The Chairperson turned to the item on the date and the venue of the next Committee session in 2013, adding that the Director General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, received an invitation from Azerbaijan expressing its wish to host the Committee’s eighth session in early December 2013 on the occasion of the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Convention.
The delegation of Azerbaijan repeated its pleasure to formally invite the Committee to Baku for its eighth session. The Committee accepted its kind offer by acclamation.
The Chairpersonthanked Azerbaijan for its kind offer, adding that the session would be particularly special given the tenth anniversary of the Convention.
The Secretary explained that the Operational Directives provided that the Committee meet in November each year, but that it may exercise some flexibility. In 2013 the General Conference of UNESCO was scheduled to take place 4–19 November, while Indonesia was hosting a World Conference on Culture on 24–29 November, which many delegations will attend, including the Director-General. Thus, together with the Director-General and the Azerbaijani authorities, the Secretary confirmed 2–8 December as the date of the next Committee session.
The Chairperson then turned to the draft decision. With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 17.
The delegation of Azerbaijan wished to thank the Secretariat and to congratulate all the States Parties that had elements inscribed, including the element submitted by Azerbaijan on Craftsmanship and performance art of the Tar, a long-necked string musical instrument on the Representative List. The delegation spoke of its gratitude, honour and privilege to host the next Committee session in Baku on the occasion of the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the 2003 Convention. The delegation spoke of the country’s commitment to the Convention, which was considered one of its main priorities, particularly as it was at the cultural crossroads of many civilisations, reflecting its deeply rooted sense of cultural tolerance and respect.
[Film projection on Azerbaijan]
Thanking Azerbaijan for its kind offer, the delegation of Brazil remarked on the two additional days allocated to the session, adding that it hoped this would prevent the occurrence of evening sessions, particularly as States Parties took the opportunity of intermissions to consult with each other.
ITEM 18 OF THE AGENDA:
ELECTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BUREAU OF THE EIGHTH SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE
The Chairperson recalled that in accordance with Rules 12 and 13 of its Rules of Procedure, the Committee shall elect its Bureau consisting of a Chairperson, one or more Vice-Chairpersons and a Rapporteur who shall remain in office until the end of the next ordinary session. In accordance with Rule 13.4, the Committee, in electing the Bureau, shall have due regard to the need to ensure equitable geographical representation and a balance among the various fields of intangible cultural heritage.
The delegation of the Czech Republicwished to propose the Minister for Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, Mr Abulfas Garayev, as Chairperson of the eighth session.
The Chairperson noted support for the nomination from Belgium, Peru, Greece and Japan, which was accepted by acclamation.
With regard to the election of Vice-Chairpersons, Electoral Group I proposed Greece.
Electoral Group IIwas represented by the Chairperson from Azerbaijan.
The Chairperson noted the Bureau members nominated: Greece, Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Burkina Faso and Egypt. The Chairperson then turned to the election of the Rapporteur.
The Chairperson suggested Ms Ling Zhang (China), which was accepted by acclamation.
With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 18.
ITEM 20 OF THE AGENDA:
The Chairperson opened the floor for general discussion.
The delegation of Azerbaijan noted a spelling error in the name of the next Chairperson.
The delegation of Morocco spoke of the relationship between the Committee and the Subsidiary Body. The functions of the bodies for the implementation of the Convention are defined by the text of the Convention and the Operational Directives, giving each organ a specific role, which individually contributed to the process of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. The delegation remarked that six members of the Committee serve in the Subsidiary Body in conformity with Art. 8.315 of the Convention and paragraphs 29, 30 and 31 of the Operational Directives in which it evaluates the nomination files to the Representative List submitted by States Parties. Members of the Subsidiary Body, representing their States in the Committee, exercise their function in both organs. The delegation added that new elements or clarifications on nominations during the period of the Subsidiary Body’s term might appear during the Committee’s session debates, which often provided a necessary overview of the nomination examined. The delegation believed that the sovereignty of the Committee was not in conflict with the expertise of the Subsidiary Body. Moreover, occasionally the Committee or even a member of the Subsidiary Body could take a different position than the recommendation proposed by the Subsidiary Body. The delegation remarked that the Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body had made efforts to reach consensus during its sessions and had provided the relevant information to the Committee to facilitate a rich and productive dialogue, adding that there was nothing in the procedure preventing members of the Subsidiary Body from exercising their function as Committee members. The sole concern guiding the Subsidiary Body in its work was the ideal of objectivity in the examination of files that included taking into consideration clarifications when provided by the submitting State Party. Reminding the various discussions during this session and the previous one on intangible cultural heritage and commercialization, the delegation concluded by inviting States Parties to a seminar on intangible cultural heritage and economy to be hosted by Morocco.
The delegation of Grenadawished to propose a draft resolution that thanked all States Parties for their contributions to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, regardless of the amounts contributed.
The Chairperson recalled that Decision 7.COM 19 thanked three countries for their specific contributions, while the proposal sought to thank all countries that had contributed to the Fund from the last General Assembly to the present, and so encourage further contributions. With no objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 20.1.
The delegation of Grenada recalled Decision 7.COM 7, Decision 7.COM 8 and Decision 7.COM 11 that provided recommendations to States Parties on how to complete nomination files, proposing that in the draft decision the Secretariat and the States Parties apply the recommendations to all the mechanisms, as appropriate.
The delegation of Belgiumwondered why adopted decisions were being reopened. The Chairperson explained that the draft decision proposed to recall the decisions already adopted so that States Parties could take them into consideration when preparing nomination files to any of the mechanisms.
The Secretaryexplained that Decision 7.COM 11 referred to nominations to the Representative List, but that the recommendations contained within it, i.e. on the technical completeness of files, were also relevant and applicable to the other mechanisms.
The delegation of Nicaragua wondered about the date from which the draft decision would apply, and whether the decisions would have an impact on nominations currently being examined.
The delegation of Grenada explained that the draft decision sought to ensure consistency among the mechanisms so that the requisite technical detail in one nomination form is applied to the other nomination forms of the other mechanisms. The proposed draft decision would apply at the same time as the other decisions taken during the Committee’s present session.
The Chairperson reiterated that the recommendations made in one particular mechanism would be harmonized across all the mechanisms.
The delegation of China remarked that the amended versions of the decisions adopted were not fully known. The delegation wished to know the content of paragraph 13 in 7.COM 7 for example. The delegation of Grenada explained that it had submitted the text to the Secretariat.
The Chairperson read out paragraph 13, which had already been adopted, ‘States Parties are welcome within the established deadlines to revise files to provide additional information needed for the examination but decides that it cannot examine new files on different subjects that are substituted in place of those originally submitted and requests the Secretariat to return such substitute files to the submitting States without proceeding to the evaluation or examination during the cycle concerned’.
To avoid confusion, the delegation of Belgium suggested to first adopt the List of Decisions before turning to the final decision that sought coherency across all the decisions.
The Chairperson reiterated that the decisions had already been adopted, and that Grenada sought simply to harmonize the decisions across all the mechanisms.
The delegation of Azerbaijan clearly understood the rationale and supported the amendment, as it repeated the principles adopted for the Representative List so that it could be applied to the other mechanisms.
With no objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 20.2.
The delegation of Indonesia congratulated Azerbaijan for its offer to host the next Committee session, as well as the Chairperson for his excellent leadership that would serve as a best practice in the future. The Chairperson thanked Indonesia for its kind words.
The delegation of Spain fully supported the statement made by Morocco on the work of the Subsidiary Body, suggesting that it serve as guidance in Azerbaijan next year. The delegation explained that the examination of files by members of the Subsidiary Body took months, consuming a lot of time and effort, and that they should therefore be able to share their findings with the Committee throughout the Committee’s session. In this regard, the delegation wished to establish an understanding of open dialogue concerning objections and comments on the files that the Subsidiary Body might wish to openly voice.
The delegation of China congratulated the Chairperson for his professionalism and Azerbaijan for its generous offer, extending its gratitude to the Committee for nominating Ms Ling Zhang as Rapporteur in its next session. With regard to item 13.d, the delegation recalled that the Convention emblem was selected at the second General Assembly in 2008 from over 100 proposals, yet the meaning of the emblem was seldom explained in detail, with the sole known example being an interview with the graphic designer. The delegation believed that the correct use of the emblem should be based on the proper understanding of its meaning. In China for example, the emblem’s meaning was often asked whenever it was used to promote the Convention at local and national levels. The delegation asked the Secretariat to provide information on the meaning of the emblem, particularly when it is associated with commercial activities. In this way, misuse or misinterpretation of the emblem would be avoided. The Secretary took note.
In light of the tenth anniversary of the Convention, the delegation of Brazil offered to contribute US$200,000 to support the global capacity-building strategy in developing countries, which was welcomed by a round of applause. The Chairperson thanked Brazil for its kind gesture.
The delegation of Burkina Faso wished to add its voice to the expressions of gratitude to the Chairperson for his guidance, as well as congratulations to the States Parties that successfully inscribed their elements. It also congratulated Azerbaijan for its offer to organize the eighth Committee session. The delegation also supported the statement made by Morocco and Spain with regard to the participation of the Subsidiary Body members in the Committee debates. It also wished to remind the States Parties that had not received a favourable recommendation that the referral was an opportunity to improve their nomination files in a subsequent cycle. The delegation spoke of the referral option as having been established to fill technical gaps in the nomination file, but that its meaning was slowly being lost, reminding States Parties to consider the communities behind the nominations when submitting files. The Chairperson thanked Burkina Faso for its continually focused remarks.
The delegation of Pakistan wished to thank the Chairperson, the Secretariat, the advisory bodies and the Committee, adding that it was honoured to have participated in the session, which it described as a learning experience and an excellent opportunity to observe the commitment of States Parties towards their elements. This was indicative of the high priority bestowed by high-offices in States Parties, NGOs and individuals to elements of intangible cultural heritage. The delegation spoke of the discussions as having provided a congenial environment in which to move forward, adding that it would further work with UNESCO in this spirit.
The delegation of Belgium thanked the Chairperson for his management of the session, and the Secretariat for preparing the working documents and for its continued assistance.
The delegation of the Czech Republic also wished to thank the Committee, the advisory bodies for their thorough work, and the Secretary and her team for their professional guidance. The delegation thanked the States Parties for their submissions, which reminded the Committee of the common goal of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. The delegation concluded by thanking the interpreters, and the Chairperson for his leadership.
The delegation of BruneiDarussalam congratulated the Chairperson and the Secretariat for the excellent organization of the meeting, and Azerbaijan for its offer to host the next meeting. The delegation spoke of its pleasure in having participated for the first time since it ratified the Convention in 2011. It congratulated the advisory bodies for their hard work and for their reports, which it considered as learning platforms. The delegation noted the important issue of capacity-building, particularly in the preparation of nominations, adding that unsuccessful attempts at inscription did not in any way reflect the value of the element submitted, and it fully supported the programme.
ITEM 21 OF THE AGENDA:
ADOPTION OF THE LIST OF DECISIONS
The Chairperson then turned to the adoption of the List of Decisions, citing Rule°43 of the Rules of Procedure in which it stipulates that the report of the Committee will be adopted in the form of a list of decisions, which the Rapporteur would verify together with the Secretariat. The decisions shall be published in the two working languages in the month that follows the closure of the Committee session. Rather than reading aloud the decisions, the Chairperson asked the Committee to entrust the Rapporteur and the Secretariat to validate the List of the Decisions taken during the session.
The Secretary explained that a draft of all the decisions would be made available online in the evening.
With no objections, the Chairperson pronounced the suggested approach adopted.
ITEM 22 OF THE AGENDA:
CLOSURE OF THE SESSION
Document ITH/12/7.COM/INF.22 Rev
The Chairperson remarked that the meeting had come to the end of its five days of intense and fruitful work, and gave the floor to the Assistant Director-General for Culture, Mr Francesco Bandarin for his closing remarks.
Mr Bandarin conveyed the Director-General’s great satisfaction on the results of the important and constructive meeting. He spoke of the impressive list of achievements with now 288 elements on the Representative List and the Urgent Safeguarding List, and 10 programmes on the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices. Mr Bandarin spoke of his appreciation of the festive atmosphere that prevailed with a number of welcome lively performances of intangible cultural heritage. He concluded by congratulating the Committee for its contributions, the Rapporteur for her work, the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairpersons for their effective management of the meeting as well as the Secretary and the Secretariat for their work.
The Chairperson concluded by congratulating the Committee for the great results achieved, which had seen the Representative List enriched with the inscription of 27 new elements, the Urgent Safeguarding List with 4 new elements, and 2 programmes as best representing the objectives of the Convention. The Chairperson thanked the Rapporteur for preparing the List of Decisions together with the Secretariat, and the Vice-Chairpersons who skilfully conducted the sessions in his absence, as well as the dedication of the members of the Bureau. The Chairperson expressed his deep gratitude to the Secretary and her team for the excellent preparation of the meeting and for their commitment and hard work. He also warmly thanked the interpreters for agreeing to accommodate the extended sessions that demonstrated their commitment and dedication, which was greeted with a round of applause. The Chairperson thanked the technical team and the security staff for their discreet but invaluable contributions to the success of the meeting.
The Chairperson officially declared the seventh session of the Committee closed.
1. Art. 29: The States Parties shall submit to the Committee, observing the forms and periodicity to be defined by the Committee, reports on the legislative, regulatory and other measures taken for the implementation of this Convention.
2. Rule 16.2: If the Rapporteur ceases to represent a State Member of the Committee or if he is for any reason unable to complete his term of office, he shall be replaced by a Vice-Chairperson, after consultation within the Committee, for the remainder of the term of office.
3. Art. 29: The States Parties shall submit to the Committee, observing the forms and periodicity to be defined by the Committee, reports on the legislative, regulatory and other measures taken for the implementation of this Convention.
4. The ‘intangible cultural heritage’, as defined in paragraph 1 above, is manifested inter alia in the following domains: (a) oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; (b) performing arts; (c) social practices, rituals and festive events; (d) knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; (e) traditional craftsmanship.
5. Rule 49: The Committee may suspend the application of any of these Rules of Procedure, except when they reproduce provisions of the Convention, by a decision taken in plenary meeting by a two-thirds majority of the States Members present and voting. Rule 22.4: Representatives of a State Party, whether or not a Member of the Committee, shall not speak to advocate the inclusion in the lists mentioned in Articles 16 and 17 of the Convention of an item of the intangible cultural heritage nominated by that State or to endorse a request for assistance submitted by that State, but only to provide information in reply to questions raised.
6. Paragraph 4: At each session the Committee may explicitly call for proposals characterized by international cooperation, as mentioned in Article 19 of the Convention, and/or focusing on specific priority aspects of safeguarding.
7. Chapter I.3: Criteria for selection of programmes, projects and activities that best reflect the principles and objectives of the Convention.
8. ‘Criterion P.8 requires that “the programme, project or activity features experiences that are susceptible to an assessment of their results”. Provide concrete examples of assessments that have been already carried out or will be carried out.’ (‘en train d’être menées’ in the French version [being carried out]).
9. Identification and definition of the element. Section 1(v): ‘Is there any part of the element that is not compatible with existing international human rights instruments or with the requirement of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals, or with sustainable development?’
10. Respect for customary practices governing access to the element. Section 4.c: ‘[…] demonstrate that inscription of the element and implementation of the safeguarding measures would fully respect [any] customary practices governing access to specific aspects of such heritage’.
11. Art. 37 of the Rules of Procedure: Except where otherwise specified in these Rules, all decisions of the Committee shall be taken by a simple majority of the States Members present and voting.
12. Paragraph 33: The Committee determines two years beforehand, in accordance with the available resources and its capacity, the number of files that can be treated in the course of the two following cycles. This ceiling shall apply to the set of files comprising nominations to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, proposals of programmes, projects and activities that best reflect the principles and objectives of the Convention and international assistance requests greater than US$25,000.
13. Paragraph 36: Nominations for the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity that the Committee decides to refer to the submitting State for additional information may be resubmitted to the Committee for examination during a following cycle, after having been updated and supplemented.
14. Art. 150 of the Operational Directives: The Secretariat and the States Parties should closely cooperate in order to prevent any unauthorized use of the emblem of the Convention at the national level, in liaison with competent national bodies and in line with the present Operational Directives.
15. Art. 8.3: The Committee may establish, on a temporary basis, whatever ad hoc consultative bodies it deems necessary to carry out its task.