Chairperson thanked the Chairperson of the Consultative Body for her detailed explanation. He recalled an important point made earlier by the Rapporteur in her report that occasionally elements had shown poor prospects for safeguarding and that the State did not always take a realistic view of the measures needed. In this case, it was obvious that if the language were no longer spoken, it would be difficult to revitalize the oral traditions that depend on a community of speakers. Though this situation was regrettable, a clear vision was called for, and that even if the Committee leaned towards optimism, the submitting State had not provided sufficient evidence to warrant optimism. With no voiced comments, the Chairperson moved to the adoption of the draft decision on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis, pronouncing paragraphs 1 and 2 adopted.
The delegation of Morocco spoke of the general threats to oral traditions of this type, noting a similar case in Bali in 2011 in which the Committee could not remain insensitive to the fact that there was a serious threat to the element owing to the limited number of practitioners. With regard to U.3 and the remarks by the Consultative Body that the safeguarding measures essentially focused on formal education and not on the working methodology, the delegation clarified that a programme of formal education could not be in place without a working methodology.
Noting that Morocco was referring to the Peruvian oral tradition of Eshuva, the Chairperson of the Consultative Body explained that there was a big difference in that although Eshuva is an oral sung tradition practiced by a few elderly practitioners, the entire community spoke the Eshuva language, making it possible to revitalize the tradition. The Chairperson also agreed that schools required a methodology, but that this had not been presented in the nomination file, which begged the question as to whether the twelve remaining speakers could teach the oral tradition in the context of formal education to children who did not speak Ongota, particularly as there was no sense of ownership since Ongota was not their language or culture. Thus, transmission would be based on rota learning with little opportunity to practice the tradition within a living community.
With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson pronounced paragraph 3 adopted. There were no further comments on paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 7, which were duly adopted.
The delegation of Brazil proposed that instead of adopting each paragraph, the Committee could be asked to adopt the entire decision. It also proposed a new paragraph 8, which read, ‘Encourages the State Party to submit a request for international assistance for documentation of the Ongota language in close collaboration with the Biraile community’, adding that it would be unfortunate should the endangered language cease to exist.
The delegation of Spain appreciated Brazil’s statement, adding that it was unhappy with the adoption of the decision, as it relegated the element to extinction since the oral tradition was clearly endangered.
The delegation of Belgium remarked that neither the decision nor an inscription prevented the State Party from implementing safeguarding measures. The delegation also sought clarification on the source of Brazil’s proposal, i.e. whether Ethiopia had made the request.
The delegation of Uruguay was grateful to Brazil and Spain for its remarks, adding that it supported the proposal.
The delegation of Grenada agreed with the remarks made by Belgium, and thanked Brazil for not wishing to close the door on the element. It therefore encouraged the State Party to continue its efforts, but that the Committee could not directly make reference to international assistance as this implied immediate approval of a request, whereas it involved a different process for which criteria had to be met. The delegation therefore proposed an amendment to the proposal, which read, ‘Encourages the State Party to continue the documentation of the Ongota language in close collaboration with the Biraile community’.
The delegation of Morocco supported the remarks by Spain and the proposal by Brazil, which sought to document the Ongota language, adding that it should also make reference to the Ongota oral tradition.
The delegation of Burkina Faso spoke of its concern with regard to the endangered nature of the element, adding that paragraph 7 about documenting the endangered language already invited the State Party to implement all the necessary measures, which could include international assistance or multilateral cooperation, and to mobilize resources to document the language. Thus, it corresponded to the proposed paragraph 8, rendering it unnecessary.
The delegation of Brazil clarified that because the State Party had been invited to document the Ongota language it should be encouraged to submit a request for international assistance, on the understanding that the criteria had to be satisfied.
The delegation of Nicaragua firmly supported the proposal by Brazil, Spain and Uruguay to encourage the State Party to make all the necessary efforts in the context of international assistance to safeguard the element.
The delegation of Nigeria also supported the proposal by Brazil, and the comments by Uruguay and Nicaragua, adding that the key word was ‘encourage’, which was not a mandatory action.
The delegation of Tunisia found Brazil’s proposal to be reasonable as it placed an ethical and cultural responsibility on the international community with regard to the endangered element.
The delegation of Peru supported Brazil for its specific proposal, as paragraph 7 was not sufficiently clear.
The delegation of Namibia also supported Brazil’s proposal because there were only twelve elderly speakers of Ongota and urgent action was required to safeguard this oral tradition.
The delegation of Belgium supported Burkina Faso in that only documentation was mentioned in the proposed amendment when a safeguarding programme was required.
The delegation of Grenada supported the remarks by Belgium and the proposal by Burkina Faso to withdraw paragraph 8.
Summarizing the comments, the Chairperson noted a consensus in that Brazil’s proposal was largely acceptable with regard to documentation, but also safeguarding, which would bolster the proposal. The Chairperson recognized and appreciated Burkina Faso’s remarks with regard to paragraph 7, but also noted consensus for the new paragraph 8, as it strengthened paragraph 7. The Chairperson therefore proposed to adopt paragraph 8 with the amendment to Brazil’s proposal with regard to safeguarding the oral tradition, which would read: ‘Encourages the State Party to submit a request for international assistance for documentation in view of the safeguarding of the Ongota language in close collaboration with the Biraile community’. With no further comments, the Chairperson pronounced paragraph 8 adopted. Thus, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 8.2 not to inscribe Ongota oral traditionon the Urgent Safeguarding List.
The delegation of Ethiopia regretted the decision with little expectation that the language will be revitalized in the years to come. The delegation appreciated Brazil’s proposal, adding that it would do all it could to seek international assistance to document, safeguard and perpetuate the Ongota language.
The Chairperson of the Consultative Body presented the next nomination on Noken multifunctional knotted or woven bag, handicraft of the people of Papua [draft decision 7.COM 8.3] submitted by Indonesia. Noken is a knotted net or woven bag handmade from wood fibre or leaves by communities in Papua and West Papua Provinces of Indonesia. It is used for carrying plantation produce, catch from the sea or lake, firewood, babies or small animals as well as for shopping and for storing things in the home. Noken may also be worn or given as peace offerings. However, the number of people making and using Noken is diminishing. Factors threatening its survival include lack of awareness, weakening of traditional transmission as a result of competition from factory-made bags, and the problems in obtaining the traditional raw materials. The Consultative Body concluded that the file fully satisfied all five criteria. The Consultative Body was positively impressed with the commitment and efforts past and present by the submitting State to safeguard the craft and practice of Noken through concrete action. It therefore recommended its inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List. With regard to paragraph 4 of the draft decision, the Consultative Body proposed to recognize the efforts by the State in its broad consultation with and participation of the communities throughout the nomination process as a whole. In paragraph 5, the State is encouraged to ensure the social function and cultural significance of Noken and to implement its safeguarding measures. Paragraph 6 proposed to encourage the State Party to respond specifically to the threats relating to the scarcity of raw materials and to seek to strengthen the capacities of Noken practitioners.
The delegation of Japan expressed its sincere appreciation to Indonesia and the people of Papua for their efforts to safeguard Noken, and therefore strongly supported its inscription.
With no further comments, the Chairperson introduced the paragraphs one-by-one, with paragraph 1 pronounced adopted.
The delegation of Burkina Faso proposed an amendment to paragraph 2 under U.3, which replaced ‘informal’ education with ‘non-formal’, which was duly adopted.
With no further amendments to the paragraphs, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 8.3 to inscribe Noken multifunctional knotted or woven bag, handicraft of the people of Papua on the Urgent Safeguarding List.
The delegation of Indonesia was honoured to introduce the Vice-Minister for Culture of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Prof. Wiendu Nuryanti. On behalf of the communities, the Vice-Minister thanked all those who had supported the Noken nomination as well as those who participated in the preparation of the nomination file, which she said would stimulate its safeguarding. She introduced Mr Titus Pekei, member of the delegation and Chairman of the Papua Ecology Institute, who initiated the nomination. Prof. Nuryanti added that Noken was an important part of the intangible cultural heritage of more than 250 ethnic communities in Papua and as such comprised many cultural variations and contributed to mutual respect. She understood that inscription was the beginning of efforts to safeguard Noken and revive the social functions and cultural meaning of the element. She concluded by thanking the Secretariat, the Consultative Body and the Committee.
The Chairperson thanked the Vice-Minister and the Chairman for their presence.
With the withdrawal of the nomination from Kenya, the Chairperson of the Consultative Body presented the next nomination on Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak, art of Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets [draft decision 7.COM 8.5] submitted by Kyrgyzstan. Traditional felt carpets are one of the foremost arts of the Kyrgyz people. Knowledge, skills, diversity, the semantics of ornamentation, and ceremonies provide Kyrgyz people with a sense of identity and continuity. The creation of felt carpets is a community-led tradition carried out by older women in rural mountainous areas. However, the tradition is in danger of disappearing due to the declining number of practitioners, the lack of government safeguarding, the disinterest of the younger generation, the dominance of inexpensive synthetic carpets, and the poor quality and low availability of raw materials, which are exacerbating the situation. The Consultative Body concluded that criteria U.1, U.2, U.4 and U.5 had been satisfied but not U.3 regarding the safeguarding measures. It found that the file had adequately demonstrated that the art of Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets provided a sense of identity to the nomadic life of the communities, but that its viability was threatened owing to a lack of a safeguarding policy and the scarcity of the raw materials. However, the submitting State did demonstrate the participation of carpet-makers in the preparation of the file as well as in the inscription of the element on the national inventory of intangible cultural heritage. Moreover, there were several shortcomings in U.3 on the safeguarding measures, which were common to a number of submitted files. The Consultative Body wished to highlight that U.3 was not a simple exercise of abstraction but a fundamental part of the nomination file to the Urgent Safeguarding List. In this case, several safeguarding measures such as outreach, documentation and capacity-building were mentioned, but was primarily focused on the economic aspects of the carpet industry with no information pertaining to the aspirations and priorities of the community concerned. Moreover, the contribution by the State Party appeared minor with regard to the ambitious safeguarding plan, with the Consultative Body having difficulty in understanding the feasibility and implementation of the proposed measures from the information given in the file. Consequently, it did not recommend its inscription. The Chairperson of the Consultative Body drew attention to the additional remarks made by the Consultative Body in paragraphs 5, 6, 8 and 9 of the decision. In paragraph 7, it reminded the submitting State to avoid characterizing practices within other States, which did not conform to the spirit of mutual respect.
The Chairperson remarked that the nomination clearly reflected the difficulties encountered by several submitting States in elaborating concrete and feasible safeguarding plans, which presented another challenging issue. The Chairperson suggested focusing the discussion on U.3.
The delegation of Japan commended Kyrgyzstan for its nomination, though noted from the Consultative Body’s report that the crucial participation of the community was not well demonstrated in the safeguarding plan. The delegation wished to ask Kyrgyzstan how it would secure the widest participation of the community in the safeguarding measures.
The delegation of Kyrgyzstan began by thanking the Consultative Body for its useful recommendations. With regard to Japan’s question, the delegation explained that it had involved all the main felt-carpet producers throughout the country and the 50 most important bearers, comprising 11 groups of felt-makers, who together had devised the safeguarding plan. Moreover, the chief representatives of all of the groups signed the consent letter. The delegation strongly believed that handicrafts should have strong links to the markets if it had any chance of survival, and the reason why the file had made reference to craft fairs and tourist organizations.
The delegation of Morocco found that the safeguarding measures were both significant and ambitious with seven noted action plans. Nevertheless, it understood the concerns by the Consultative Body with regard to aspects of over-commercialization, which come back frequently vis-à-vis the Committee. The question was whether States Parties should choose to discreetly ignore to mention the commercial dimension of crafts in their nominations or whether commercialization should be considered as an integral measure in safeguarding the element. A clear direction was therefore needed so as to strike a balance between safeguarding and commercialization, particularly with crafts, especially as the issue was a recurrent concern. For the sake of coherency, the Committee should therefore clearly pronounce its position in this regard.
The delegation of Brazil agreed that the economic aspects of craftsmanship should not be overlooked, as it was an interesting aspect of the creative economy. It believed marketing to be a safeguarding measure and therefore proposed to inscribe the element. The delegation also wished to allow Kyrgyzstan more time to explain its reasoning on the question of the financial sustainability of the different activities as listed in its nomination file, Brazil considered that marketing could be also a safeguarding measure and proposed to consider only half of the paragraph.
The Chairperson reiterated that the submitting State Party could only respond to a specific question.
The delegation of Brazil repeated that the question was specific and concerned the financial sustainability of the activities mentioned in the file.
The delegation of Czech Republic also agreed with the previous speakers that marketing was important in keeping crafts sustainable. However, the key issue concerned the involvement of the communities in the transmission of the element. The delegation added that young people could be enticed into the craft if they could imagine future perspectives.
The delegation of Peru welcomed the ambitious and wide-ranging nomination by Kyrgyzstan that demonstrated the huge efforts that had been undertaken by the submitting State. Referring to paragraph 3 of the draft decision, the delegation noted that the safeguarding measures did not appear to involve the community, yet in U.4 it was stated that the community had participated in the preparation of the file, suggesting that the issue of community participation should not be brought up in U.3. It also sought further information from the submitting State on the implementation of its safeguarding measures.
The delegation of Spain supported the remarks by Morocco and Brazil, adding that the issues of commercialization and safeguarding should be dealt with in a conciliatory manner rather to put commercialization and safeguarding in confrontation.
The delegation of Indonesia appreciated the fact that the Consultative Body based its evaluation purely on the information contained within the text of the file. However, having visited the carpet-making region in Kyrgyzstan, the delegation made known that the felt-makers were carrying out their craft at a cottage industry scale with no apparent commercialization or industrialization. The delegation therefore suggested that the Committee grant the submitting State the chance to have the element inscribed, with an additional comment in the draft decision that suggested Kyrgyzstan to concentrate on safeguarding aspects within its social and cultural framework rather than on its commercial aspects.
The delegation of Burkina Faso agreed with the remarks by Indonesia that craftsmanship could generate income for the community, which would contribute towards safeguarding and thus its sustainability. However, it was important that commercialization does not supplant the cultural essence of the element. The delegation also sought clarity with regard to the remark made by the Chairperson of the Consultative Body concerning the territorial boundary of the element.
The delegation of Belgium agreed with Morocco on the need to debate the relationship between safeguarding, the economic sphere and sustainable development with constructive guidance in the Operational Directives on how to progress on this matter. The delegation noted that questions arose on community participation and the involvement of the State Party based on information contained in the file, with page 5 of the nomination form suggesting that the State Party was not yet enough interested in the process. The delegation added that these questions could be solved in a future submission of the file.
The delegation of China described the element as valuable, important and endangered, and believed that the safeguarding plan was a solution albeit ambitious. With regard to the financial resources for implementation, it shared the opinion expressed by Morocco.
The Chairperson noted the important issues raised, notably the issue of commercialization that should be introduced into the Operational Directives, in line with the remark by Spain that commercialization and safeguarding should not oppose each other but instead coexist.
The delegation of Azerbaijan expressed appreciation for the enormous work carried out by the Consultative Body. Referring to the recurrent issue of over-commercialization, as was seen in files from Morocco and Belarus in previous cycle, the delegation agreed that endangered handicrafts needed marketing. Referring to the draft decision in which there was a lack of information on the financial resources of the safeguarding measures, the delegation drew attention to the fact that the different projects had referred to the responsible actors and budgetary resources. With regard to community participation, it noted that there were so few practitioners left in that field of art that it would hard to imagine that any of the bearers would oppose the inscription of the element on the Urgent Safeguarding List.
The Chairperson then turned to the submitting State Party with the two specific questions on the involvement of the communities and the sustainability of the practice.
The delegation of Kyrgyzstan replied that it had already responded to the first point on community participation in that all the practitioners as well as the government supported the nomination since the element symbolized Kyrgyz traditional handicrafts. With regard to sustainability, the delegation believed that marketing was the most effective tool to safeguard traditional handicrafts as part of intangible cultural heritage, adding that many of the activities were carried out to implement safeguarding, which was different to the production of tourist souvenirs. It further explained that the price of the items was three times the cost of raw materials, compared to souvenirs that were 17 times the base cost, making it virtually impossible to commercialize the product, which should be considered an art form. Based on a necessary marketing approach, sustainable practices would therefore be carried out along three routes: cultural tourism, museum activities, and handicraft activities.
With regard to the question by Burkina Faso on the characterization of territorial aspects of nominations, the Chairperson of the Consultative Body clarified that the Consultative Body had solely based its comments on the information provided in the file, and that the submitting Party could have provided additional information on how the safeguarding measures related to the communities and ensured the continuity of the element in its original context. The file had shown that traditional carpets were uncompetitive compared to industrial carpets with the Consultative Body suggesting safeguarding measures that improved the quality of the hand woven carpets so as to make them more competitive. The Consultative Body also found that the ambitious safeguarding plan did not substantively explain how it would be implemented or how it would be financed. With regard to commercialization, the Consultative Body recognized that traditional arts and crafts were often geared towards commercial sale, referring to the Botswana file on pottery-making that had proposed to diversify its product range to expand its commercial network, which was seen as an appropriate safeguarding measure. The Consultative Body was therefore not against commercialization in principle, but that the Kyrgyz file had placed too much emphasis on this aspect of the safeguarding plan instead of other safeguarding aspects such as strengthening transmission.
The Chairperson noted the divergent views and proposed to proceed with the draft decision on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. With no comments on paragraph 1 it was duly adopted.
Having listened to the submitting State, the delegation of Brazil was satisfied that U.3 had been met and would enable the community to continue its practice, therefore proposing that U.3 join paragraph 2, as it currently appeared in paragraph 3 of the draft decision.
The Chairperson read out the amendment to paragraph 2 by Brazil, which read, ‘A five-year safeguarding plan involves various activities including legislative and policy measures, improving the availability of raw materials, strengthening transmission and promoting greater awareness, at home and abroad, of the Kyrgyz carpet-making art’.
The delegation of Morocco supported the amendment, which fully reflected the debate, proposing to insert an additional paragraph that would invite the submitting State to consider paragraphs 116 and 117 of the Operational Directives that cautioned against over-commercialization of intangible cultural heritage. The Chairperson suggested to first consider Brazil’s amendment, which was accepted by Morocco.
The delegation of Spain supported the amendment by Brazil and the remarks by Morocco.
The delegation of Greece thanked the Secretariat and the advisory bodies for their great work, and joined Brazil, Morocco and Spain in support of the amendment and the need for a wider discussion on the issue of commercialization versus safeguarding.
The delegation of Japan also joined Brazil’s amendment and Morocco’s remarks concerning the important issue of commercialization.
The delegation of Belgium agreed that a discussion on sustainability, economics and safeguarding should take place, but that a number of issues raised by the Consultative Body had not been answered such as the lack of information on financial resources or sustainability on financing. Thus, it did not agree with the amendment.
Taking into account the priority status of the Urgent Safeguarding List, the delegation of China supported the proposal. The delegation of Egypt also supported the amendment, and the remarks by Morocco.
The delegation of Burkina Faso found alarming that the safeguarding measures were solely based on a strategy of commercialization, adding that the element belonged to a community, which was essentially its primary market. Thus, if the carpets were uncompetitive within the marketplace then it was destined to disappear.
The delegation of Madagascar began by thanking the Secretariat and the Consultative Body for their hard work. The delegation supported the amendment by Brazil, suggesting that it was important to consider safeguarding and commercialization, both reflected in the Operational Directives. It found important to look for a balance between safeguarding the element and the need to commercialise as it contributed to create livelihood within the community.
The delegation of Peru supported the amendment by Brazil, adding that the comments made by the Consultative Body were important and should be included in the paragraphs of the decision. The delegation felt that the question of markets for intangible cultural heritage should be tackled on a case-by-case basis, while it appeared that the communities had been involved in the preparation of the nomination file.
The delegation of Tunisia supported the amendment as it accurately reflected the debate, which was also supported by Nigeria.
The delegation of Grenada understood the rationale for the amendment, but it also recognized that inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List was neither the beginning nor the end of safeguarding, and that that there was insufficient information provided in the file, as underlined by the Consultative Body. The State should therefore be requested to complete the file so that it more fully responded to the criteria. Moreover, it was unclear how the practitioners would benefit from the commercialization of their products with the necessary intellectual property rights.
The delegation of Azerbaijan supported the proposal by Brazil and the view that the issue of over-commercialization should be more clearly defined in the Committee’s future work.
The Chairperson noted that the majority were in support of Brazil’s amendment and as such it was time to move to the adoption of paragraph 2 as amended. With no further comments, the Chairperson pronounced paragraph 2 adopted. As a result, paragraph 3 was deleted. At the same time, paragraph would be amended to read, ‘Decides to inscribe…’, with the deletion of the latter part of the paragraph that ‘invites the State Party to submit a revised nomination’. The paragraph was duly adopted.
In line with its earlier remark, the delegation of Belgium wished to add a new paragraph that linked the adopted paragraph 3 to a number of concerns raised by the Consultative Body and several members of the Committee, which would encourage the State Party to take into account the sustainability of the financial resources and to ensure the participation of the practitioners in the implementation of the safeguarding measures.
The delegation of the Czech Republic supported Belgium, as the financial aspects of safeguarding plan were indeed important.
The delegation of Belgium thought that paragraph 4 was already adopted and wished to include its paragraph after the new paragraph 4.
The Chairperson then introduced paragraph 4, which began, ‘Takes note of the ambitious safeguarding plan…’.
The delegation of Grenada suggested that first part of paragraph 4 be completed with the first part of the amendment by Belgium, which would read, ‘Encourages the State Party to take into account the sustainable sources of funding’, and deleting the latter part of the Belgium amendment, as the reference to community participation was well defined in paragraph 8.
The Chairperson thus noted in the new paragraph 4 an amendment by Grenada to the additional text proposed by Belgium, which would now read: ‘Takes note of the ambitious safeguarding plan proposed by the submitting State and its strong focus on economic promotion, and encourages the State Party to take into account the sustainable sources of funding.’ The Chairperson then drew attention to the new paragraph 7 which ‘Invites the State Party to facilitate the widest possible participation of the practitioners […]’, which responded to the second part of Belgium’s proposal, adding that the amendment on community participation was therefore unnecessary, as it was already cited.
The delegation of Belgium agreed with the suggestion, but wished to clarify the wording of its amendment, which should read, ‘encourages the State Party to take into account funding sources and their sustainability’.
With no further comment or objections to the revised amendment, the Chairperson pronounced the new paragraph 4 adopted. Paragraph 5 was also adopted.
The delegation of Brazil proposed deleting the original paragraph 6, as it was general in nature and should in fact be inserted in draft decision 7.COM 8.
The delegation of Morocco supported the proposal by Brazil, as the paragraph made reference to a general statement addressed to all the States Parties. The delegations of Peru, Nigeria and Nicaragua also supported Brazil’s proposal.
The delegation of Grenada wished to remind States Parties that nomination files were made public and that the paragraph did in fact relate to the file, adding that leaving out ‘characterizing the practices within other States’ might be interpreted as being acceptable.
The delegation of Spain supported the deletion of the paragraph as it considered the general statement to be irrelevant in this case.
The delegation of Greece agreed that such a comment did not have a place in the decision, but it also agreed with Grenada’s logic that it should be known that it was an unacceptable point in the file.
The delegation of Azerbaijan fully agreed with Grenada that such characterization should be avoided. However, it was unable to locate the reference to safeguarding measures of other States and asked the Consultative Body for further information in this regard.
The Chairperson of the Consultative Body did not have the file at hand but nevertheless confirmed that a reference had been made about another State Party.
The Chairperson asked Brazil whether it would accept a compromise and move paragraph 7 to the end of the decision.
The delegation of Grenada wondered whether a reference to imported Kazakh carpets was the sentence in question.
The delegation of Burkina Faso wondered whether the sentence could in fact be removed in a revision of the file, otherwise paragraph 7 [new paragraph 6] should be maintained.
The Legal Adviser confirmed that the Committee could delete or modify the sentence in question. He also understood that Brazil sought to transfer the paragraph to the chapeau of the draft Decision 7.COM 8 as a general recommendation since it referred to all States Parties.
In the spirit of compromise, the delegation of Brazil suggested new wording specific to the file such as, ‘regrets that the nomination file made reference to practices in other territories’.
The delegation of Azerbaijan fully supported the proposal by Grenada that references should not be made about other States Parties, and favoured retaining the paragraph with a more specific oriented wording.
The Legal Adviser noted that both Brazil and Azerbaijan had expressed the Committee’s general opinion, which would read, ‘Regrets that the nomination file characterizes practices of other States’.
The Chairperson read aloud the new paragraph 6, and with no further comments it was pronounced adopted. New paragraphs 7 and 8 were also adopted.
The delegation of Morocco reminded the Committee that it had submitted a new paragraph. The Chairperson cited Morocco’s proposal, which read: ‘Invites the State Party to consider paragraphs 116 and 117 of the Operational Directives in the implementation of planned safeguarding measures.’
The delegations of Spain, Grenada, Burkina Faso and Egypt supported Morocco’s proposal.
With no objections, the Chairperson pronounced paragraph 9 adopted and moved to the whole decision. With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 8.5 to inscribe Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak, art of Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets on the Urgent Safeguarding List.
On behalf of the community, the delegation of Kyrgyzstan thanked the Chairperson, the Consultative Body and the Committee for its decision to inscribe the element, while reassuring all that the art of Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets would not become extinct.
The Chairperson of the Consultative Body presented the next nomination on Letsema, villagers coming together to accomplish heavy tasks communally [draft decision 7.COM 8.6] submitted by Lesotho. ‘Letsema’ is a Sesotho word associated with a form of communal work to accomplish a difficult task that would otherwise take a single person days or weeks to complete. For example, in the collection of stones for house construction and the threshing of sorghum or wheat. Letsema has a festive character and is accompanied by food, singing, poetry and ululation. The element strengthens family ties and encourages solidarity. However, the popularity of Letsema is dwindling as a result of increased migration from rural to urban areas. The Consultative Body had many concerns with this nomination and unfortunately found that none of the criteria were satisfied. In U.1, the Consultative Body found that the definition and scope of the element in the nomination file lacked clarity. Moreover, more information would have been necessary to understand the cultural significance of the practice within the daily life of the community. With regard to U.2, the threats identified such as the lack of interest of the youth and population migration were not the result of a precise analysis of the safeguarding needs of Letsema. With regard to safeguarding measures in U.3, the Consultative Body found the proposed actions to be too general, while no financial resources were indicated in the file. In U.4, the Consultative Body sought wider community participation in the preparation of the nomination file reflected in the documents of free, prior consent that explicitly mention the nomination to the Urgent Safeguarding List and Letsema. Finally, in U.5, more information was needed on the inclusion of the element on an inventory of intangible cultural heritage elaborated with the participation of the communities concerned, even if it was understood that the nomination emerged from a capacity-building project, including a pilot project on inventories. Thus, the Consultative Body concluded with a recommendation not to inscribe the element. Additional paragraphs to the draft decision had commended Lesotho for having presented a nomination that recognized a system of mutual assistance as an expression of intangible cultural heritage. Additionally, paragraphs 6 and 7 invited the submitting State to work closely with the communities to define the social and cultural significance of the element, while elaborating safeguarding measures that involved the practitioners in the long-term viability of the element. In paragraph 8, it encouraged the submitting State to pay careful attention to the requirements of the nomination form and to provide more detailed information in each of the sections. Finally, in paragraph 9, the Consultative Body wished to remind submitting States that the inscription of an element on the Urgent Safeguarding List did not imply the granting of financial assistance.
Noting that none of the criteria had been considered as satisfied, the Chairperson opened the floor.
The delegation of Namibia was pleased with Lesotho’s attempt to present its element for inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List, adding that Letsema was common to a number of Southern African countries with which many delegations could identify. The delegation hoped that Lesotho would pursue its efforts to ensure that the element – an expression of togetherness, mutual support and solidarity – could be safeguarded. The delegation concluded by thanking the Consultative Body for its guiding comments which would enable Lesotho to work harder and carry the process of nomination forward.
The delegation of Spain congratulated Lesotho for its nomination file, which clearly demonstrated intangible cultural heritage with strong underlying values of solidarity and classless social cohesion.
The delegation of Morocco also wished to congratulate Lesotho for presenting its interesting nomination, but regretted that the Consultative Body could not look favourably upon the file, as it would have broadened the understanding of intangible cultural heritage. It noted that many countries as Morocco had similar expressions of solidarity, particularly in rural areas to accomplish tasks that benefitted the entire community and reinforced the society.
The delegation of Burkina Faso agreed that the element was important, adding that it also existed in Burkina Faso to accomplish significant community tasks. It noted that the Consultative Body had remarked that its recommendation did not call into question the intrinsic value of the element. Thus, giving Lesotho an opportunity to revise its nomination.
The delegation of China joined the speakers in congratulating Lesotho on its nomination, but regretted that none of the criteria had been satisfied. The delegation was certain that Lesotho would return with an improved file for inscription in a future cycle. It also noted the exceptional nature of that case with no criteria satisfied, which further emphasized the importance of capacity-building at the national level in the preparation of nomination files.
Fully agreeing with China, the delegation of Egypt also congratulated Lesotho, reiterating the need for the capacity-building programme to meet the different needs of States Parties.
The delegation of Belgium also remarked on the originality of the nomination, but regretted that none of the criteria had been satisfied, although this did not imply that the nomination would not become an excellent multinational file to be submitted together with other neighbouring countries sharing similar practices. The delegation of Latvia supported Belgium’s suggestion.
The delegation of Tunisia also remarked that the nomination represented human values of sharing.
Noting that the comments represented the general sentiment of all, the Chairperson turned to the draft decision, and with no comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 8.6 not to inscribe Letsema, villagers coming together to accomplish heavy tasks communally on the Urgent Safeguarding List.
Noting that Lesotho was not present in the room, the Chairperson recalled the important points raised, namely, the importance of capacity-building and assistance afforded to the submitting State in the re-submission of its file, and the potential submission of a multinational file suggesting that assistance of more experienced neighbouring countries could be provided. The Chairperson remarked that the file clearly showed its significant value and that the submitting State should be encouraged to re-submit an improved file, with perhaps offers of assistance from more experienced countries.
The Chairperson of the Consultative Body presented the nomination on Bigwala, gourd trumpet music and dance of the Busoga Kingdom in Uganda [draft decision 7.COM 8.7] submitted by Uganda. Bigwala music and dance is a cultural practice of the Basoga people performed during royal celebrations and in social occasions. A set of five gourd trumpets is blown in hocket, which accompanies drummers, singers and dancers. The lyrics of the songs narrate the history of the Basoga, focusing in particular on their king. However, there are only four remaining old masters with skills in and knowledge of Bigwala. As a result, Bigwala is performed infrequently, which poses a real threat to its survival. Having remarked on the careful preparation of the file, the Consultative Body concluded that the file fully satisfied all five criteria. It took note of the importance of Bigwala music and dance during royal ceremonies, and in paragraph 4, it encouraged the submitting State to closely cooperate with the royal authorities in safeguarding the element. Paragraph 5 invited Uganda to pay particular attention to strengthening the capacities for the transmission of Bigwala to younger generations and to begin safeguarding measures in 2013 rather than in 2014, if possible. Finally, paragraphs 6 and 7 encouraged the State to establish a strict link between the planned activities, the stakeholders involved and the budget allotted during the implementation of the safeguarding measures, as well as an inventory of similar traditions elsewhere that might improve the safeguard of Bigwala within the Basoga community.
The Chairperson noted with satisfaction that two of the three nominations having received favourable recommendations had come from Africa. Moreover, Uganda was a beneficiary of the capacity-building programme supported by the UNESCO/Flanders Funds-in-Trust in that the inventory mentioned in the nomination was a direct result of that programme. With this in mind, the Chairperson suggested inserting a paragraph in the decision that underscores the importance of capacity-building efforts.
With no further comments, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 8.7 to inscribe Bigwala, gourd trumpet music and dance of the Busoga Kingdom in Uganda on the Urgent Safeguarding List.
The delegation of Uganda extended its appreciation of the Consultative Body’s work on all the nominations, recalling that Uganda had ratified the Convention in 2009 with the nomination representing its first submission to the Urgent Safeguarding List, which highlighted its importance as a benchmark for other nominations. On behalf of the Basoga community, the delegation also thanked the Committee for approving the inscription and pledged to commit to its safeguarding plan and more quality nominations in the future. The delegation also thanked the Secretariat for its guidance and the UNESCO/Flanders Funds-in-Trust for supporting its work on the inventory.
The Chairperson of the Consultative Body presented the nomination on Ingubhamazwi, tanning and dyeing of the multi-coloured poncho of the Nyubi people of southern Zimbabwe [draft decision 7.COM 8.8] submitted by Zimbabwe. The practice of tanning and dyeing Ingubhamazwi multi-coloured ponchos is found among the Nyubi people of Southern Zimbabwe. The ponchos are traditionally much-prized as gifts by husbands to their wives, and signify an expression of beauty, status and love. The main material is animal skin, which is tanned and turned into a hide or soft leather, to which colouring from natural extracts of indigenous trees, decorations and designs are then applied. Only three elderly men possess the complete set of skills and knowledge to produce the garment. The Consultative Body found that only U.1 was satisfied, and that Zimbabwe had clearly demonstrated how the practice of tanning and dyeing the multi-coloured poncho is closely linked to the identity of the Nyubyi community. However, it sought a clearer explanation of the specific threats faced by this cultural practice, which would have satisfied U.2. In U.3, as seen in the previous cases, there was a noted lack of precise information on the safeguarding measures, which did not seem to respond to the threats directly linked to the situation of the practice concerned. Moreover, there was no evidence of commitment from the State Party – essential to safeguarding the element. In U.4, the Consultative Body sought broader community participation in the preparation of the file beyond the consent of the chief and several of the elders. Finally, in U.5, more information was required to demonstrate that the communities will be involved in the ongoing inventorying process. Paragraph 5 of the draft decision highlighted the Consultative Body’s concern vis-à-vis the viability of the practice, which seemed to have lost its social function as a result of the transformations of Nyubi life. Paragraph 6 highlighted the rapport between the submission of the file and UNESCO’s capacity-building programme, and paragraph 7 encouraged the State Party to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the programme so as to devise effective safeguarding strategies for the tanning and dyeing of the poncho. Finally, paragraph 8, encouraged Zimbabwe to ensure that safeguarding measures aimed at revitalizing the production of the poncho did not lead to a loss of the element’s social functions and cultural significance within the community.
The delegation of Grenada congratulated the submitting State on nominating the element, and thanked the Consultative Body for its remarks and advice, noting that Zimbabwe also benefitted from the capacity-building programme hoping that Zimbawe would soon submit a file satisfying the requested criteria.
With no comments or objections, the Chairperson turned to the paragraphs of the draft decision and pronounced paragraphs 1–2 adopted.
The delegation of Morocco suggested the deletion in paragraph 3 of the last part of the sentence concerning criterion U2 as it is was felt overly harsh, which was supported by the delegations of Grenada,Belgium, Egypt, Brazil and China.
With no further amendments, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 8.8 not to inscribe Ingubhamazwi, tanning and dyeing of the multi-coloured poncho of the Nyubi people of southern Zimbabwe on the Urgent Safeguarding List.
The delegation of Zimbabwe was pleased to note that U.1 was satisfied, and appreciated the professionalism of the Consultative Body reflected in its suggestions and recommendations with regard to the four criteria that had not been met, which would provide guidance in the revision of the file.
The Chairperson remarked on the productive session, adding that unsuccessful States had demonstrated their resolve to improve their files for the next cycle, and highlighted that some work had to be done in terms of capacity building. Following a number of practical announcements, the Chairperson adjourned the morning session.