8 com ith/13 com/4 Paris, 4 September 2013 Original: English

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Paris, 4 September 2013

Original: English



Eighth session

Baku, Azerbaijan

2 to 7 December 2013

Item 4 of the Provisional Agenda:

Adoption of the summary records of the seventh session of the Committee

Decision required: paragraph 2

1. This document contains the summary records of the seventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, from 3 to 7 December 2012.

2. The Committee may wish to adopt the following decision:


The Committee,

1. Having examined document ITH/13/8.COM/4,

2. Adopts the summary records of the Committee’s seventh session contained in this document.


  1. The seventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was held from 3 to 7 December 2012 in Paris, France, at UNESCO Headquarters.

  2. Delegations from 24 States Members of the Committee attended the session: Albania, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Grenada, Indonesia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, Tunisia, Uganda and Uruguay.

  3. The attendees were as follows:

  1. Delegations from 50 States Parties not Members of the Committee: Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lithuania, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

  2. Delegations from three States non Party to the Convention, Associate Members, Permanent Observer Missions: Angola, Bahrain, Canada, Finland, Germany, Israel, Kuwait, Russian Federation, San Marino, United States of America.

  3. Intergovernmental organization: Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), League of Arab States.

  4. Category 2 centres under the auspices of UNESCO: Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Latin America (CRESPIAL), International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP), International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (IRCI), International Training Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (CRIHAP), Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe and Regional Research Centre for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in West and Central Asia.

  5. Accredited non-governmental organizations: Amis du Patrimoine de Madagascar, Asosiasi Tradisi Lisan (ATL), Association européenne des jeux et sports traditionnels, Association nationale cultures et traditions, Association pour la sauvegarde des masques, Associazione Culturale ‘Circolo della Zampogna’, Associazione Culturale Carpino Folk Festival, Associazione Culturale-Musicale-Etnica Totarella - Le Zampogne del Pollino, Associazione Extra Moenia, Associazione Musa - Musiche, Canti e Danze tradizionali delle Quattro Province, Azerbaijani Carpetmakers’ Union, Center for Peace Building and Poverty Reduction among Indigenous African Peoples, Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Centre régional de culture ethnologique et technique de Basse-Normandie, Centro de Estudios Borjanos de la Institucion ‘Fernando el Catolico’, Centro UNESCO de San Sebastián, CIOFF България, Conseil international des organisations de festivals de folklore et d’arts traditionnels, Conseil québécois du patrimoine vivant, Conservatorio de la Cultura Gastronómica Mexicana S.C., Contact Base, Dastum, Egyptian Society for Folk Traditions, Engabu Za Tooro, FARO Vlaams steunpunt voor cultureel erfgoed vzw, Fédération des amis des luttes et sports athlétiques et d’adresse de Bretagne, Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU, Folkland, International Centre for Folklore and Culture, Foundation for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage, Fundaçao INATEL, Fundación Erigaie, Global Development for Pygmee Minorities, Indigenous Cultural Society, Inter-City Intangible Cultural Cooperation Network, International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF), International Council for Traditional Music, International Council on Monuments and Sites, International Organization of Folk Arts (IOV), Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation, La Enciclopedia del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial A.C, La Maison de Sagesse, Lamar Kanuri Hutuye, Madhukali, Maison du patrimoine oral, Makedonsko Instrazhuvachko Drushtvo (MID), Museums Galleries Scotland, National Council of Traditional Healers and Herbalists Associations, Nederlands Centrum voor Volkscultuur, Norsk Handverksutvikling, Réseau Culturel Européen de Coopération au Développement, Rural Women Environmental Protection Association, Société française d’ethnomusicologie, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc., Tamil Nadu Rural Art Development Centre, Tapis plein vzw., Traditions pour demain, Uluslararası Mevlâna Vakfı, Unione Nazionale Pro Loco d’Italia, West Africa Coalition for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, and World Martial Arts Union.

  6. Three examiners (Ms Claudine-Augée Angoue [Gabon], Mr Egil Sigmund Bakka [Norway], and Ms Soledad Mujica [Peru], and two accredited NGOs (African Cultural Regeneration Institute – ACRI [Kenya] and Maison des cultures du monde [France]), as accredited NGOs, members of the Consultative Body.

  1. The full list of participants is available in document ITH/12/7.COM/INF.22 Rev.2.

  2. The session was conducted in three languages: English and French, the two working languages of the Committee, and Spanish thanks to the generous support of the Spanish Government.

  3. The Intangible Cultural Heritage Section of UNESCO provided the secretariat for the meeting.

  4. The elected Members of the Bureau of the seventh session of the Committee were as follows:

Chairperson: Mr Arley Gill (Grenada)

Vice-Chairpersons: Spain, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar and Morocco

Rapporteur: Ms Gulnara Aitpaeva (Kyrgyzstan)

[Monday 3 December, morning session]


  1. The Chairperson of the seventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Mr Arley Gill, in the presence of the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, officially opened the meeting by welcoming the participants. Mr Gill noted the particular high turnout with more than 600 participants having registered for the meeting, reminding participants that live audio broadcast via the Internet would be made available throughout the week.

  2. Welcoming the delegates, Ms Irina Bokova extended her best wishes to the 12 new members of the Committee elected in June as well as the Committee for a successful meeting. She recalled that the Convention was soon to celebrate its tenth anniversary, which represented a moment of maturity in the life of the Convention and a crucial stage in its implementation. She was pleased to note the progress made both in spirit and action as through the growing awareness and understanding of the notion of intangible cultural heritage, even though there was still work to be done in terms of safeguarding. Ms Bokova referred to the 16 periodic reports submitted in the current cycle, which together with the five reports previously submitted, showed that regulatory and institutional measures were being taken to implement the Convention at the national level. They also demonstrated the great leverage of intangible cultural heritage as a factor for social cohesion, creativity and sustainable development. Ms Bokova also spoke of how intangible cultural heritage played an integral part in the national development plans of Mongolia, the Seychelles, Viet Nam, Belarus and other countries, thereby influencing other tangible sectors of cultural heritage. For example, the protection of the Otomi Chichimecas in Mexico had enabled road improvement and water treatment programmes to take place, creating local jobs and tourism infrastructure, while the Za Križen procession in Croatia led to the protection of olive groves, vineyards and dry stone walls. These examples demonstrated the efforts devoted to promoting heritage, as well as showing the potential of culture as an entry point into previously segmented sectors of socio-economic life. Such work increased UNESCO’s advocacy of culture for sustainable development, while the work of the Committee brought UNESCO closer to its mission.

  3. Ms Bokova recalled the concerns voiced by some that UNESCO sought to reduce intangible cultural heritage to folklore; the results, however, proved the contrary, as the Convention breathed life into cultural diversity and catalyzed innovation. She reflected on the commitment of the 148 States Parties to the Convention and the capacity-building programme carried out in 66 countries so far. The implementation of the Convention embodied UNESCO’s determination to work closely with States and communities so as to strengthen capacities and raise resources. Ms Bokova took the opportunity to thank States Parties that seconded staff to the Secretariat as well as their generous donors whose combined contributions amounted to US$11 million. She also noted that the Committee would examine nominations from all the world’s regions, with the process ever widening with Africa representing 27 per cent of nominations in 2012 – a positive development that she wholeheartedly welcomed. Nevertheless, she cautioned against allowing the Convention to fall victim of its own success whose principal goal was to safeguard endangered intangible cultural heritage, adding that inscriptions should not be the guiding objective but rather such values as equity, objectivity, clarity, commitment and solidarity that were carried in the hearts and minds of the people.

  4. The Chairperson thanked Ms Bokova for her inspirational and encouraging words, remarking on the difficult work ahead with the likelihood that not all expectations would be satisfied. Nevertheless, the Chairperson spoke of his commitment and dedication to the meeting so as to help the Committee accomplish the meeting’s objectives.

[Ms Bokova left the room admist a round of applause]

  1. The Secretary of the Convention, Ms Cécile Duvelle, welcomed the participants, informing them that the meeting was being broadcast live in the adjoining room for those unable to find seating. The meeting was audio broadcast via the Internet in the working languages of English and French, as well as in Spanish thanks to the generous contribution by Spain. However, video broadcast was unavailable this year for reasons of cost reduction. Additionally, the meeting was paper-free. It was noted that some documents were particularly long, but all documents were available on the website of the 2003 Convention. The Secretary noted that a record of 640 participants from 110 countries had registered for the meeting and requested that all attendees register their participation and include their names on the updated list of participants. The Secretary remarked that 59 participants had benefitted from the ICH Fund in order to attend the session, of which 11 delegates of the Committee, 28 State Party representatives and 17 NGOs, as well as the chairpersons and rapporteurs of the advisory bodies.

  2. The Chairperson regretted the absence of video broadcasts of the sessions, but appreciated the availability of audiocasts. He reminded the Committee that it could nonetheless suspend the recordings at any time if deemed necessary, according to its Rules of Procedure. The Chairperson also appreciated the use of electronic copies in place of paper documents in an effort to cut down on human and environmental resources. Given the heavy workload, the Chairperson also appealed to the Committee to keep interventions brief and succinct.



Documents ITH/12/7.COM/2 Rev

ITH/12/7.COM/INF.2.1 Rev.3

ITH/12/7.COM/INF.2.2 Rev.2

Decision 7.COM 2

  1. The Chairperson remarked on the important decisions to be taken during the meeting that included the inscription of elements to the Urgent Safeguarding List, the Representative List, as well as the selection of Best Safeguarding Practices and requests for international assistance. In addition, the Committee would receive periodic reports from States on their implementation of the Convention at the national level and the status of their elements inscribed on the Representative List that would help monitor the way the Convention was implemented in the different countries. Other important work involved reflecting on the different topics that had been debated by the Committee in Bali and the General Assembly. The Chairperson compared the Convention to a growing child, adding that it was important to frequently take stock so as to ensure that things were proceeding in the way intended. One of the reflections concerned the outcomes of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on the right scale or scope of an element of intangible cultural heritage that took place in October 2012. The Chairperson thus invited the Secretary to present the items on the agenda.

  2. The Secretary introduced the provisional agenda and the 22 agenda items. She informed the Committee that nearly all the documents had been published before the statutory deadline of 5 November, but that the international assistance requests and the periodic reports of States had been made available earlier on 1 October, giving more time for members of the Committee to read the documents. A copy of the 2012 Edition of the Basic Texts, which integrated amendments to the Operational Directives adopted by the General Assembly in June 2012, as well as brochures on the inscribed elements of 2010 and 2011 had also been given to each delegation. The Secretariat took the opportunity to thank the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP) and the Cultural Administration of the Republic of Korea for their generous contribution towards the excellent printing. The Secretary also informed the Committee that revised [REV] documents, corrigenda [COR] or addenda [ADD] were available on the Convention website.

  3. The Secretary recalled that the provisional timetable of the five-day session had been adopted by the Bureau on 24 October, and would be revised as required by the Bureau during the course of the meeting. The Secretary then outlined the meeting’s schedule. Day 1: the adoption of the agenda; election of a new Rapporteur; admission of observers; and the adoption of the summary records of its sixth session. An information document, INF.5, would also provide a brief overview, results and challenges of the global capacity-building strategy. Item 6 would follow with the examination of the 16 periodic reports on the implementation of the Convention by States Parties, which were an obligation by States, as provided by Article 29 of the Convention1. The day’s afternoon session would include item 19 on voluntary supplementary contributions to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, which appeared after the provisional agenda was first sent following a decision by three States Parties to contribute to the ICH Fund to support the global capacity-building strategy: US$1.75 million from Norway, US$167,000 from Spain and US$324,000 from the Netherlands, which in accordance with Article 25.5 of the Convention, had to be approved by the Committee. Then work would begin on the inscriptions to the lists (item 8 and 11), the selection of proposals for the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices (item 9) and the granting of international assistance (item 10). This would start with the report of the Consultative Body (document 7), which examined a total of 20 files. A document on the ‘transversal issues’ arising in the evaluation and examination of nominations, proposals and requests was also made available as document INF.7. This would be followed by the examination of the 7 nominations to the Urgent Safeguarding List (document 8) – one file had been withdrawn – for which only 35 minutes would be allocated to each file. The examination would continue Day 2 during the morning session.

  4. The Secretary further outlined Day 2 afternoon session: the examination of 2 proposals for the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices (document 9), and the 9 international assistance requests greater than US$25,000 (document 10) – one file had also been withdrawn. Day 3: before the Committee would start examining 35 files to the Representative List (document 11) – one file had been withdrawn – the Subsidiary Body would present the report on its work of the nominations submitted during this cycle. Composed of six States Parties, one from each electoral group, Spain, Croatia, Venezuela, Islamic Republic of Iran, Burkina Faso and Morocco, the Subsidiary Body met one week in September 2012 and evaluated 36 nominations. It was noted that there were 13 fewer files than in 2011. Day 4: the Committee would then discuss items 12 and 13 concerning a number of recurrent technical procedures on the Operational Directives, as well as several questions arising from the latest amendments to the Operational Directives by the General Assembly in June and from decisions in 6.COM. Discussion would continue on 12.a (System of rotation for the members of the Consultative Body), item 12.b (Establishment of the Consultative Body), item 12.c (Establishment of the Subsidiary Body), and item 12.d (Number of files that can be treated in the 2014 and 2015 cycles). The Secretary noted that items 12.b and 12.c were familiar, as they had been discussed in previous years. Item 12.a however concerned the establishment of a system of rotation that would replace the current system of the renewal of half its members so as to fairly determine the duration of office of the current members (document 12.a). Meanwhile, item 12.d came about from paragraph 33 of the amended Operational Directives, which reads, ‘The Committee determines two years beforehand […], the number of files that can be treated in the following cycles’ (document 12.d). The afternoon session would move to a series of reflections in item 13. Depending on how the reflections proceed, the Committee might wish to ask the Secretariat to propose draft amendments to the Operational Directives for discussion and adoption in the Committee’s eighth session, or the Committee may decide that it is too premature to make concrete amendments.

  5. The Secretary outlined item 13.a (Reflection on the experience gained in implementing the referral option of the Representative List), recalling that it was the second time that the Committee had to deal with referrals. Item 13.b (Reflection on the right scale or scope of the element) and item 13.c (Reflection on the procedure for extended inscription of an element already inscribed) related directly to the debates of the open-ended working group that met in October 2012. The Secretary recalled that 13.b was requested by the sixth session of the Committee, while item 13.c was requested by the General Assembly. Item 13.d (Reflection on the use of the emblem), included on the agenda at the request of Belgium, sought to discuss how the current Operational Directives are adapted to the needs of States Parties and how they might be improved. Day 5would be dedicated to two items that the Committee was unable to discuss in Bali owing to a lack of time. These were item 14 (Mechanism for sharing information to encourage multinational nominations), requested by the Committee in its decision 5.COM 6, followed by a debate on item 15 (Treatment of correspondence from the public or other concerned parties concerning nominations), which was also contained in decision 5.COM 6. This would be followed by item 16.a (Accreditation of non-governmental organization), and item, 16.b (Reflection on the criteria and modalities for accreditation of non-governmental organizations), as requested by the General Assembly at its last session. So far, the General Assembly has accredited 156 NGOs, with a further 10 NGOs recommended for accreditation. Thus, it was considered timely to reflect on how well the criteria for accreditation are adapted to the specific role of examining files in the Consultative Body. Other items include item 17 (Date and venue of the eighth Committee session), which will coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Convention, and item 18 (Election of the members of the Bureau of the eighth session), followed by the adoption of the List of Decisions and closure of the seventh session. The Secretary concluded that the possibility of extended sessions had been foreseen and suggested that morning sessions begin at 9.30 a.m.

  6. The Chairperson reminded the Committee that the Bureau was monitoring the timetable, and that it could be adjusted following the Bureau’s morning meetings prior to the day’s session. The Chairperson moved to the adoption of the agenda and its draft decision (document ITH/12/7.COM/2 Rev). With no voiced comments or objections the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 2.

  7. The delegation of Grenada wished to explain that although the seventh Committee session was scheduled to take place in Grenada, its government was unable to host the meeting given its economic and political situation of recent months. On behalf of the government of Grenada, the delegation expressed sincere thanks to States Parties for their kind efforts in favourably responding to its request to collaborate and assist in the organization of the present meeting. The delegation thanked Bulgaria for its generous support of the NGO Forum that took place on 2 December 2012, and Colombia for pledging financial support to Grenada for the organization of the meeting, as well as all States Parties that supported and actively participated in parallel cultural events, including the United Arab Emirates, France, Venezuela, the Netherlands, and Brunei Darussalam. The delegation thanked the Secretariat for its efforts and cooperation in the preparation of the meeting, and concluded by wishing the Committee success in its endeavours.

  8. The Chairperson invited the Committee to begin consultations within their electoral groups, particularly for agenda item 12.c (Establishment of a new Subsidiary Body for the 2013 cycle) and item 18 (Election of the members of the Bureau of the eighth session of the Committee). The Chairperson recalled that the previous Subsidiary Body had recommended that the Committee adopt an informal system of alternating mandates, like that of the Committee members, in which some of the members would be replaced every year in order to ensure continuity and coherence. For information, the Chairperson recalled the composition of the present Subsidiary Body: Group I – Spain; Group II – Croatia; Group III – Venezuela; Group IV – Islamic Republic of Iran; Group V(a) – Burkina Faso; and Group V(b) – Morocco. It was noted that according to the Operational Directives only Spain, Burkina Faso and Morocco continued to be eligible. Meanwhile, the Bureau is composed of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson(s) and a Rapporteur. The Rules of Procedure specify that the Bureau should be elected on the basis of equitable geographical representation and, inasmuch as possible, a balance among the various fields of intangible cultural heritage.

  9. The Chairperson noted that States Members had already been consulting on the system of rotation for the Consultative Body and that the Secretariat had made a preliminary proposal. The Chairperson hoped that whether through consultations or a selection by lots that the system would easily be set in place. He also informed the Committee that the Bureau would meet every morning before the plenary sessions in an open meeting in which interpretation would be provided in French and English.

  10. The Secretary closed the item with a number of announcements. The Permanent Delegation of Venezuela would be inaugurating an exhibition entitled ‘The Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi’. At 6.30 p.m, Ms Francine Chainaye, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Delegate of the Kingdom of Belgium to UNESCO invited all participants to a reception at the UNESCO restaurant. On Wednesday at 1 p.m., the Permanent Delegation of the Netherlands would present an exhibition of traditional arts and crafts of the Netherlands. On Thursday, the Permanent Delegation of Brazil would host a reception lunch at UNESCO’s restaurant (7th floor). Throughout the week, the Open UNESCO exhibition would feature non-stop videos of elements inscribed on the Lists and selected interviews on the importance of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage for sustainable development. Finally, the Quai Branly Museum, one of the Convention partners, generously offered free entrance to all participants to their current exhibitions. At 7 p.m., the delegation of Turkey organized a concert which would be followed by a reception.



Document ITH/12/7.COM/3

Decision 7.COM 3

  1. The Chairperson turned to the replacement of the Rapporteur of the seventh session of the Committee. He recalled that the Committee had elected the members of its Bureau at the end of its sixth session in Bali and whose term of office continue until the end of the current session with Mr Ion de la Riva Guzmán de Frutos [Spain] elected Rapporteur, while five Vice-Chairpersons were elected from each of the electoral groups [other than Electoral Group III, corresponding to the Chairperson’s group]. The current Vice-Chairpersons were Spain, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar and Morocco. However, as of March 2012, the elected Rapporteur ceased his functions as Ambassador of Spain to UNESCO and was therefore unable to act as Rapporteur. Thus, one of the Vice-Chairpersons would serve as his replacement.

  2. Based on Rule 16.2 of the Rules of Procedure2, the Secretary explained that the Committee had to elect a new Rapporteur from among the five current Vice-Chairpersons, while assuring the Committee that the task of Rapporteur was not too burdensome. The Rapporteur simply had to verify that the decisions taken by the Committee during the day were faithfully recorded by the Secretariat and reflected the day’s deliberations.

  3. The delegation of Japan proposed Ms Gulnara Aitpaeva of Kyrgyzstan, an expert on Kyrgyz traditional knowledge, as the Rapporteur, which was seconded by Indonesia.

  4. With no voiced comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 3, inviting Ms Aitpaeva to join the podium and thanking Kyrgyzstan for accepting the invitation.



Document ITH/12/7.COM/4 Rev.

Decision 7.COM 4

  1. Before beginning the debates, the Chairperson invited the Committee to limit their number of interventions trying not to take the floor more than twice in a single debate, adding that a timer may be introduced if required. The floor would then be given to States Parties and observers during general debates or after a decision has been taken, should time permit. The Chairperson reminded observers that they could not intervene during the debates of draft decisions, recalling that the Committee was a representative body whose members were elected to fulfil the tasks specified in the Convention. The Chairperson then invited the Secretary to provide the background information to item 4.

  2. The Secretary remarked that the admission of observers to a Committee session was an annual exercise, required by the Committee’s Rules of Procedure, which outlined several categories of participants. Rules 8.1 and 8.2 pertained to States Parties, States non-party, Associate Members, Permanent Observers and United Nations organizations, which were automatically admitted as observers. Rule 8.3 however referred to intergovernmental organizations other than UN bodies, as well as public and private bodies and private persons with recognized competence in the various fields of intangible cultural heritage that could attend a single session or several of its sessions as observers upon written request. Moreover, Rule 8.5 specified that the public meetings of the Committee shall be open to the public within the limitation of available space, who did not need to request observer status. The Secretary noted that the Secretariat had not received any requests for observer status to the Committee’s future sessions since 4 November 2012 when document 4 was published online. It was also noted that a number of other participants did not figure in the decision but were present at the meeting, as Rule 6 of the Rules of Procedure provides that accredited NGOs are automatically admitted to Committee sessions. Thus, all 156 NGOs accredited by the General Assembly at its third and fourth sessions had been sent an invitation; accepted by 63 NGOs, as contained in the list of participants. The Secretary recalled that in its Decision 6.COM 12, the Committee established a Consultative Body for the evaluation of files in the 2012 cycle, and its Chairperson, Ms Soledad Mujica (Peru) and its Rapporteur, Ms Claudine-Augée Angoué (Gabon) had been invited to participate in the present session. Similarly, the Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body, Mr Victor Rago (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) and the Rapporteur, Mr Tvrtko Zebec (Croatia), had also been invited. Additionally, several members of the advisory bodies were also present in different capacities. The Secretary further informed the Committee that at its fourth, fifth and sixth sessions, it authorized the participation of 42 entities as observers to the present session [as listed in paragraph 7 of Decision 4.COM 4; paragraph 6 of Decision 5.COM 3 and paragraph 6 of Decision 6.COM 3], all of whom had been duly invited. NGOs accredited by the General Assembly in 2012 were invited according to Rule 6 of the Rules of Procedure in their capacity as observers.

  3. The Chairperson turned to the adoption of Decision 7.COM 4. With no comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 4.



Documents ITH/12/7.COM/5 Rev.


Decision 7.COM 5

  1. The Chairperson moved to the approval of the draft summary records of the sixth session of the Committee held in Bali in November 2011, as presented in document 5. He noted that the document had been made available one week after the statutory deadline, which was easily understandable given the length and thoroughness of the document. The Chairperson described the summary records as very precious since they include the very important discussions on issues that directly concern the Committee’s on-going work. Included with the summary records of the sixth session were the records of the fourth extraordinary session of the Committee on 8 June 2012, which was convened in order to elect a new member of the Bureau for the present session. The Chairperson informed the Committee that the summary records of the debates of the open-ended working group to discuss the right scale or scope of an element, which met on 22 and 23 October 2012, would be made available early next year, but that the Chairperson of the working group, Mr Francesco Tafuri, would deliver his oral report on Thursday.

  2. The delegation of Indonesia wished to correct the name of Mr Agung Laksono Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare.

  3. With no comments or objections, the Chairperson declared Decision 7.COM 5 adopted.

  4. Before moving to item 6 of the agenda, the Chairperson wished to inform the Committee of the outcomes of the Bureau meetings that were convened on five occasions: two meetings at UNESCO Paris on 8 June and 24 October 2012, and three electronic consultations of Bureau members in January, May and August 2012, as foreseen in Rule 12.3 of the Rules of Procedure. All working documents of the Bureau and its decisions were available on the Convention website. The Chairperson explained that Bureau members were consulted electronically in January 2012 regarding four preparatory assistance requests to elaborate nominations to the Urgent Safeguarding List. The Bureau decided in February to grant a total amount of US$44,745 to three countries: Honduras, Uganda and the Syrian Arab Republic. However, due to the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, and following the Executive Board’s 189 EX/Decision 24 of March 2012, the two preparatory assistance would be granted to the Syrian Arab Republic ‘when the situation on the ground so allows’. Meanwhile, the nominations from Honduras and Uganda – for which preparatory assistance was granted – are to be submitted by 31 March 2013 for possible inscription in 2014.

  5. The Chairperson also recalled that in Bali the Committee had adopted a provisional report on its activities between the third and the fourth sessions of the General Assembly, that is, between June 2010 and June 2012, and delegated to its Bureau the authority to approve the completed final report in order to include the results of its sixth session and to provide the States Parties with the most updated information. Bureau members consulted electronically again in May 2012 to approve the completed final report of the Committee’s activities between June 2010 and June 2012, which will be brought to the attention of the 2013 General Conference of UNESCO. On 8 June 2012, taking advantage of the General Assembly, the Chairperson convened another Bureau meeting to discuss a further two items, their decisions on these two items being subsequently taken electronically. Firstly, that the Bureau grant US$24,947 of international assistance to Malawi for a project entitled ‘Development of an inventory of intangible heritage of Malawi’, and U$25,000 to Viet Nam for a project entitled ‘Capacity building in designing, implementing and evaluating intangible cultural heritage projects in Viet Nam’. The Chairperson took this opportunity to inform the Committee that another 22 requests up to US$25,000 were currently in progress, either because the Secretariat had not yet had time to assess the completeness of 13 requests, or because States have not yet responded to the letters from the Secretariat requesting additional information on 9 files. Secondly, the Bureau approved a spending plan for the use of US$594,000 allocated to ‘other functions of the Committee’ of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund that had been approved by the General Assembly at its fourth session; an amount corresponding to a little more than half of the resources allocated by the General Assembly to this category under the Plan for 2012 and 2013. The largest part of the funds were allocated to capacity-building, followed by the publication of materials on the Convention and its mechanisms, the knowledge management services, and the promotion and dissemination of Best Safeguarding Practices.

  6. The Chairperson convened another electronic consultation among Bureau members in August 2012 in order to change the date and venue of the Committee meeting, pursuant to Rule 4.1 of the Committee’s Rules of Procedure and in consultation with the Director-General. Finally the Bureau met in a face-to-face meeting on 24 October 2012, having taken advantage of the presence of Bureau members at the open-ended working group on the right scale or scope of an element. Three items were on the agenda. Firstly, the Bureau discussed and endorsed the provisional timetable of the seventh Committee session, though the timetable might be adjusted as necessary, as previously explained. Secondly, the revised proposal prepared by the Secretariat on the utilization of the funds allocated for ‘other functions of the Committee’ under the Plan for the use of the resources of the ICH Fund was examined and approved through subsequent electronic consultations for a total amount of U$767,250, equivalent to almost 70% of the total allocation for ‘other functions of the Committee’ for the biennium. The revised proposal replaced the plan approved by the Bureau in June. This revision, coming only a few months after the approval of the first proposal, was a technical matter to enable the Secretariat to benefit from a new contractual arrangement to ensure knowledge management services in a more efficient manner. An unallocated balance of approximately 12% of the biennial funds reserved for future needs will be the subject of a proposed spending plan to be submitted to the future Bureau in mid-2013. Thirdly, there were two international assistance requests greater than US$25,000 submitted by Mongolia and Uganda, which were pending from the 2011 cycle. The Chairperson recalled that the Committee in Bali did not approve four requests, but delegated that task to the Bureau. The Bureau members expressed divergent opinions during electronic consultations and had therefore decided to convene a private meeting this very evening to reach a final decision.

  7. The Chairperson then invited the Secretary to inform the Committee on the implementation of the global capacity-building strategy, as presented in document INF.5, which he noted mobilized major efforts of the Secretariat, both at Headquarters and in the field, as well as very generous support from a large number of States Parties.

  8. Referring to the report on the global capacity-building programme, document ITH/12/7.COM/INF.5, the Secretary drew attention to the fact that the principal objective of the strategy is to create an institutional and professional enabling environment for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage – and not the preparation of nomination files, even if it was part of the process. Another key objective is to increase public awareness and create visibility of intangible cultural heritage. The strategy was essentially focused at the field level with the large majority of funds (88%) channelled through UNESCO field offices for action on the ground. The multidimensional approach aimed to cover such broad aspects of safeguarding as policies, legislation, and institutional infrastructure dedicated to intangible cultural heritage. Another important aspect was the development of the inventory that was specific to intangible cultural heritage and established together with the communities concerned. The strategy also focused on mobilizing such actors as intra-ministerial government officials, NGOs and media partners, as well as strengthening technical capacities with regard to safeguarding measures, planning and budgets. The Secretary explained that the strategy focused on three axes of activities: 1) developing capacity-building content and pedagogic materials; 2) establishing and maintaining a network of expert facilitators; and 3) delivering training and capacity-building services to beneficiary countries and stakeholder groups, considered the most important activity. Within the first axe, four thematic areas were identified, namely: 1) ratification of the Convention; 2) implementing the Convention at the national level; 3) community-based inventorying; and 4) elaborating nominations to the Lists of the Convention with the participation of the communities concerned. In addition, other axes were being developed such as the establishment of a safeguarding plan and a complimentary training axis on the contribution of intangible cultural heritage to sustainable development, which was said to help States Parties integrate intangible cultural heritage into their national development plans.

  9. With regard to the second axis and the network of facilitators, the Secretary reported that 77 experts covering all the world’s regions had been trained under the programme of which 43 per cent came from Africa and 40 per cent were women. The experts were now qualified to train others whose training was conducted for the most part in the national language. The facilitators had a dedicated website that enabled them to communicate online on workshop planning, implementation and evaluation, while supporting exchanges and the sharing of experiences, since each facilitator adapted the materials to his or her own context. With regard to the third axis on capacity-building services, the Secretary reported that there were 66 beneficiary countries at different scales of implementation from completed, ongoing to planned activities with Africa identified as a priority region, with the Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central Asia equally covered. The length of the programme typically lasted for 24 to 36 months, beginning with a needs assessment to identify the country’s specific needs over a period of 4 months, followed by a 20-30 month period of revision and adaptation of policies, legislation and institutional infrastructure, while at the same time workshops are held with a maximum of 30 persons covering the three thematic areas including the implementation of the Convention, community-based inventorying and nominations, as previously mentioned. Altogether, 1600 persons have been trained so far. The programme terminates with an overall evaluation of the project and the continuation of new projects in an ever-evolving landscape of different needs. Of the 80 workshops that had already taken place, 7 were on ratification, 57 on the implementation of the Convention at the national level, 12 on inventories, and 9 on nominations. The languages covered included English, French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Uzbek, Arabic and Chinese, with the translation of the materials seen as an investment for the long term. Other intermittent activities included a Central African youth forum held in Brazzaville, Congo, and a Caribbean youth forum held in Grenada in which 16 Caribbean countries participated, and which had succeeded in inspiring and mobilizing the younger generation – the future actors of the Convention. Other activities included regional workshops for NGOs in Libreville, Gabon, and Quito, Ecuador, and a workshop for 25 African university lecturers in Mombasa, Kenya.

  10. With regard to resource mobilization, the Secretary reported that almost US$12 million had been mobilized for the capacity-building strategy thanks to the many generous contributors of which Japan, Norway, the United Arab Emirates, and the EU were among the biggest donors. Of the total budget of the Convention, 86% was allocated to capacity-building and 14% allocated to governance and international cooperation mechanisms, with the majority spent on actions at the ground level, with little budget spend on statutory meetings. Monitoring activities was described as another important aspect that included: i) evaluations and follow-up by the workshop participants; ii) the periodic reports submitted by States Parties; and iii) the first internal review meeting of UNESCO’s global strategy held in Beijing, with the support of the International Training Centre for the Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (CRIHAP). These evaluation mechanisms provided invaluable feedback on initial experiences, lessons learnt and recommended ways forward. The positive impacts of the strategy were already starting to be felt with regard to the strengthening of institutional capacities, as noted in the periodic reports, and the establishment of inventories, with an increasing number of requests for international assistance in this regard, and a better distribution of country participation across the regions. Nevertheless, there was no one-size-fits all model, and while the facilitators continued to accompany the countries in a long-term collaboration, the Secretariat sought to extend the network even further. The Secretary concluded that the success of the strategy rested on the full participation of all the actors working together in a complementary manner.

  11. From the applause, the Chairperson noted that the report had been well received and opened the floor to comments and observations.

  12. The delegation of Egypt thanked the Secretary for her report on the activities between the sixth and the seventh Committee meetings. With regard to the capacity-building strategy, the delegation found the workshops to be fruitful, but felt that the diverse situations in each country and their participation in the Convention should be considered, as every country had different knowledge and capacities. For example, two workshops were held in Egypt – one on a specific project and the other held by the Ministry of Culture and the department of intangible cultural heritage in which the meaning of the Convention was discussed. However, it was considered a waste of time and resources since the experts attending the workshop were already knowledgeable about the Convention. The workshop then focused on the nomination process and the inventories, which the delegation believed was more beneficial and worthwhile as it was directly applicable to their situation. The delegation therefore recommended that the module differentiate between countries that have a history of working towards safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and those that have little or no knowledge in this regard.

  13. The delegation of Sudan congratulated the Secretary and her team for the good and important work accomplished, adding that it was happy to note that 86% of the budget was allocated to capacity-building. However, the delegation believed that capacity-building efforts and programmes should be considered at the language level and be devised with regard to the needs of specific groups so as to bring them together.

  14. The delegation of Namibia was pleased to note the progress of the global capacity-building strategy over the last three years, congratulating the Secretariat for its efforts, which focused on building human and institutional capacity in developing States Parties for the effective implementation of the Convention. The delegation agreed with the long-term multi-phase approach of the strategy, as outlined in paragraph 2 of the document, which it described as crucial, and it wished to know more from the Secretariat in this regard. The delegation looked forward to the expansion of the thematic scope (in paragraph 7), particularly on intangible cultural heritage and sustainable development, and was enthusiastic about the network of exports to support the capacity-building efforts at the regional level, allowing countries to work alongside experts. The delegation concluded by thanking donors for their generous support, which enabled all States Parties to fully contribute to the Convention.

  15. The delegation of Nigeria congratulated the Secretariat for its good work and for the initiatives taken place so far. However, it noted a geographical imbalance in the programme carried out in Africa, as most of the activities were focused in central and eastern Africa, yet western Africa comprised 16 countries.

  16. The delegation of the United Arab Emirates congratulated the Chairperson on his appointment, and the Secretariat for its immense efforts as outlined in the report. The delegation recalled that since Abu Dhabi, it had always been favourable towards allocating financial assistance to States Parties and was happy to note that progress had been made in this regard. The delegation was also very pleased with the report and took the opportunity to emphasize the need for States Parties to conduct the necessary fieldwork and safeguarding, adding that the report provided answers with regard to the direction the Convention should be taking in identifying the needs of States Parties. The delegation believed that capacity-building would respond to most of the concerns in the identification and inventorying of intangible cultural heritage, adding that the nomination process was the final phase of that process. As submitted files improved, so the number of submitted files would also increase.

  17. The delegation of Morocco thanked the Secretariat for its clear vision of the capacity-building strategy, which it described as crucial and without which the implementation of the Convention would not be attained. The delegation also highlighted the strategic importance of the inventories of intangible cultural heritage, and was happy to note that 88% of activities were carried out in the field.

  18. The delegation of People’s Democratic Republic of Lao thanked the Secretariat for its report and the UNESCO Bangkok Office for working as an interface between UNESCO Paris and capacity-building at the national level. The delegation reiterated the importance of the capacity-building strategy, adding that UNESCO’s assistance had been invaluable. It therefore took the opportunity to thank the Secretariat for its financial and technical support, adding that it would seek further help in the inventorying process. The experience of other countries was also described as beneficial.

  19. The delegation of Brazil thanked the Secretariat for its report and for its mention of broadening the scope of action in terms of capacity building. The delegation also believed that UNESCO’s existing regional category 2 centres such as CRESPIAL in Peru should be mobilized in this regard, adding that many activities had already been organized by CRESPIAL for the benefit of Latin American countries.

  20. The delegation of Japan thanked the Secretariat for its excellent report and for its huge efforts in implementing the strategy. It recognized the importance of the capacity-building strategy for the effective safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, whose results would be particularly beneficial to developing countries.

  21. The Chairperson thanked the delegations for their positive comments and recommendations, and was pleased to note that 86% of the budget had been used on capacity-building. He also appreciated the importance assigned to the strategy by the Secretariat, adding that it was on the right path to resolving any weaknesses. The Chairperson also wished to thank donor countries for their financial donations, urging States Parties to continue in their generosity.



Document ITH/12/7.COM/6

Decision 7.COM 6

  1. The Chairperson then turned to the examination of the reports submitted by States Parties in accordance with Article 293 of the Convention, noting that according to Article 7 and Article 30, the Committee had to examine and summarize the reports and to prepare its report to the General Assembly. It was noted that sixteen States Parties were among the pioneer countries, having ratified the Convention in 2005, and had consequently prepared their reports, setting a good example to other States, together with the five States Parties that already submitted their reports in 2011.

  2. The Secretary spoke of the challenging task in providing a summary of the reports given the wealth and depth of their analysis and information. She explained that twelve months prior to the deadline of 15 December 2011, the Secretariat informed twenty-three States Parties that their periodic reports were due, as they had ratified the Convention in 2005. Sixteen States Parties submitted their reports: Belarus, Croatia, Egypt, Gabon, Latvia, Lithuania, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Seychelles, Syrian Arab Republic and Viet Nam; from which the Secretariat’s report was based. Two States Parties submitted reports that were incomplete, but would be revised for the 2013 Committee. The report by another State was submitted too late for treatment in 2012, but would figure among the reports in 2013. Four States Parties did not submit reports, and it was hoped that they would do so in the next cycle. All the reports had been available online in their original languages from mid-October, while translations would have been available as they were completed. The Secretary apologized to Mongolia, Seychelles and Viet Nam for the late translations of their reports, adding that they would soon be available online in French.

  3. The Secretary explained that document ITH/12/7.COM/6 presents a summary of the 2012 reports of States Parties. The introductory Part I of the Annex contains a full description of the working methods by the Secretariat and a general overview of the 2012 periodic reports. She noted that the number of submitting States had tripled compared to 2011, nevertheless the 16 reports still represented a small sample to draw general observations compared with the 148 States Parties, but allowed the Committee to begin to compose a picture of the situation after two reporting cycles.
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