REPORT OF THE CONSULTATIVE BODY ON ITS WORK IN 2012
Decision 7.COM 7
The Chairperson wished to begin the session with the completion of Decision 7.COM 7 and the amendment drafted by Peru, Burkina Faso and Indonesia, which would be followed by the examination of the six remaining draft decisions on nominations to the Representative List, followed by the chapeau Decision 7.COM 11.
The delegation of Brazil requested a minute’s silence in honour of the Brazilian architect Mr Oscar Niemeyer who had passed away during the night. He had been involved in the design of more than 600 modern buildings around the world, including the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Referring to Decision 7.COM 7, the delegation of Peru explained that the amendment in paragraph 14 of the draft decision emphasized the importance of technical preparatory assistance and Art. 18 and Art. 19 of the Operational Directives.
The Chairperson read out the amendment: ‘Recalls the ongoing capacity-building programme and technical assistance provided by the Secretariat and further recalls the possibility to request preparatory assistance in accordance with paragraphs 18 and 19 of the Operational Directives.’ With no comments or objections, paragraph 14 was adopted. Paragraph 15 was then read out: ‘Encourages States Parties when elaborating nominations, proposals and assistance to take advantage of these resources as well as the opportunity to receive technical support from other States.’ With no comments or objections, paragraph 15 was adopted.
For the sake of coherence, the delegation of Morocco drew attention to the English version that had not highlighted requests for international assistance.
The Chairperson read out the amended sentence, ‘proposals and particularly requests for international assistance’. Paragraph 15 was thus duly adopted. With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 7.
ITEM 11 OF THE AGENDA (CONT.):
REPORT OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY ON ITS WORK IN 2012 AND EXAMINATION OF NOMINATIONS FOR INSCRIPTION IN 2012 ON THE REPRESENTATIVE LIST OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
Decision 7.COM 11
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on craftsmanship of Horezu ceramics [draft decision 7.COM 11.28] submitted by Romania. Horezu ceramics are a unique traditional craft, handmade in the northern part of Vâlcea County, Romania. Potters select and extract the earth, which is then cleaned, cut, watered, kneaded, trampled and mixed, transforming it into a clay body from which they produce a red pottery. Each object is modeled with a special finger technique drawn with traditional motifs with vivid colours before being fired. The craft is transmitted through families, in workshops from master to apprentice, and at fairs and exhibitions. The Subsidiary Body found that the nomination had satisfied all the criteria. It noted the commitment of the various craft associations in the implementation of the safeguarding measures dedicated to the transmission of skills associated with the traditional ceramics. The Subsidiary Body especially appreciated the creativity of artisans and the diversity of its transmission techniques and know-how. The Subsidiary Body therefore recommended the inscription of the element on the Representative List.
With no comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.28 to inscribe craftsmanship of Horezu ceramicson the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The delegation of Romania represented by the Deputy Secretary of the State of the Ministry of Culture, Ms Irina Cajal Marin, spoke of the particular attention Romania placed on preserving its cultural identity through programmes such as the repertoire of Romanian intangible cultural heritage and living human treasures. She spoke of the two prestigious elements already inscribed on the Representative List, which was now joined by the addition of Horezu – an emblematic element of Romania.
Following the withdrawal of Saudi Arabia’s file, the Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Fiesta of the patios in Cordova [draft decision 6.COM 11.30] submitted by Spain. For twelve days at the beginning of May, the city of Cordova celebrates the Fiesta of the Patios. The patio houses are characteristc cutural spaces located in the city’s historical quarter. They house an abundant array of plants, and during the fiesta inhabitants freely welcome all visitors to admire their beauty and the skill involved in their creation. The patios also host traditional singing, flamenco guitar playing, and dancing whose ancestral practices of sustainable communal coexistence are shared with people who visit through expressions of affection and shared food and drink. In its examination, the Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied all the criteria. It recalled that the nomination was referred to the submitting State at its last session in Bali, so was very pleased to note that the gaps and ambiguities had been fully addressed. The Subsidiary Body therefore recommended the inscription of the element on the Representative List.
With no comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.30 to inscribe Fiesta of the patios in Cordovaon the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The delegation of Spain spoke of its honour at receiving such a comprehensive report from the Subsidiary Body, which recognized that all the criteria had been satisfied and subsequently approved by the Committee. The delegation spoke of how the nomination added to the intangible aspect of cultural heritage in the spirit of the 2003 Convention. The Deputy Mayor of Cordova wished to thank all those involved in the Fiesta of the patios, and on behalf of the community expressed gratitude to the Committee for deciding to inscribe the element, inviting everyone to visit Cordova and enjoy the fiesta.
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Kopachkata, a social dance from the village of Dramche, Pijanec [draft decision 7.COM 11.31] submitted by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Kopachkata is a traditional dance from the region of Pijanec in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which is performed at gatherings, weddings, and public and religious holidays. The dancers form a semicircle, hold each other’s belts with crossed arms and walk then dance small, swift steps. As the dance quickens the left foot is switched over the right, then the dancers jump to the right leg and stand firmly on it while the left repeatedly hits the ground. Kopachkata is best performed with drums but may also be accompanied by the fiddle, tambura or bagpipes. In its examination, the Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied criterion R.5, but that criteria R.2, R.3 and R.4 required additional information. Moreover, the Subsidiary Body had not been able to reach consensus on criterion R.1 and therefore proposed two options: satisfaction or refer. With regard to R.1, some members found that the description adequately demonstrated the importance of the dance as a symbol of identity of the Pijanec region, as well as its transmission from generation to generation. Others, however, felt that the community of bearers and practitioners could have been better identified, as well as the role and social function of the element and its current meaning to the community. For the other three criteria, the members all agreed that the nomination file should be referred. With regard to R.2, the nomination did not demonstrate how the inscription of the element would contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general. In addition, references made on the need to urgently safeguard the element lead the Subsidiary Body to wonder whether inscription would serve the objectives of the Representative List. With regard to R.3, the proposed safeguarding measures did not directly concern the Kopatchkata but rather national legal measures or projects to safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage in general. In addition, the involvement of the community in the elaboration of safeguarding measures was not demonstrated. Finally, the nomination did not provide enough information on the elaboration of the nomination file, including how the community participated in the process. The Subsidiary Body therefore recommended a referral of the file to the submitting State, which would enable it to provide the additional required information.
The Chairperson noted that the file was not straightforward with the Subsidiary Body providing options in R.1, since it was unable to reach consensus, with other three referred criteria.
The delegation of Indonesia supported the Yes option in R.1, but found the evaluation by the Subsidiary Body on the other criteria to be accurate.
The delegation of Albania sought clarification from the Subsidiary Body on the further detail it sought with regard to R.4 and community participation and consent. The delegation also sought clarification from the submitting State on how it had involved the community in the elaboration of the nomination file.
The delegation of China supported the Yes option in R.1, but sought further clarification from the submitting State as to whether the safeguarding measures were specified for the element, and whether the community’s free, prior and informed consent had been given.
The delegation of Belgium supported Indonesia in that R.1 could be accepted, but not R.2, R.3 and R.4. The delegation of Czech Republic supported the Yes option in R.1.
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body explained that although the Subsidiary Body was divided on criterion R.1, it was unanimous in its recommendation to refer criteria R.2, R.3 and R.4, as there was insufficient information on the participation of the community in the nomination process. The Chairperson conceded that despite the statement in the nomination form maintaining that communities had participated, it still sought more detailed information on the manner in which the communities had been involved.
Remarking that the file was its first submitted nomination, the delegation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia began by expressing its gratitude to the Committee and Subsidiary Body for the opportunity to further explain. The delegation continued that the initiative for the nomination came from the community itself, as it was eager to protect the element, which was a symbol of its cultural identity, adding that it supplied all the materials in the nomination and was thus involved throughout the process. Thus, as instigators of the nomination they had clearly given their prior consent. With regard to safeguarding measures, the delegation further explained that the element – a main symbol of the region – was inscribed in the national inventory and that the dance group had grown with new younger members, who were increasingly interested in the cultural heritage of the region. Other safeguarding measures included teaching the dance in schools, organizing festivals, archiving, the establishment of a museum, and other official Internet-based outreach activities.
The Chairperson reminded the Committee that the explanations given by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had to be considered with regard to the information contained in the file. The Chairperson noted support from Indonesia, Belgium and China for the Yes option in R.1.
Moving to the draft Decision, and with no objections, the Chairperson pronounced paragraph 1 adopted.
The delegation of Grenada remarked that there was consensus regarding the referral for three criteria, recommending that the first criteria be also referred so as to allow the submitting State to improve its file.
The Chairperson remarked that the approval of R.1 would give the submitting State further guidance with regard to the referred criteria.
The delegation of Peru did not consider R.1 satisfied and supported a referral of the criteria.
The Chairperson noted voiced support for the Yes option by China, Indonesia and Belgium, but also the objections from Peru, Grenada and Greece. With no further expressions, the Chairperson ruled that R.1 was satisfied. With no objections to sub-paragraph R.5, it was pronounced adopted. The Chairperson noted that there were no objections to paragraph 3, which was pronounced adopted as amended (with the deletion of the Refer option in R.1). With no objections, paragraph 4 was adopted.
With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.31 to refer Kopachkata, a social dance from the village of Dramche, Pijanecto the submitting State for additional information.
On behalf of the Ministry of Culture and the local community, the delegation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia thanked the Committee and the Subsidiary Body for their useful recommendations, which it would take into consideration when revising the nomination file. It hoped that it would be successfully inscribed in the following cycle and inspire further inscriptions to the list.
The Chairperson thanked the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for its grace and determined approach.
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Mesir Macunu festival [draft decision 7.COM 11.32] submitted by Turkey. The Mesir Macunu festival of Manisa commemorates the recovery of the mother of Suleiman the Magnificent who was cured of a disease by the paste known as mesir macunu. Every year in March, the paste is prepared, wrapped, blessed and scattered from the domes of the Sultan Mosque. Thousands of people come from different regions of Turkey to compete to catch the pieces as they fall. Many believe that by so doing their wishes for marriage, work and children will come true within a year. In its examination, the Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied criteria R.1, R.2, R.3 and R.5, but that criterion R.4 required additional information. It identified in the nomination several aspects that might encourage intercultural dialogue between the different religious communities and ethnic groups in Turkey. However, in R.4, it did not find sufficient information that the communities concerned were involved throughout the nomination process. It also found some repetition of text in the different sections of the nomination, which made its task more difficult, especially in trying to understand the nature of the community’s involvement. The Subsidiary Body therefore recommended a referral of the file to the submitting Party, which would enable it to provide the additional required information.
The delegation of Brazil also noted a repetition in the text in two different sections, and found section 4 under R.4 quite incomplete. However it found in R.3 that the safeguarding plan, and the nomination file in general, had been elaborated with the participation of the communities. The delegation regretted that this had not been clearly explained in the section, and sought clarification from the submitting Party so that it could point out the reference to community participation in the nomination file.
The delegation of Uruguay began by thanking the Chairperson for his excellent leadership, concurring with the remarks by Brazil in that although it acknowledged the Subsidiary Body’s decision found that the nomination file had demonstrated community participation, and also sought further clarity from Turkey.
The delegation of Greece agreed with the conclusion that the community had participated in the preparation of the file, but sought further explanation from Turkey.
The delegation of Czech Republic spoke of the safeguarding measures as being of utmost importance in the safeguarding of the element, which could not be carried out without the community involvement. The delegation also sought clarification from the submitting State on how the community had concretely been involved in the nomination process.
The delegation of Belgium highly appreciated the nomination, which was of enormous interest and deserved inscription. However, it was surprised to see repetitious sentences in the different sections of the form and sought an explanation from Turkey in this regard.
The Chairperson noted that the delegations of Azerbaijan, China, Indonesia, Egypt, Albania and Tunisia appeared to have drawn the same conclusion and suggested that Turkey be given the opportunity to clarify.
The delegation of Turkey conceded that the same information was presented in different sections of the form because the communities had been involved both in the safeguarding measures and in the nomination. An expert representative of the delegation explained that the local communities, the bearers, academics and NGOs were all actively involved in the nomination process, as described in the form. However, as there was limited space in the nomination form it was difficult to outline all the different processes. The representative cited all local stakeholders and institutional parties involved, and spoke of the three stages of their involvement: i) the preparation of the nomination file and action plan; ii) the safeguarding measures; and iii) the elaboration of the inventory. She spoke of the festival as a deep-rooted tradition at the national level, whose values had a universal character, with the communities expressing their full support for the inscription of the element. Referring to sections 3.b and 4.a, the representative remarked on the similitude of the questions that sought related information for which the answers given were the same.
The Chairperson then turned to the draft decision and paragraph 1, which was adopted.
Believing R.4 to be satisfied, the delegation of Brazil proposed an amendment to sub-paragraph R.4. The Chairperson read out the amendment: ‘The nomination was elaborated with the active participation of the practitioners and the relevant associations who provided their free prior and informed consent.’
The Chairperson noted support for the amendment from Nigeria, Egypt, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia, Uruguay, Japan, Greece, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Albania, Morocco, Namibia and Uruguay.
With no objections, the Chairperson pronounced paragraph 2 adopted. Consequently paragraph 3 was deleted, and paragraph 4 became the new paragraph 3, which was amended and duly adopted.
With no comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.32 to inscribe Mesir Macunu festivalon the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The delegation of Turkey thanked the Committee for its active support, and was especially pleased for the community concerned.
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Falconry, a living human heritage [draft decision 7.COM 11.33] submitted by the United Arab Emirates, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the Syrian Arab Republic. Falconry is the traditional activity of keeping and training falcons to take quarry in its natural environment practiced in many countries throughout the world. Originally a way of obtaining food, falconry is today identified with camaraderie and sharing rather than subsistence. Falconry is mainly found along migration flyways and corridors, and is practiced by amateurs and professionals of all ages and genders. Falconers develop a strong relationship and spiritual bond with their birds, and commitment is required to breed, train, handle and fly the falcons. In its examination, it welcomed the ambitious collaboration of 13 countries, noting that the nomination had demonstrated that all criteria had been met. It took note of the efforts already underway in many countries to safeguard falconry and ensure its transmission, as well as the impact of the inscription in the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. The Subsidiary Body therefore recommended the inscription of the element on the Representative List.
The Chairperson noted that the nomination had been already inscribed in 2010 by 11 countries, and with the addition of Hungary and Austria proposed in this cycle reflected the broad practice of falconry.
With no comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.33 to inscribe Falconry, a living human heritageon the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
On behalf of all the submitting States, the delegation of the United Arab Emirates thanked the Committee and the Subsidiary Body for their efforts in the implementation of the Convention. As the coordinating State, the delegation was honoured to see its efforts translate into the broadening of partners joining the nomination, adding that it was not only the largest file so far, but was also the largest international community. The United Arab Emirates had recently hosted a falconry festival that combined arts and music in which 75 practicing countries exchanged experience at all cultural levels such that the nomination had scope for even greater enlargement. The delegation looked forward to building cross-border working relationships in the future, adding that it was working on other multinational files, remarking that it was often the falconers who initiated the nomination.
The delegation of Austria joined in the thanks expressed by the United Arab Emirates, thanking them for their efforts in coordinating the file. The delegation spoke of multinational files as excellent tools for celebrating common values and sharing traditions of companionship and mutual support across borders – typical among falconers.
The delegation of Hungary thanked the Secretariat and the Subsidiary Body for their work, and the Committee for its decision, as well as the partner countries for their cooperation. The delegation was confident that the Hungarian Falconry Association would contribute towards the practice of falconry and its safeguard.
The Chairperson appreciated the presence of the falconers attending the session.
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Al-Taghrooda, traditional Bedouin chanted poetry in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman [draft decision 7.COM 11.34] submitted by the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Al-Taghrooda traditional Bedouin chanted poetry is composed and recited by men travelling on camelback through desert areas of the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Short poems are improvised and repeated between two groups of riders often as antiphonal singing. The most important aspect is the social bonding during the oral exchange of verses. Poems are also chanted at weddings and other festivities, particularly camel races. Themes include sending messages to loved ones, relatives, friends or tribal chiefs, but also include the settlement of disputes and contemporary themes. In its examination the Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied criteria R.1, R.2, R.3, but that criterion R.4 and R.5 required additional information. It remarked on the similarities found in the draft decision 7.COM 11.26, corresponding to the nomination Al-Ayyala also submitted by Oman and the United Arab Emirates. With regard to R.4, the Subsidiary Body wished to find more information in section 4.c that demonstrated the possible existence of customary practices that restricted access to the practice. Furthermore, it noted the same wording as used in the Al-Ayyala nomination, also submitted by the same States Parties. Finally in R.5, although Al-Taghrooda seemed to be included in an inventory of intangible cultural heritage of the United Arab Emirates, nothing was found to demonstrate its inclusion in an inventory in Oman. Similarly, no references were found on the participation of the community. The Subsidiary Body therefore recommended a referral of the file to the submitting Party, which would enable it to provide the additional required information.
Seeking clarifications from the submitting States, the delegation of Egypt was confident that Al-Taghrooda had been included in an inventory.
The delegation of the Czech Republic found sufficient information on R.5 to conclude that the inventory had been established in conformity with Art. 11 and Art. 12 of the Convention. However, it sought an explanation from Oman as to why it had not furnished evidence that the element had indeed been inscribed on the inventory.
With regard to R.4, the delegation of Tunisia did not agree with the Subsidiary Body’s conclusion that there were possible threats to the element, especially as Al-Taghrooda was an ancient Bedouin practice.
The delegation of China noted that the nomination arose from fieldwork and meetings held in the regions concerned with the participation of the Al-Taghrooda bearer communities and tribal leaders, requesting that the submitting States be able to clarify this aspect of the file.
The delegation of Indonesia remarked that the Subsidiary Body had concluded that practitioners had been involved in the nomination process, but was concerned about whether customary practices were restricting access to the practice, which could be clarified by the submitting States. With regard to R.5, the delegation noted that the Subsidiary Body concluded that the element had been included in both inventories, and asked that the submitting States indicate references to community participation in the file.
The delegation of Uganda noted that the submitting States had indicated in R.4 that measures did not contradict customary practices, adding that some practices were not even allowed to be mentioned or written down. In R.5, the file clearly noted the inclusion of the element in the corresponding inventories. Thus, both criteria R.4 and R.5 were satisfied.
With regard to R.4, the delegation of the United Arab Emirates maintained that there were no customary practices restricting access to the practice of Al-Taghrooda, reaclling the general rule of the Committee that the State Party concerned is the best authority to appreciate and evaluate the cultural elements present on its territory. With regard to R.5, the delegation explained that both States proved that the element had been inscribed in both State inventories, adding that it had provided full documention, including photographic and video evidence, with regard to community participation and consent.
Endorsing the explanations given by the United Arab Emirates, the delegation of the Sultanate of Oman cited the reference contained in the file under R.5 that pertained to the community’s participation in the inventory, which stated, ‘Various communities and NGOs were actively involved in identifying ICH elements for the inventory list. The participation of bearers played an important role in establishing the national inventory and providing information about ICH elements’.
The delegation of Grenada returned to the question by the Czech Republic as to why Oman had not provided proof that the element had been inscribed in the inventory.
The delegation of the Sultanate of Oman assured the Committee that it had provided the published book of the inventory to the Secretariat and the Subsidiary Body since its first submisson in 2009, adding that only the reference to the element in the inventory was said to be required and thus it did not re-send the document.
The Chairperson proceeded to paragraph 1 of the draft decision, which was adopted.
Having listened to the explanations, the delegation of Egypt sought to amend paragraph 2.
Based on the explanations, the delegation of Indonesia proposed amendments to sub-paragraphs R.4 and R.5, which would read in R.4, ‘Several practitioners participated in the nomination process of Al-Taghrooda and granted their free, prior, and informed consent for its inscription. No customary practices restricting access to the practice exist’, and in R.5, ‘Al-Taghrooda is included in inventories in both submitting States. Both inventories had been drawn up with the participation of communities, groups and relevant non-governmental organizations and are regularly updated in conformity with Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention’, which was read out by the Chairperson.
The delegation of Belgium referred to the problem of remaining consistent, referring to the Oman file yesterday, which was referred in R.5 even though the information contained in both files was the same.
The delegation of Burkina Faso remarked that Oman had submitted documentation on the inventory and yet the Subsidiary Body appeared not to have had access, requesting clarifiation from the Secretariat in this regard.
The Secretary explained that the document in question had been submitted by Oman in its first submission as a national file, and was subsequently withdrawn by the submitting State before its examination by the Committee such that the document was not examined when the file was later submitted as a multinational file. The Secretariat had addressed a letter to the two submitting States requesting additional information for R.5, asking to provide evidence of the existence of the element in the inventory.
The delegation of China supported Indonesia’s amendments to criteria R.4 and R.5.
The delegation of Uganda supported Indonesia and China, requesting that ‘several practitioners were widely consulted’ be included in the amendment to R.4.
The Chairperson noted support for the amendment from Egypt, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Japan and Brazil. With no objections, the Chairperson then turned to sub-paragraphs 1-5, which were duly adopted. Consequently, paragraph 3 was deleted and paragraph 4 became the new paragraph 3, which was amended as ‘Inscribes’, and subsequently adopted.
The delegation of Belgium reiterated its regret on the lack of consistency, suggesting that a serious evaluation of the procedure be carried out.
With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.34 to inscribe Al-Taghrooda, traditional Bedouin chanted poetry in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Omanon the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Pleased with the result, the delegation of the United Arab Emirates spoke of its appreciation of the decision and the Committee’s understanding, adding that it respected all the voiced positions in what was a learning process. The delegation reiterated thanks to the Subsidiary Body for its efforts, and congratulated the communities concerned in both countries by thanking them for their cooperation and for making the inscription possible.
As Vice-Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body (in place of its Chairperson from Venezuela), the delegation of Morocco presented the next nomination on Venezuela’s Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi [draft decision 7.COM 11.35] submitted by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The small communities along the central coastal region of Venezuela celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi with dancers disguised as masked devils dancing backwards in penitence, while an official of the Catholic Church carries forth the Blessed Sacrament. At the climax of the celebration, the devils surrender to the Sacrament, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. The dancers or promeseros (promise-keepers) are lifelong members of a confraternity that transmit the historical memory and ancestral traditions. In its examination, the Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied all the criteria. It was particularly sensitive to the role that Corpus Christi confraternities, composed of adults, youth, men and children, but increasingly dancers, played in strengthening social cohesion through the transmission of memory and practices. These annual festivities are pinnacles of a much longer process in which the brotherhoods transmit their knowledge to future dancers through non-formal channels. Also noteworthy was the fact that the brotherhoods mobilized significant efforts to increase the visibility of the event without altering its constitutive role as a marker of identity for the practitioners. The Subsidiary Body therefore recommended the inscription of the element on the Representative List.
With no comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.35 to inscribe Venezuela’s Dancing Devils of Corpus Christion the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The delegation of Venezuela thanked the Committee for its decision, adding that the element was one of the most significant expressions of its traditional and popular culture across the country since the seventeenth century. The delegation spoke of Venezuela’s constitution that recognized cultural diversity and which protected its multi-ethnic community and cultural heritage. The delegation thanked its electoral group for maintaining support of Venezuela as member of the Subsidiary Body, as well as the presidency of CRESPIAL. A representative of the Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi thanked the Venezuelan authorities for the support given to the community.
[Performance of the Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi]
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body returned to present the next nomination on worship of Hùng kings in Phú Thọ [draft decision 7.COM 11.36] submitted by Viet Nam. Annually, millions of people converge on the Hùng temple at Nghĩa Lĩnh mountain in Phú Thọ province to commemorate their ancestors and pray for good weather, abundant harvests, good luck and good health. The largest ceremony, the Ancestral Anniversary festival is celebrated for about one week at the beginning of the third lunar month. Villagers dress in splendid costumes and compete to provide the best palanquin and most highly valued objects of worship. Communities make offerings of rice-based delicacies such as square cakes and glutinous cakes, and there are verbal and folk arts performances, bronze drum beating, Xoan singing, prayers and petitions. In its examination, the Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied all the criteria. It noted that the nomination had shown in detail that the communities of Mua, Treo and Vi Hung Lo, as well as university researchers and local and regional authorities had participated in the elaboration of the nomination and the implementation of safeguarding measures. It was impressed by the series of safeguarding measures that included research, education, promotion and awareness-raising, which also respected the sacredness of the ritual, as well as customary restrictions on access to certain aspects. The Subsidiary Body therefore recommended the inscription of the element on the Representative List.
With no comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.36 to inscribe worship of Hùng kings in Phú Thọon the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The delegation of Viet Nam thanked the Secretariat, the Subsidiary Body and the Committee for their decision to describe the element, adding that it was of significant importance to the nation with its embedded sense of history, culture, spirituality and social cohesion. The delegation spoke of the country’s resolve to fully implement the Convention in the transmission of the country’s intangible cultural heritage to future generations in the promotion of tradition and cultural values.
Congratulating Viet Nam, the Chairperson remarked that the size of the Viet Nam delegation reflected the importance the country attributed to the Convention’s work. He then thanked the Committee for its efforts and hard work during the examination of the files. The Chairperson noted that of the 36 nomination files to the Representative List four had been withdrawn, 32 nominations had been examined, 27 elements had been inscribed, of which 18 were recommended by the Subsidiary Body, while 8 decisions did not follow the Subsidiary Body’s recommendations. Commending the thorough and rigorous work of the Subsidiary Body, the Chairperson thanked the Rapporteur, Mr Tvrtko Zebec, for his comprehensive report reflecting the hard work of the Subsidiary Body, as well as its Chairperson, Mr Victor Rago, and its Vice-Chairperson, Mr Ahmed Skounti. The Chairperson noted that the Committee members had ended their work in June – beyond their terms of office because of the work that remained outstanding. Members of the Subsidiary Body and the Consultative Body stood to a rapturous round of applause.
Turning to draft decision 7.COM 11, the Chairperson recalled that some of the general and procedural recommendations by the Subsidiary Body coincided with those already discussed in decisions 7 and 8, so he did not wish to reopen lengthy discussions. Additionally, points in the draft decision concerned subjects previously raised by the Subsidiary Body in its reports to the Committee, which required adoption. The Chairperson outlined the INF.7 document that indexed the previous reports of the advisory bodies and previous Committee decisions concerning a number of transversal issues, adding that many of the shortcomings that led to the rejection or referral of a nomination had already been encountered. Thus, a body of precedents and jurisprudence was being created that would guide the Convention in coming years. The Chairperson asked Members to take the floor if they had any specific amendments to the draft decision.
The delegation of Belgium remarked that although the Committee contained 24 members, the fact that six of its members made up the Subsidiary Body posed a problem of credibility and independence, as one could not be both judge and jury. It posed the additional problem in that a quarter of the Committee members, serving as members of the Subsidiary Body, did not actively participate in the debates as a result. The delegation also raised the point that the Subsidiary Body had sought as far as possible a consensus on its decision to refer files, which in some cases led to a number of incoherencies in the evaluations and the unequal treatment of files between States Parties. The delegation believed that referrals should solely be used in the manner for which it was created, and took the opportunity to thank the Secretariat for its proposals to strengthen a certain number of points in the draft decision, notably paragraphs 15 and 16, which would facilitate the examination and evaluation process. The delegation proposed an amendment to paragraph 8, which would replace the current paragraph 8, which would read: ‘Requests the Subsidiary Body to use a limited and coherent number of the referrals so that it is only applied to cases concerning a lack of technical details’.
The delegation of Indonesia remarked that there were four filters through which elements passed before inscription: i) the evaluation by the State Party, which still required capacity-building in drafting nomination files, with the possibility that experienced States Parties help those that require technical assistance; ii) the evaluation by the UNESCO Secretariat, which had proved to be extremely helpful in providing comments and suggestions in improving nomination files, and States Parties should take heed of such advice as it would improve their chances of having the element inscribed; iii) examinations by the advisory bodies, which despite reversed decisions by the Committee did not indicate a lack of appreciation of the work of the bodies, though they could exercise less rigidity in their examinations; and iv) the plenary of the Committee, where the spirit of the Convention was apparent in the Committee’s and States Parties’ enthusiasm to inscribe elements.
The delegation of Czech Republic spoke of the desire by all that the Representative List serve to promote intangible cultural heritage for which the nomination files should be of the highest quality since they ensured greater visibility. For the sake of coherence, the difficult task of evaluation was given to the Subsidiary Body whose recommendations should therefore be appreciated and valued. For this reason, the delegation called for stricter rules so that the requirements of the nomination are scrupulously respected, with the referral option used only for technical and non-substantive clarifications. The delegation therefore supported the amendment by Belgium in this regard.
The delegation of Peru fully supported the amendment by Belgium, which it described as coherent, but suggested keeping the original paragraph 8 as well.
With regard to the point raised by Belgium on the participation of Subsidiary Body members during the debates, the delegation of Burkina Faso remarked on the different interpretations given by the Chairperson and the Legal Adviser, recalling that the Subsidiary Body ceased to exist once it had submitted its report to the Committee. The delegation therefore recommended that the terms of reference be clear on this point, particularly as some members were able to freely express their opinions while others were not.
The Chairperson agreed that there was indeed a need to clarify the situation, as the Subsidiary Body was still considered active during the examination of the nomination files.
The delegation of Latvia joined in the concerns expressed by Belgium and the Czech Republic on the application of the referral option, adding that there appeared to a broad interpretation of what constituted a technical detail.
The delegation of Japan expressed its gratitude to the Subsidiary Body for its hard work, adding that the original paragraph 8 on the referral option captured the spirit of the Convention. It concurred however with the rationale of Belgium’s amendment with regard to the coherent use of the referral option, and that it was difficult to define ‘technical details’, particularly as standards were constantly evolving.
The delegation of Spain agreed with all the comments and observations, though was hesitant about defining the terms of reference for the Subsidiary Body when the option of referral was not yet clear. Additionally, the notion of ‘technical details’ had to be clarified.
The Chairperson reminded the Committee that item 13.a would specifically deal with the referral option.
The delegation of Grenada supported Belgium’s amendment, adding that the ‘technical details’ should not be linked to the notion that a referral was in fact a polite No, adding that it was occasionally difficult to understand referrals in cases where several criteria had not been met.
The delegation of Azerbaijan thanked Belgium for its important proposal and supported its rationale, adding that it too had difficulty with the wording ‘technical details’, suggesting that the Secretariat elaborate in this regard, i.e. whether it implied an absence of documentary evidence or substantive information.
The Secretary agreed that the issue was indeed crucial, particularly as an option already existed that defined a nomination file as incomplete in the absence of obligatory information, for example, the file had to contain 10 photos before it could be submitted to the Subsidiary Body for consideration. Furthermore, three options were open to the Subsidiary Body related to the information contained in the file: i) it concludes that there is sufficient information to determine that the criterion is met; ii) it concludes that the there is sufficient information to determine that the criterion is not met; or iii) it concludes that the information contained in the file is unclear and requires additional information to determine whether or not the criterion is met. The Secretary added that the referral option was often used to request more information from the submitting State even when the Subsidiary Body considered that the criterion or criteria had not been satisfied, when in fact the referral option should only serve to allow the submitting State to clarify a point so that the Subsidiary Body can conclude one way or another. The Secretary further explained that the three options presented were in no way related to the absence of obligatory information.
Describing the Convention as young, the Chairperson spoke of the process of maturity that suggested that as body of experience grew the problems currently encountered would not arise in the future. The Chairperson spoke of the procedures as not perfect and that tough decisions had to be made during the sessions. He also noted that there was apparent lobbying taking place to support inscriptions, which only added to the confusion.
The delegation of Azerbaijan proposed an amendment to paragraph 10 to separate the two parts of the paragraph, whose latter part would read: ‘Further invites States Parties to refrain from using inappropriate vocabulary’, adding that the issue had also been brought up by the Rapporteur of the Subsidiary Body in his report.
The delegation of the Czech Republic proposed a minor amendment in paragraph 15 as the wording ‘out of place’ was misleading, proposing to replace it with ‘placed in wrong sections’.
The delegation of Grenada supported Azerbaijan’s proposal and suggested placing it as a separate paragraph as it not only concerned references to other countries but also terms such as ‘authenticity and ‘Masterpieces’. The Chairperson noted that the proposal would create a new paragraph 11.
The delegation of Peru proposed a sub-paragraph b. to paragraph 16, which would read, ‘Clear definition of the element as intangible cultural heritage’.
The delegation of Latvia supported the amendment by Czech Republic, but suggested replacing ‘wrong’ with ‘inappropriate’.
The delegation of Grenada understood the spirit of Peru’s proposal, but that the requirement placed too much responsibility on the Secretariat.
The Chairperson turned to the recommendations, beginning with the proposal by Belgium for a new paragraph 8, which was supported by Greece and others. With no objections, it was pronounced adopted.
The Chairperson turned to the next recommendation by Azerbaijan, which was supported by Grenada that also wished to enlarge the paragraph to include the misuse of inappropriate terms. The delegation of Azerbaijan and Belgium supported Grenada’s proposal, which would read: ‘Further invites them to refrain from inappropriate use of vocabulary.’ Paragraph 12 proposed by Azerbaijan would read: ‘Further invites States Parties to take care when elaborating nominations to avoid characterizing the practices and actions within other States in order not to inadvertently diminish such respect or impede such dialogue.’
The delegation of China understood the rationale behind Azerbaijan’s and Grenada’s proposal, but suggested that the wording ‘inappropriate use of vocabulary’ might lead to confusion, suggesting to introduce the comments of the Subsidiary Body in this regard, and would thus read: ‘Further invites them to be attentive in their formulations so that they do not inadvertently give rise to misunderstandings that undermine dialogue’.
The delegation of Belgium preferred to retain the original proposal by Grenada. The delegation of Grenada found that China’s proposal only referred to the first paragraph, while suggesting a minor change to the sentence, which would now read, ‘from using inappropriate vocabulary’.
With no voiced support, the delegation of China withdrew its proposal and supported Grenada’s proposal. With no further comments or objections, paragraph 12 proposed by Azerbaijan and paragraph 11 as proposed and amended by Grenada were pronounced adopted.
The Chairperson turned to the proposal by Czech Republic with the amendment by Latvia to replace ‘wrong’ with ‘inappropriate’, which was agreed by the Czech Republic. With no objections, the new paragraph 17 as amended was adopted.
The Chairperson then turned to Peru’s proposal. The delegation of Grenada remarked that the paragraph pertained to technical requirements of the nomination, and that it requested the Secretariat to determine whether or not the definition of the element was clear, which it considered was a responsibility of the Subsidiary Body.
The Chairperson added that it was the role and responsibility of the Subsidiary Body to evaluate the nomination file.
The delegation of Peru remarked that the definition of an element was at the forefront of the Convention. The Chairperson intervened to ask whether it was the role of the Subsidiary Body or the Secretariat to determine the definition or quality of the element. The delegation of Peru believed that the Secretariat could undertake a prior analysis of the nomination in this regard when it carried out the preliminary evaluation.
The Chairperson remarked that the Secretariat had already pointed out that the issue was covered in paragraph 18.a, which stated, ‘A response is provided in each and every section’. The delegation of Peru agreed that each section should be completed, but the mechanism with regard to the information was unclear. The delegation of Brazil supported Peru’s proposal.
The delegation of Spain remarked that the situation would be clearer if the Secretariat was said to review the more formal questions, while the Subsidiary Body would review the more substantive issues. In this way the proposal by Peru was ill-positioned, as only the Subsidiary Body could determine the status of an element as intangible cultural heritage.
The delegation of Burkina Faso concurred with the remarks by Spain, adding that even the Committee could not decide whether an element constituted intangible cultural heritage, particularly as an element practiced by a community was sufficient to deem it intangible cultural heritage. The issue therefore concerned the quality of the information provided, and it was neither up to the Secretariat nor the Committee to decide in this regard.
The delegation of Czech Republic endorsed the remarks by Spain and others. The delegation of Nicaragua concurred with Spain. The delegation of Brazil understood the position by Peru, but agreed with Spain and Burkina Faso in this regard.
The delegation of Peru withdrew its proposal.
The delegation of Belgium drew attention to the new paragraph 18.b. and its reference to the maximum number of words, suggesting that some flexibility be afforded to the French language, as recommended by the Subsidiary Body. The Secretary explained that a 15 per cent margin in the French version was already taken into account in the new nomination form for 2013.
The delegation of Morocco remarked that the Subsidiary Body had also recommended that submitting States use the maximum number of words permitted. The Secretary replied that a minimum number of words had also been introduced.
The delegation of Brazil agreed with defining a maximum and minimum number of words, but wondered about the case for multinational files. The Chairperson replied that the Secretariat had already dealt with the issue, in allowing more maximum words for multinational files.
With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.