738.The Vice-Chair concurred that this was indeed an exemplary nomination. With no further comments or objections, the Vice-Chair proceeded with the adoption of the draft decision as a whole and declared adopted Decision 9.COM 10.35 to inscribe Cante Alentejano, polyphonic singing from Alentejo, southern Portugal on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
739.The delegation of Portugal welcomed the decision to inscribe the element on the Representative List, thanking the Committee for the joy and pride it had brought to all those who supported the inscription. The international recognition of Cante Alentejano, which joined Fado on the Representative List, was mostly a project led by the men and women of Alentejo who inhabit the vast expanses of southern Portugal, and for whom polyphonic song was an important element of identity and social cohesion. This consecration was also an important step in the protection, enhancement and transmission of this unique heritage, contributing to cultural diversity and universal objectives, which are at the heart of the Convention. Cante Alentejano is a song of work, solidarity and fraternity, and a reference to peace and dialogue, the crossroads of cultures and different populations. Recognition by UNESCO was thus meaningful as it shared the same universal values, which must be promoted and defended against intolerance, war and hatred that threaten our common future. The delegation reiterated its gratitude to the Committee and to all those who worked for the exemplary success of this nomination.
[Performance of Cante Alentejano]
740.The Vice-Chair thanked the delegation of Portugal for the magnificent demonstration of polyphonic chants that lifted the spirits, expressing thanks once more for having brought forward this exemplary nomination file.
741.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body turned to the next nomination on Nongak, community band music, dance and rituals in the Republic of Korea [draft decision 9.COM 10.36] submitted by the Republic of Korea. Nongak is a popular performing art of the Republic of Korea, combining a percussion ensemble and sometimes wind instruments, parading, dancing, drama and acrobatic feats. It is practised to appease gods, chase evil spirits, pray for a rich harvest in spring and during autumn festivals for fund-raising for community projects, enhancing solidarity and cooperation in the community and establishing a sense of shared identity among community members. The public becomes familiar with Nongak through observation and participation in its performances, while community groups and educational institutions play an important role in teaching and transmitting the different components. The Subsidiary Body was unanimous on the quality of this nomination and easily concluded that it clearly demonstrated that all five criteria were satisfied. The Body concluded that the nomination was clear, precise and richly detailed demonstrating that Nongak, through its inherent creativity and vitality, has aptly evolved over time and adapted to the contemporary culture, while constituting an element of intangible cultural heritage that functioned as a vector of social cohesion. The information provided in the nomination also showed that, besides the obvious effect of international recognition, Nongak’s inscription could help promote greater awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage to promote dialogue between practitioners across different generations and communities, while illustrating the ability of intangible cultural heritage to adapt to cultural and social changes. The nomination provided a particularly strong safeguarding plan, affording special attention to the possible consequences of its inscription on the Representative List, such as over-commercialization or tourist exploitation. In addition, the nomination described the different stages in the elaboration of the nomination, clearly demonstrating the active involvement of the practitioners in each of them in close collaboration with their representatives and those of local governments. Finally, the nomination satisfactorily demonstrated how several variants of Nongak had been included in the national inventory of intangible cultural heritage. The Subsidiary Body thus concluded by recommending the inscription of Nongak, community band music, dance and rituals in the Republic of Korea on the Representative List, adding that it was one of the good examples selected by the Committee.
[The Chairperson resumed his role]
742.With no forthcoming comments or objections, the Chairperson proceeded with the adoption of the draft decision as a whole and declared adopted Decision 9.COM10.36 to inscribe Nongak, community band music, dance and rituals in the Republic of Korea on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
743.The delegation of the Republic of Korea expressed its deepest gratitude to the Committee for its valuable support in inscribing Nongak on the Representative List, especially the Subsidiary Body for its hard work in evaluating the nomination file. Nongak community band music, dance and rituals plays a significant role in the cohesion and cooperation of Korean communities, passed from generation to generation, enriching the cultural diversity of Korea with its regional variations of styles, rhythms and lyrics. Today, Nongak enjoys the status as an independent channel of performing folk arts in the country. The delegation invited the delegates to enjoy a performance of Nongak by bearers of five different local communities who came especially to perform at UNESCO.
[Performance of Nongak]
744.The Chairperson congratulated the Republic of Korea for this inscription.
745.The Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body turned to the next nomination on Alardhah Alnajdiyah, Saudi Arabia dance, drumming and poetry [draft decision 9.COM 10.38] submitted by Saudi Arabia. Alardhah Alnajdiyah is a performing art practised at social events throughout Saudi Arabia. During the performance, a ‘warmonger’ with a loud, sonorous and strong voice encourages poets to compose and recite verses that aim to inspire unity, enthusiasm and courage among the crowd. The poet is carried on the shoulders of the people for the recitation, which is accompanied by drumming and dances. If the poet fails, he gets down and another poet is raised up. In its evaluation, the Subsidiary Body found that the nomination demonstrated that R.5 criterion was satisfied but not criteria R.1, R.2, R.3 and R.4. Indeed, the Body found that the nomination had demonstrated that the element was inscribed in the local inventory of intangible cultural heritage (R.5). However, concerning R.1, the Body found that the nomination did not contain sufficiently clear or detailed information to determine the nature and scope of the element, the context of its practice, nor the contours of the communities who recognized it as intangible cultural heritage. Although the video could not substitute the text of the file, the Body could not find clarification on this criterion, as the video only presented one staged show. Additionally, information provided in criterion R.2 seemed too general or repetitive and was limited to explaining how inscription might encourage the submitting State to safeguard intangible cultural heritage. The nomination had not shown how the inscription of the item on the Representative List met the requirements of R.2, as specified in the nomination form. The Body also found that the safeguarding measures were not sufficiently detailed or described in a concrete way to conclude that their objective was to ensure the viability of Alardhah. The majority of the proposed measures related to the safeguarding of traditional music and art in general and not specifically to the element proposed for inscription. The absence of clear and practical information on both the safeguarding measures and the role of national institutions in their implementation did not allow the Body to conclude that these measures will actually safeguard the nominated element (R.3). The Body took note of the consent provided by folk groups and practitioners. However, the Body was responsible for evaluating, as requested by the criterion R.4, whether the element nominated had the widest possible participation of the communities. In this regard, it had encountered two major issues. Firstly, in the absence of an adequate description of the communities concerned, the Body was unable to determine the extent to which the consent provided was sufficiently representative of the communities in question, particularly as the documents did not correspond to the communities identified in the form. Secondly, the description of the process of elaboration of the nomination file did not clearly demonstrate whether there was sufficiently broad participation, especially as the file itself indicated that the element was ‘one of the most famous national habits in Saudi Arabia’. Finally, the nomination made repeated reference to the warrior character of Alardhah in each criterion. Although this did not refute the nature of the element as intangible cultural heritage, it raised a lot of questions about the pertinence of a cultural expression with these characteristics inscribed on the Representative List that provided its listed element with international visibility. Once again, the Body referred to previous Committee decisions, recalling Decision 5.COM 6, which requires that States ‘in case of proposals of elements containing references to war or conflict or specific historical events, the nomination should be developed with great care to avoid provoking misunderstanding’. In addition to the major problems encountered in criteria R.1, R.2, R.3 and R.4, the Body was of the opinion that the nomination had not taken into account the special care required with regard to these aspects. Based on these findings, the Subsidiary Body concluded not to recommend the inscription of Alardhah Alnajdiyah, Saudi Arabia dance, drumming and poetry on the Representative List, while paragraph 6 of the draft decision echoed the decision already taken by the Committee in 2010.