The Chairperson resumed work on the draft decision 7.COM 7 of the agenda, which had been suspended until all the decisions on the Consultative Body’s work had been completed, as well as the adoption of draft decision 7.COM 10. The Chairperson explained that decision 7.COM 10 addressed some of the issues that were encountered in the examination of the nine international assistance requests, namely: i) to acknowledge the efforts of States Parties that highlighted the contribution of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage to sustainable development; ii) the importance of ensuring consistency and rigorous correspondence between the proposed activities, their timetable and the budget; iii) the importance of an accurate budget that reflected not only the amount requested but also the financial or in-kind contribution of the requesting State; iv) the need to describe and justify the methods and approaches used in the proposed activities, since they are key in the examination of the appropriateness and feasibility of the project. The Chairperson opened the floor to other transversal issues that the Committee wished to address in the chapeau decision.
With no comments or amendments forthcoming, the Chairpersondeclared adopted Decision 7.COM 10.
ITEM 7 OF THE AGENDA (CONT.):
REPORT OF THE CONSULTATIVE BODY ON ITS WORK IN 2012
Decision 7.COM 7
The Chairperson then turned to the draft decision 7.COM 7, recalling that the decision was a result of the observations made by the Consultative Body on the three mechanisms it examined, as presented by the Rapporteur in her report on Monday. It also presented a number of general issues raised during the debates. The Chairperson summarized them as follows: i) the increasing number of States Parties emphasizing the contribution of intangible cultural heritage to sustainable development; ii) the importance of taking into account the relevant decisions of the Committee and reports of its two advisory bodies when preparing and submitting files; iii) the importance of not only providing all the necessary information but of providing it in the proper place; iv) the spirit of mutual respect that should guide the preparation of files; v) the key role that communities play in both the preparation of files and the planning and implementation of safeguarding measures, and the need for States Parties to find creative ways to ensure their widest possible participation; vi) the request to the Secretariat to filter out any file that has been substituted in place of the original file midway through the process.
With regard to the second point, the Chairperson recalled that the Secretariat had compiled an information document, which indexed the previous reports of the advisory bodies as well as the previous decisions of the Committee concerning a number of transversal issues, adding that States should take heed of that history. The Secretariat would duly update the document to reflect all the decisions taken during the present session. The Chairperson also recalled that a general debate on the above issues had already taken place [on Monday] following the Consultative Body’s oral report. The Chairperson therefore invited Committee members to consider any general considerations on the three mechanisms that they would like to introduce into the draft decision.
The delegation of Brazil spoke of the meticulous work of the Consultative Body that was going in the right direction with regard to Best Safeguarding Practices and Urgent Safeguarding List. However, despite the good evaluations by the Consultative Body on the international assistance requests, the delegation felt that the guidelines were too strict, arising in a situation where funds were available but the requests were not approved. The delegation felt unhappy that a number of States Parties in real need of resources had found their requests declined, adding that the Committee should reflect on a possible revision of the guidelines or how to better assist States Parties in submitting more successful files.
The delegation of Belgium recalled the long discussions on commercial activities, safeguarding and sustainable development, noting Morocco proposal to refer to paragraphs 116 and 117 of the Operational Directives under the chapeau of commercial activities related to intangible cultural heritage. The delegation believed that more guidance was needed and proposed to insert a new paragraph 6 to the draft decision, which would read: ‘Taking note of the discussions about safeguarding, commercialization and sustainable development, the Committee invites the Secretariat to propose draft directives about this topic for the next session of the Committee, elaborating among others paragraphs 116 and 117 of the Operational Directives’.
The Chairperson remarked that the proposals would be dealt with when going through the individual paragraphs.
Returning to the decision on Nigeria’s request for international assistance, the delegation of Nigeria reassured the Committee that all the observations would be taken into account in the resubmission of its file.
Approving the spirit of the decision, the delegation of Grenada noted the reference to former decisions and reports when preparing files, adding that it was not always easy for States Parties. The delegation wished to introduce two recommendations that had been apparent during the examination of the two files, namely, that States Parties develop a more sustainable safeguarding plan with focused activities within a feasible timeline and clearly identified budget sources, as well as to recall that inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List did not imply the granting of financial assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.
The delegation of Indonesia concurred with Brazil’s remarks regarding the non-disbursement of available funds for international assistance requests. However, it recognized the strict rules in UNESCO in this regard, which could not be modified. In this way, emphasis should be placed on capacity-building and information-sharing in the preparation of requests for international assistance.
The Chairperson then turned to the draft decision 7.COM 7 on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. There was no change to paragraphs 1–5, which were duly adopted. The Chairperson then introduced the proposal by Belgium [new paragraph 6]. The delegation of Morocco supported Belgium’s proposal.
The delegation of Latvia also supported Belgium’s proposal, adding that the issue of sustainability was indeed a recurrent issue. The delegation of China supported Belgium’s proposal with an amendment to delete ‘the Committee’ as the decision itself was taken on behalf of the Committee. The delegation of Grenada supported the amendment.
With no further comments or amendments, the Chairperson pronounced paragraph 6 adopted. There was no change to new paragraphs 7–9, which were duly adopted.
The delegation of Grenada referred to the decisions from the two files 7.COM 8.5 and 7.COM 8.9 and sought to introduce them into the draft decision, which would read: ‘Invites the State Party to develop sustainable safeguarding plans with more focused activities, feasible timeline and clearly identified sources of budget.’
The delegation of Egypt sought an explanation on the rationale of the amendment.
The delegation of Grenada explained that the issue was a recurrent problem in many submitted files, with the amendment recalling the importance of being attentive to these points. The delegations of Belgium and Latvia supported the proposal. The delegation of Indonesia also supported the proposal and suggested ‘timelines’.
The delegation of Uganda also supported the proposal and suggested ‘further encourages’, which was supported by Japan. The delegation of Morocco agreed with the proposal but had a slight reservation about the reference to ‘sustainable safeguarding’, as the term did not exist in the Convention and as such had not been defined, suggesting instead ‘a sustainable plan of safeguarding’.
Noting a consensus for Grenada’s proposal with the amendment by Uganda, the Chairperson pronounced adopted the new paragraph 10.
The delegation of Grenada wished to propose a second amendment as paragraph 11 taken from decision 7.COM 8.6 and 7.COM 8.9, which would read: ‘Recalls that the inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding does not imply the granting of financial assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund’.
The Chairperson noted support for the proposal from Peru, Belgium, Nigeria, Czech Republic and Indonesia. With no objections, paragraph 10 was adopted.
The Chairperson turned to the new paragraph 12 [former paragraph 9], which was duly adopted. With no change to the new paragraph 13, it was also adopted.
The delegation of Peru proposed a final paragraph, which read: ‘Encourages the States Parties to request preparatory assistance for the development of proposals in accordance with paragraphs 18 and 19 of the Operational Directives’.
The delegation of Spain thanked Peru for the proposal, which was in line with its own proposal and also covered Brazil’s earlier remark on international assistance. The delegation was similarly disheartened to note that only two requests had been approved from the ten requests submitted, particularly from those countries needing urgent assistance to safeguard their intangible cultural heritage. The delegation suggested a series of training options be developed for the preparation of the application requests.
The delegation of Morocco supported the proposal by Peru, adding that the Committee should also regret the limited number of inscriptions and approvals, while emphasizing the importance of capacity-building in this regard. The delegation also suggested ‘nominations’ in place of ‘proposals’.
Supporting Peru’s proposal, the delegation of Grenada noted that capacity-building was not the sole problem, adding that nomination forms should be clear in the information they sought, as information not contained under the right section was not considered in the evaluation. The delegation therefore suggested that the Secretariat look into clarifying the instructions under the sections of the nomination form.
The delegation of Brazil concurred with the remarks by Spain on international assistance, and supported the proposal by Peru. The delegation of Kyrgyzstan also supported Peru’s proposal. The delegation of Namibia supported Peru’s proposal and endorsed the remarks made by Spain on strengthening the capacity of States Parties in the preparation of good application requests.
The delegation of Uruguay supported Spain’s position and others who considered that the approval of requests should be the rule and not the exception, which would ultimately fulfil the objectives of the Convention.
For the sake of clarity, the Secretary explained that ‘preparatory assistance’ was a financial assistance under the Operational Directives, which was granted solely under two mechanisms: the preparation of nominations to the Urgent Safeguarding List and the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices. Additionally, the wording ‘development of nominations’ referred specifically to the two lists; the Secretary surmising that the proposal wished to make reference to requests for international assistance. With this in mind, the Secretary suggested changing the wording to reflect the idea that the Committee encourages the Secretariat to facilitate the submission by States Parties of international assistance requests.
The delegation of Tunisia agreed that the formulation could resolve the problems encountered in the preparation of the nominations, while clarifying that the assistance sought was of a technical nature.
The delegation of Japan suggested the ‘elaboration of nominations’.
The delegation of Belgium drew attention to inconsistencies in the wording, for example ‘candidatures’ in the French version was not a term officially used in the texts.
Taking into consideration Peru’s proposal, as well as the suggestions from Committee members, the Secretary suggested the following, ‘Encourages States Parties to request technical assistance from the Secretariat and from other States Parties for the elaboration of nominations, proposals and particularly requests for international assistance’.
The delegation of Burkina Faso expressed slight reservations about the paragraph as it suggested that the Secretariat did not at present offer technical assistance to States Parties. The delegation remarked on the success of its own file, which had been greatly aided by the assistance and availability of the Secretariat, while commenting on the welcome addition of ‘States Parties’ in offering assistance.
The Chairperson thanked Burkina Faso for its thoughtful observation. The delegation of Burkina Faso nevertheless supported the proposal.
The delegation of Grenada concurred with the remarks by Burkina Faso, noting that the amendment was not in line with Peru’s proposal, and suggested alternative wording, which was subsequently withdrawn.
The delegation of Indonesia concurred with the remarks by the Secretariat on preparatory assistance, and supported the paragraph proposed. The delegations of Nigeria and Uganda also supported the proposal.
The delegation of Peru remarked that its original proposal focused on Art. 18 and Art. 19 of the Operational Directives in which States Parties were encouraged to seek preparatory assistance for the drafting of nominations, which best reflected the spirit of the Convention.
The Chairperson suggested a paragraph that introduced the reference to the stated articles.
In light of the remarks by Burkina Faso, the delegation of Morocco proposed, ‘Reminds States Parties that the Secretariat is available to provide assistance in the preparation of nominations, proposals and requests submitted to the Committee’. The delegation added that ‘proposals for inscription’ had not been used in the 2003 Convention so as to distinguish it from the 1972 Convention.
The Chairperson was unhappy with the proposed wording, requesting a representative of the Secretariat, Burkina Faso, Peru and Indonesia to form a small sub-committee to draft a paragraph that reflected the discussion and to return later in the session with its proposal.
ITEM 11 OF THE AGENDA:
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 then turned to item 11 of the agenda and document 11+Add.3. He recalled that it was clear that the Committee in Bali could not examine the 214 nominations submitted in the present cycle (or submitted but not yet examined in previous cycles), and had therefore set a ceiling limit of 62 files. In this way, each submitting State would have the possibility to have one nomination of its choice examined, with priority awarded to multinational files. The result was that 38 nominations to the Representative List were identified as priorities for the 2012 cycle. The Subsidiary Body evaluated 36 of those files of which two were not completed on time and three were subsequently withdrawn by the submitting State, leaving 33 nominations to examine. Drawing upon the recommendations of the Subsidiary Body, the Committee’s task was to decide whether each nomination satisfied all five of the criteria for inscription. The Chairperson invited the Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body, Mr Victor Rago (Venezuela) to the podium together with the Rapporteur, Mr Tvrtko Zebec (Croatia). The Chairperson took the opportunity to remind the Committee of the inscription criteria, which were read aloud. The Chairperson also sought to examine all 33 nomination files in the course of the day and asked that Committee members submit any recommendations they may have ahead of the discussions in an effort to save time.
The Rapporteur of the Subsidiary Body began with a general overview of the 2012 nomination cycle including the Subsidiary Body’s working methods and general observations. The Rapporteur recalled that in Bali in 2011, a Subsidiary Body was established for the evaluation of nominations to the Representative List, composed of Spain, Croatia, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Islamic Republic of Iran, Burkina Faso and Morocco. Mr Victor Rago (Venezuela) was elected as Chairperson, and Mr Ahmed Skounti (Morocco) would serve as Vice-Chair. Mr Tvrtko Zebec (Croatia) was elected Rapporteur. It was recalled that a total of 38 files were to be evaluated by the Subsidiary Body, but one State was unable to complete its file for the 2012 cycle, while a multinational nomination was similarly withdrawn.
With regard to the working methods, the Rapporteur remarked that they were similar to those for the Consultative Body with the Secretariat establishing a password-protected, dedicated website through which members could consult the nomination files, as well as the Secretariat’s requests for additional information. In the case of referred files from a prvious cycle, the decisions adopted by the previous Committee were also made available. Members could enter their evaluation reports directly through the website, while the Secretariat drew up summaries for each nomination and drafted recommendations to reflect the opinions. Of the 36 nominations, there were divergent opinions for all but two files submitted by India and the Republic of Korea. In the Subsidiary Body’s second meeting in September, in which each nomination was evaluated collectively, the resulting recommendations and draft decisions represented for the most part unanimous consensus. In two cases, full consensus on all criteria could not be achieved, and the Committee was presented with options for consideration. Members who were nationals of a nominating State Party did not evaluate the nominations nor had access to the reports of the other members, and left the meeting room during the evaluations.
With regard to general observations, the Rapporteur recalled that the Subsidiary Body evaluated 36 files, including five referred files, of which four were multinational files, including two new nominations, one extended multinational nomination, and one referred multinational nomination. The Subsidiary Body was impressed with the diversity of intangible cultural heritage nominated, and was gratified to see a broader and more inclusive geographic representation among the 2012 files than in past cycles, with several States submitting nominations for the first time, including Austria, Niger and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Subsidiary Body was also pleased to note that some submitting States emphasized the important contribution of intangible cultural heritage to such larger processes as conflict resolution, peace-building and environmental sustainability. It also appreciated and welcomed the submission of several complex elements representing multiple domains, which were said to expand awareness worldwide of the diversity of intangible cultural heritage and its various forms of expressions. The Rapporteur reiterated that recommendations not to inscribe an element in no way constituted a judgement on the merits of the element, but referred only to the adequacy of the information presented in the nomination file. It was therefore important that submitting States provide a complete and convincing presentation of the element. The Subsidiary Body observed a general improvement in the quality of many nominations, thanks to the detailed requests for additional information by the Secretariat. Conversely, it regretted that it could not favourably recommend a large number of nominations, since they did not convincingly demonstrate that the criteria were satisfied.
The Rapporteur outlined the recurrent shortcomings, which were attributed to the following: i) poor linguistic quality, presenting a substantial obstacle to comprehension, particularly as the clarity of the available nomination files would affect its public visibility; ii) the duplication of text from another nomination was considered unacceptable, even if it emanated from the same State or responsible body (with the notable exception of the criterion 5 on the inventory, which might be similar from one file to another); iii) the use of inappropriate vocabulary, such as references to ‘authenticity’, ‘masterpieces’, ‘original’, ‘unique’, ‘exceptional’, ‘correct’, ‘ancient’, ‘the world heritage of humanity’, ‘labelization’, ‘branding’, and so on (other concepts such as ‘national symbol’, ‘cultural resistance’ could also be confusing to outside readers and States were requested to refrain from such usage); and iv) information that was presented in the nomination form but not in its proper place. In this cycle, the Subsidiary Body had decided to consider the nomination in its entirety, but many readers encountering the nomination online might be puzzled as to how it reached its conclusion when the information was not found in the right place. For this reason, it now recommends that the Committee decide that incorrectly placed information should not be taken into consideration.
The Rapporteur noted that this was the first year in which the ICH-02 nomination form was used, which offered certain advantages to many States, but might also have introduced challenges for others. For instance, the introduction of sub-sections within each criterion helped some States to organize their information and present it systematically, but it may also have contributed to a tendency among other States towards a fragmentation of the desired information as well as difficulty in providing information in its proper place. Similarly, the check-boxes introduced in several sections may have created as many opportunities for confusion or contradiction. In some cases, information asserted in the check-boxes were not well explained or justified in the corresponding narratives. The Rapporteur also drew attention to the technical problem of exceeding the word limits in the ICH-02 form. The 2012 Subsidiary Body had agreed to evaluate the nominations exceeding the limits, but in several cases the allowance was tripled, creating inequality among States respecting the limits. It therefore recommended that such nominations should not be evaluated or examined, though multinational nominations would be allowed higher word limits. It also suggested increasing the word limit in the French nomination by 15% to account for the different character of the language. Conversely, the Subsidiary Body also found that some States had used only a quarter or third of the permitted word count, suggesting that the Secretariat revise form ICH-02 to set out a minimum limit. It also suggested that a 10% margin be allowed between the upper and lower limits. Another technical problem concerned the optional videos submitted by all States Parties in which several films were lacking valuable information content because they were poorly edited or were not accessible in English or French. The Subsidiary Body recognized the importance of these videos in the evaluation of files and for the part they play in contributing towards public understanding of the element once inscribed. The Subsidiary Body therefore suggested that the videos be subtitled in one or other of the working languages. Moreover, it was suggested that the videos be made obligatory, since all nomination files to the Representative List were accompanied by videos. As in previous cycles, the Subsidiary Body again found that submitting States often had a tendency to make assertions in the nominations rather than providing evidence to support their claims. Although the veracity of statements was assumed, the Subsidiary Body still wished to see those statements supported by detail and substance. This topic is particularly related to the question of documentary evidence submitted with regard to criterion R.4 and R.5. Despite the lower number of files submitted for examination, the Rapporteur remarked on the pressure to timely conclude all 36 files during a five-day meeting. The Subsidiary Body regretted that in two cases it was unable to reach a consensus on all criteria, but nevertheless had worked diligently to give full attention to each nomination.
With regard to the criteria for inscription, the Rapporteur remarked that of the 18 nominations that did not receive a favourable recommendation, six were unsuccessful owing to a single criterion, most often criterion R.1 or R.5. In 2012, 12 of the 18 files that fell short did so on two or more criteria. Notably, as in the three previous cycles, criterion R.2 was never the sole criterion not satisfied, but was instead often a contributing factor. With regard to criterion R.1, the criterion most often not satisfied (in ten cases during this cycle), the Subsidiary Body encountered many of the same shortcomings that had pointed been out in its three previous reports: information was often too general, too historical or too technical, and lacked a clear description of the significance of an element to its community and of its current social and cultural functions. As in previous cycles, nominations of handicrafts tended to focus on the objects produced rather than on traditional craftsmanship and the processes and know-how of the craftspeople. The Subsidiary Body also noted that submitting States tended to describe the threats and vulnerability of the element, when it might appear that the nomination file would be better suited to inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List. It therefore encouraged States to utilize the mechanism best adapted to the situation of a given element, as well as the needs and aspirations of its community. Several nominations evaluated also raised important questions on transmission in which a formal transmission system appeared to have supplanted a prior system of non-formal transmission, raising concern among some members about the real viability of the element. Others felt that the formalization or even the institutionalization of transmission was often part of the evolution and recreation of intangible cultural heritage, and formal and institutional transmission was therefore a positive factor, even if accompanied by the disappearance of non-formal modes of transmission. Several nominations drew attention to the tangible heritage associated with the proposed element as well as natural spaces, with some nominations pointed to existing or proposed legal protection and community-based management systems for the built heritage, public spaces, urban neighbourhoods and natural settings within which particular elements of intangible cultural heritage were practiced. The Subsidiary Body encouraged the Committee and States Parties to explore possibilities for strengthening interaction between the 2003 Convention and the 1972 Convention. However, it noted a recurrent tendency among submitting States to give insufficient attention to section 1(v) of the ICH-02 form9, taking it for granted that the nature of the element itself rendered such a question moot, even though every nomination had to demonstrate compliance with that definition.
With regard to criterion R.2, the Rapporteur noted the occasional use of inappropriate vocabulary that did not encourage dialogue and the respect of cultural diversity. Additionally, certain nominations spoke only of how inscription would bring greater visibility to the element in question and not to intangible cultural heritage in general. The Subsidiary Body sought to be convinced that the submitting State had given thought to the contribution inscription made to the larger purposes of the Representative List, and not simply to the element’s own popularity or renown. The Committee might therefore wish to include in its decision a more explicit reminder in this regard. With regard to criterion R.3, the Rapporteur remarked that it was the second most difficult criterion for submitting States, where it was not satisfied in nine nominations, and in one nomination where it was the sole disqualifying factor. Safeguarding measures were said to be overly general or sometimes hypothetical. Even if nominations to the Representative List did not require a detailed safeguarding calendar and budget, compared to the Urgent Safeguarding List, safeguarding measures should be expressed in terms of concrete commitments by the submitting States and communities, rather than as possibilities and potentialities, i.e. safeguarding measures were described in conditional terms: ‘could’ or ‘might’, or spoken as possible or desirable, rather than in definite terms of what ‘will’ happen. Since this point had previously been raised without notable impact, the Subsidiary Body advised adopting a decision to address this point. The Rapporteur also underlined the fact that the safeguarding measures often failed to give adequate attention to protecting the element from the possible unintended consequences of inscription, encouraging States to anticipate potential risks and to elaborate protective measures so that the positive benefits of inscription would not be diminished by harmful side effects, particularly with regard to over-commercialization. Nonetheless, the most convincing safeguarding measures were those that resulted from the widest possible participation of the communities in the nomination process. The Subsidiary Body was gratified to note that community participation in criterion R.4 seemed to be less problematic than it had been in previous cycles. However, there were continued difficulties in clearly identifying which communities, groups or individuals were concerned by a given nomination. In one particular case, the submitting State failed to justify the selection of one community over another with similar expressions.
The Rapporteur raised another issue relating to the free, prior and informed consent of community representatives, groups and associations, as it was often unclear who those people or groups were, and how they related to the larger communities identified in other parts of the nomination. The Subsidiary Body was very pleased with the many different forms of consent, including children’s drawings, handwritten letters, a scroll accompanied by a video, petitions signed by thousands of people, and sometimes eloquent testimonials. As with its predecessors, it preferred individualized expressions of consent to standardized letters or petitions, and recognized that different national contexts made it impossible to expect States to adopt identical methods. Nevertheless, a strict standard should be adopted in that nominations should contain evidence of free, prior and informed consent in one of the working languages of the Committee (English or French), as well as the language of the community concerned, since consent forms could not be understood and evaluated by the Subsidiary Body (nor the general public) when submitted in other languages.
With regard to criterion R.4, the Rapporteur reiterated the necessity that communities participate throughout the nomination process. It occasionally appeared that communities were only implicated at the final stages, and were asked to provide their consent to safeguarding measures or documents in which they had not been involved, raising doubts on the feasibility of the safeguarding measures proposed in criterion R.3. With regard to criterion R.4, particularly under section 4.c10, the form requested a clear explanation should no such practices exist, but some submitting States chose to provide minimal information. As with section 1(v) referring to human rights, the Subsidiary Body suggested that it should not be asked to evaluate nominations where the State had not responded to every section. It also met with cases where the information provided in this section was contradicted by information found elsewhere in the nomination. With regard to criterion R.5, the Subsidiary Body was gratified to note that there were fewer problems than in the previous cycle, but was nevertheless an eliminating factor in two nominations and a contributing factor in five others. A clear explanation was required in the nomination describing the circumstances under which the inventories were elaborated that demonstrated their conformity with Art. 11 and Art. 12 of the Convention, and addressing in particular the participation of communities and relevant NGOs, as well as the updating procedure. In the two cases where criterion R.5 was the sole eliminating criterion, the Subsidiary Body was unable to find information concerning the nature of the inventory and the circumstances under which it was established. In the other cases where R.5 was one of several criteria that had not been met, the description was perhaps more complete but still incomplete in important aspects. The Rapporteur invited the Committee to take note of the progress made since 2009, described in detail in document 11.
The Rapporteur explained that despite systematic requests by the Secretariat, the desired documentation in several nominations was sparse or missing, i.e. website addresses that were inactive; URL addresses to ministries without specific hyperlinks to information on inventorying; links to an inventory where information on the element in question could not easily be located by someone not speaking the national language. Documents provided as annexes to the nomination often suffered from weaknesses, i.e. they referred to the inventory in general but not to the element, or were simply attestations that the element had been included without providing any evidence. On a positive note, there were no cases of R.5 not being satisfied in 2012 as a result of a lack of documentary evidence. However, to ensure that this continued to be the case, the Subsidiary Body asked the Secretariat to clarify the instructions in the nomination form to more fully explain the kind of documentary evidence expected, which would be implemented in forms prepared for the 31 March 2013 deadline and thus applicable to nominations in 2014. The Subsidiary Body thus recommended that nominations with no documentary evidence for R.5 in 2013 should not be examined. However, it suggested not imposing the same language requirement as for the consent. Although this admittedly reduced the accessibility of the evidence, the Subsidiary Body recognized inventories as voluminous works that could not reasonably be expected in French or English translations.
The Rapporteur then introduced the three over-arching global issues, namely: i) the question of communities; ii) the referral option; and iii) the examination of multinational nominations that were resubmitted on an extended basis. With regard to the first point, a truly transversal issue to all the criteria and nominations, a clear identification and presentation of the communities, groups or individuals concerned was obviously essential to understanding the identity and characteristics of the element, since the Convention’s definition of intangible cultural heritage in R.1 insists that it can only be recognized by its communities. For criterion R.2, the question of dialogue and cultural diversity invariably revolved around communities, their interrelations, and their coexistence with other communities. Thus, it was imperative to clearly demonstrate the essential role of communities in safeguarding (in R.3) both in designing, prioritizing and implementing safeguarding measures, as well as in describing their participation in the nomination process and their free, prior and informed consent. A nomination reflecting the widest possible participation of the communities concerned could easily lead to a recommendation to inscribe the element, but the opposite would occur when the participation of communities was weak or absent. Additionally, the participation of communities in inventory-making and updating was seen as an essential condition to satisfy criterion R.5.
The Rapporteur turned to the second global issue related to the referral option, adding that agenda item 13.a, ‘Reflection on the experience gained in implementing the referral option of the Representative List’ would specifically deal with the issue. However, by way of a quick explanation on the approach adopted during the evaluation of files, the Rapporteur explained that the Subsidiary Body had received five nominations that were revisions of files referred in 2011: two nominations were recommended for inscription, while two others were again recommended for referral, and the fifth was the subject of a split decision. These revised nominations had to be received by the Secretariat before 15 February 2012, which was possible on an exceptional basis owing to the delays in processing 2012 files. Normally, referred files at the end of one year would have until 31 March of the following year to resubmit revised versions for examination by the Committee in the subsequent year – thus two years from the time of the decision of referral. However, one lesson drawn from this year’s experience was that such rapid turnaround might not give the submitting States enough time to undertake the revisions required and thus satisfy all the criteria, particularly for referrals based on multiple criteria. States were therefore encouraged to take the time necessary before resubmitting a revised file. When recommending a file to be referred in 2011, members typically sought to mitigate the disappointment of the submitting States and communities concerned by reaching consensus on a given nomination by agreeing, for one criterion, to accept as sufficient a level of information that was admittedly very weak, knowing that there was already a consensus to refer that same nomination on another criterion. If a nomination was ultimately destined to be referred on criterion A, members were sometimes less insistent on demanding a strong demonstration in criterion B with the benefit of the doubt typically resolved in favour of a Yes.
The Rapporteur further explained that when evaluating the revised nominations that had been referred in 2011, the Subsidiary Body was not necessarily convinced that a criterion previously deemed acceptable was indeed sufficient. It tried to strike a balance in recognizing on the one hand that the work of the Subsidiary Body is evolving, while on the other hand concerned not to send inconsistent or contradictory messages to submitting States and therefore seeking to maintain the maximal degree of consistency with precedents and prior Committee decisions. In the recommendations to refer, the Subsidiary Body sought to be a little more generous in expressing reservations on a particular criterion. The decisions of the Committee were nevertheless brief and therefore did not provide comprehensive feedback to the submitting State to guide its possible revisions. The Rapporteur emphasized that in recommending a referral, the Subsidiary Body considered it as an important opportunity for the submitting State ‘to ensure better visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and awareness of its significance, and to encourage dialogue which respects cultural diversity’ (Art.16 of the Convention), and was therefore not a negative outcome, despite any disappointment from the submitting State or communities. Taking into account an amendment in the Operational Directives in which referrals ‘may be resubmitted to the Committee for examination during a following cycle, after having been updated and supplemented’, the Subsidiary Body invited States Parties to take advantage of the opportunity to revise their nominations and to substantially update and supplement them, and not only in those criteria that were not satisfied in the initial cycle. This implied that evaluation should not be restricted to those criteria that were deemed to require additional information. Moreover, should the Committee accept the Subsidiary Body’s recommendations, information that was acceptable for criterion R.4 or R.5 in 2012 may be technically incomplete in 2014. A different issue raised during the meeting was whether a resubmitted file that still failed to provide requested information should be referred a second time or should instead receive a recommendation not to inscribe. In this cycle, two nominations were referred for a second time, while consensus could not be reached for a third file. The Subsidiary Body debated the number of times the Committee may refer the same nomination, suggesting that the Committee might wish to give clearer guidance to States Parties and to subsequent subsidiary bodies in this regard. Finally, the Subsidiary Body was faced with the problem of deciding whether a nomination warranted a recommendation to refer or whether a recommendation should instead be negative. In this cycle, it was more inclined to recommend inscription; slightly less inclined to recommend referral and far less inclined to recommend against inscription. Therefore, the Committee might wish to consider the line between a recommendation to refer and a recommendation not to inscribe.
Finally, the Rapporteur presented the third global issue on the question of multinational nominations, or more specifically the inscription on an extended basis of an element already inscribed; the first time such a situation was encountered. In one case, the nomination proposed the extension of an element (inscribed in 2010 on behalf of 11 States Parties) to include two additional States Parties. The third file involved an element inscribed in 2011 on a bi-national basis, and at the same time, referred with regards to the third State, but it could also be considered as a proposal to extend an existing inscription. The Rapporteur suggested that the points raised could be a starting point during discussions under agenda item 13.c, ‘Reflection on the procedure for extended inscription of an element that is already inscribed’. Some Subsidiary Body members sought more information on the specificities of States joining the nomination, particularly when high membership nominations made it increasingly difficult to pinpoint the precise situation in each country. The Rapporteur reminded the Committee that an extension was not a simple administrative process, but a process in which States must work extensively with the communities concerned to identify and define the element and to elaborate appropriate safeguarding measures. Some members felt that the new nomination should be markedly different from the preceding nomination in that the addition of new communities should be more apparent throughout. Others argued that the logistical complexities of involving multiple States Parties in a multinational nomination made it impractical to expect that the nomination would be extensively refashioned with the addition of new States. Obviously, additional evidence of consent and inclusion in an inventory would have to be provided for each new State Party joining the nomination, but other parts might essentially remain the same, in the view of some members. The free, prior and informed consent of the communities concerned remained of capital importance. The question was how communities providing their consent to a specific nomination at a given time could possibly foresee a new nomination with a different scope presented in the future. The Subsidiary Body chose to be flexible, particularly as the time since the previous inscription was relatively short, but prudence would argue that extensions of an element be more rigorously subjected to a requirement for updated evidence of such consent. Another issue was related to the complexities of coordinating a multinational nomination, and the possible disincentive for States already part of an inscription to welcome new members. The Subsidiary Body expressed its wish that the Committee in its discussion on the topic provide further guidance to future subsidiary bodies and committees in this regard.
The Chairperson thanked the Rapporteur for his helpful and insightful overview and commended the advisory bodies for their thorough and accomplished work, even if Committee members might disagree with some of their recommendations.
The delegation of Belgium was happy to note the submission of three African nomination files and one multinational file. The delegation recognized that the Subsidiary Body’s work was not easy, but expressed concerned about the quality of the 16 referred files, of which 11 were referred for two or more criteria. It recalled that referrals had been established so that submitting States did not have to wait four years before re-submitting their files for a minor technical clarification in the file, but that it should not camouflage a non-inscription. It was also noted that the option to withdraw a file was also scarcely used, which resulted in more work for both the Subsidiary Body and the Committee, and further referrals for similar reasons. Other serious transversal consequences included the inequality in the treatment of files, i.e. referrals based on an easily resolved criterion compared with other referred files that had more serious concerns. The delegation also drew attention to the word limits in the nomination form, with some States making huge efforts to remain concise while other States Parties flouted the instructions.
The delegation of Japan thanked the Rapporteur for his extensive report, adding that it welcomed conflict resolution and peace-building as a social function, but noted that a number of files lacked the information on the social function owing to a lack of a guiding definition in this regard. Referring to the use of the term ‘national symbol’, the delegation remarked that several elements on the Representative List represented the nation as a whole, which justified such terminology. It noted that the referral option enabled the Subsidiary Body to adapt to the evolving standards, while keeping in mind the criteria defined in the Operational Directives so that the transparency and legitimacy of the evolving standards remained secure.
The delegation of Czech Republic warmly thanked the Subsidiary Body and the Secretariat for their commitment and welcomed the diversity of the files submitted, with many States Parties submitting files for the first time. It noted however that the cycle also presented a number of recurrent general issues, adding that the nomination form should be thoroughly and carefully completed so that the evaluation is clear and unequivocal. With regard to the resulting recommendations, the files should clearly be identified within one of the categories in an effort to remain coherent vis-à-vis the States Parties. In line with the remarks by Belgium, the delegation added that referred files should adhere to technical issues that were easily rectified by the submitting State.
The delegation of Greece thanked the Subsidiary Body for its impressively thorough work, and joined Belgium in its concerns regarding the referral option, which deserved further clarity. The delegation voiced concern on the use of the correct use of language, as noted by the Subsidiary Body in its evaluations, as the use of inappropriate vocabulary was apparent on a couple of occasions, suggesting that the files be made available to all States Parties at the same time as the evaluations by the Subsidiary Body.
The delegation of Nigeria thanked the Subsidiary Body for its thoughtful report, adding that although fully detailed files were desirable it was not workable to have an unlimited number of successive referrals and suggested capping the limit to two.
The delegation of China congratulated the Subsidiary Body for its hard and comprehensive work that provided a number of valuable observations and good recommendations from which helpful guidelines could be developed. With regard to the referral option, the delegation shared the concerns expressed by Belgium that it warranted greater reflection.
The Chairperson drew attention to agenda item 13.a, which specifically tackled the question of referrals, and agenda item 14 on sharing information to encourage multinational nominations.
The delegation of Azerbaijan thanked the Subsidiary Body for its comprehensive report, added that it shared its concerns, especially those related to inappropriate vocabulary and the ill-placement of information. The delegation supported the remarks by Belgium on the application of strict and clear guidelines when dealing with referrals, particularly in cases of second referrals and referrals based on several criteria.
The delegation of Albania fully supported the remarks by Belgium, Greece, the Czech Republic and others on the question of referrals.
The delegation of Indonesia appreciated the Subsidiary Body’s high level of professionalism and the detailed aspects of the concerns raised, though remarked on the high number of files that were referred. The delegation surmised that submitting States had difficulty in understanding the nomination forms, but if correctly interpreted they could submit good quality nomination files, which ultimately would facilitate the work of all those involved in their examination and evaluation.
The Chairperson reiterated that the issues would be covered more specifically over the coming sessions, adding that the adoption of draft decision 7.COM 11 would take place at the end of the examination of the files. The Chairperson recalled that the Committee had taken a very clear decision in Bali that it would not take into consideration additional information presented by a submitting State during the Committee session, which had not been included in the nomination when evaluated by the advisory bodies. It was also noted that several States had submitted additional information in response to the Subsidiary Body’s published report and the recommendations to refer, but that on the basis of the Committee’s decision established in Bali, such information could not normally be considered. The submitting State did however have the possibility to present evidence to the Subsidiary Body and remedy the shortcomings of its referred file in a future cycle. However, the Committee could not now accept information provided on the spot or in a correspondence following the Subsidiary Body’s evaluation. The Chairperson explained that as with the previous evaluations, the Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body, Mr Rago, would present a brief description of the nominated element and simultaneously project a selection of photographs onto the screen. This would be followed by the adoption of the draft decision, as proposed by the Subsidiary Body, when the floor would be open for comments and amendments. Thus following the same methodology as with the nominations to the Urgent Safeguarding List.
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the first nomination on Rites and craftsmanship associated with the wedding costume tradition of Tlemcen [draft decision 6.COM 11.1] submitted by Algeria. During the wedding ritual of Tlemcen in northwestern Algeria, the bride is dressed in a traditionally woven golden silk dress, surrounded by her friends and married female relations. Symbolic henna designs are applied to her hands, and an older woman helps her don a kaftan of embroidered velvet, jewellery and a conical hat. Girls in Tlemcen are initiated into the costume tradition at an early age, while the craftsmanship involved in making the precious wedding costume is transmitted from generation to generation. The Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied all the criteria. It took note of the important social function and cultural significance of the rites and know-how associated with the marriage costume of Tlemcen, as well as the commitment by the population in the transmission of this heritage from generation to generation. This was demonstrated by the involvement of several practitioners, communities, organizations and institutions, as well as local authorities in the nomination process. The Subsidiary Body therefore recommended the inscription of the element on the Representative List.
With no comments or amendments, the Chairperson proposed adopting the draft decision as a whole. With no objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.1 to inscribe Rites and craftsmanship associated with the wedding costume tradition of Tlemcenon the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Culture, Ms Khalida Toumi, the delegation of Algeria thanked the Secretariat and the Subsidiary Body for its remarkable work and the Committee for the honour bestowed on the craftspeople and practitioners, the communities concerned and the population of Tlemcen in its decision – the fruit of three years of preparation. The delegation added that those concerned were fully aware of the importance of the inscription and that it encouraged the whole country to perpetuate the crafts and ancient ceremonial rites of a living and coherent cultural tradition. The delegation remarked that the inscription comes just after a recent major and successful event in Tlemcen – the capital of Islamic culture. It assured the Committee that the inscription of the element benefitted from the commitment by the State that would perpetuate the ritual and encourage the craftspeople to safeguard their heritage for the future.
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Performance of the Armenian epic of ‘Daredevils of Sassoun’ or ‘David of Sassoun’ [draft decision 7.COM 11.2] submitted by Armenia. The Armenian epic Daredevils of Sassoun recounts the story of David of Sassoun, a defiant and self-reliant youth, who defends his homeland in an unequal duel against the evil. The heroic epic is told in a lyrical voice with rhythmic enunciation, while separate cantos are sung in a rhyming poetic style. Usually the epos teller sits wearing national costume and is accompanied on the duduk, a woodwind instrument during weddings, birthdays, christenings and major national cultural events. There are 160 variants with performances lasting up to two hours. The Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied all the criteria. It considered that the historical memory of the element is reformulated in the actual context and thus provided a sense of identity and continuity to the people. It also appreciated the fact that the epic is expressed through different artistic expressions, for example, applied arts and traditional craftsmanship. The communities and the epic-teller in particular have participated throughout the nomination process through a network of persons involved at different levels, including the State. The Subsidiary Body therefore recommended the inscription of the element on the Representative List.
The Chairperson was pleased to begin with several nominations that had received favourable recommendations. Nevertheless, it was noted that some parts of the nomination could potentially give rise to misunderstanding. Consequently, Armenia agreed to modify the nomination form and a text had been circulated to the Committee with the minor modifications. The Chairperson remarked that there appeared to be broad consensus that the modifications did not alter the substance of the nomination, and a provision in the draft decision had been added in this regard.
With no comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 11.2 to inscribe Performance of the Armenian epic of ‘Daredevils of Sassoun’ or ‘David of Sassoun’on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The delegation of Armenia was delighted with the decision and thanked the Secretariat, the Subsidiary Body and the Committee for their efforts. The delegation was particularly grateful to the communities concerned, the NGOs and the government officials for their methodical work in the preparation of the nomination file, the element of which was emblematic of Armenian national identity, encompassing all aspects of Armenian heritage: religion, mythology, ethics, philosophy and cosmology. Additionally, the epic linked the Armenian diaspora to their historical roots and symbolized its harmony with nature.
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Schemenlaufen, the carnival of Imst, Austria [draft decision 7.COM 11.3] submitted by Austria. Every four years the city of Imst in Austria celebrates its Fasnacht carnival on the Sunday before the Christian season of Lent. The central festivity is Schemenlaufen, a procession of masked, costumed dancers. The main characters wear bells and perform a special dance to music of jumps and bows. Masked chimney-sweeps climb houses, witches shout at the audience accompanied by a band playing dissonant melodies, and white or brown bears demonstrate their strength. The carnival unites the whole population of Imst in a common goal: organizing the Fasnacht in accordance with long-standing tradition. The Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied all the criteria. It took note of the involvement of the community who continue to transmit the traditions associated with the carnival. It also appreciated the capacity of the city’s inhabitants to unite, the carnival serving as occasion to come together and to transmit know-how. It found that factors such as conviviality, social mobilisation, cohesion and intergenerational transmission between parents and children were mentioned in several sections. The Subsidiary Body wished to underline that the measures taken by the State Party, the communities and groups directly involved in the festival contributed to its safeguarding. 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 11.3 to inscribe Schemenlaufen, the carnival of Imst on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The delegation of Austria spoke of its pride in its first inscribed element, which paved the way for the implementation of the Convention, adding that it had started national implementation in 2006 even before its ratification to the Convention in 2009. The work entailed the establishment of networks with communities and NGOs, the implementation of safeguarding measures and awareness-raising activities, data collection and research, and inventorying Austrian intangible cultural heritage that includes 55 elements. The element takes place every four years and consists of a masked procession of carnival characters, requiring months of preparation and which was deeply rooted in the social life of the town. On behalf of the community, the delegation spoke of its appreciation for the Committee’s acknowledgment of the element, thanking the Subsidiary Body, the Secretariat and the Committee for their work.
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body presented the next nomination on Craftsmanship and performance art of the Tar, a long-necked string musical instrument [draft decision 7.COM 11.4] submitted by Azerbaijan. The Tar is a long-necked plucked lute, traditionally crafted and performed in communities throughout Azerbaijan. It is played in many traditional music styles at weddings and different social gatherings, festive events and public concerts. The hollow body made from mulberry takes the form of a figure eight and is held horizontally, while the eleven metallic strings are plucked using a plectrum. Tar makers transmit their skills to apprentices while players transmit their skills to young people within their community by word of mouth and demonstration. The Subsidiary Body reached a positive consensus and found that the nomination satisfied all the criteria. It particularly noted the means by which the craftsmanship and the musical practice of Tar provided a sense of identity and continuity to the entire Azerbaijani community, noting that it is rooted in the social life of the country. It also took note of the broad participation of institutions and organizations at various levels that were involved in training, documentation, research and transmission, demonstrating the interest of the government and the general public. 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 11.4 to inscribe Craftsmanship and performance art of the Tar, a long-necked string musical instrumenton the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The delegation of Latvia remarked that Tar was practiced widely across the region, as noted in the nomination, notably in Central Asia, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. The delegation therefore wished to know whether Azerbaijan had consultations with other countries with a view to a possible multinational nomination.
The delegation of Azerbaijan explained that it had consulted with neighbouring countries Iran and Turkey, as well as other countries, adding that there was no expression of interest to elaborate a multinational file at this stage, but Azerbaijan accepted to extend the inscription in a future multinational nomination.
The delegation of Uruguay noted that the nomination file had made reference to other Central Asian countries, adding that it would be desirable to include these countries.
The delegation of Azerbaijan introduced the Vice-Minister for Culture and Tourism who thanked the Committee for its decision, and the Subsidiary Body and the Secretariat for all their efforts and hard work, adding that the nomination embodied years of work with communities throughout the country. Also speaking on behalf of the communities, she spoke of the combined sense of joy and pride in the recognition of the centuries-old element that reinforced the Azerbaijani sense of identity, serving as an incentive for the communities to continue the practice of Tar.
The Chairperson informed the Committee that Belarus had withdrawn its nomination file, the subject of draft decision 7.COM 11.5.
The Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body thus presented the next nomination on Marches of Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse [draft decision 7.COM 11.6] submitted by Belgium. The Marches of Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse are a major component of the cultural identity of the eponymous village found between the rivers of Sambre and Meuse in Wallonia, Belgium. The military marches commemorate the dedication of the village church in which the entire village participates. The escorted processions consist of several companies that comprise tens, even hundreds of marchers. Dressed in military uniforms, forming one or more companies escorting the religious procession, accompanied by drums, fifes and chants. Young people march alongside their parents in the Young Guard or other companies. The Subsidiary Body found that the nomination satisfied criteria R.1, R.2, R.4 and R.5, but that criterion R.3 required additional information. In general, it appreciated the sense of community and identity that characterized the element, as well as its potential to contribute towards greater visibility for similar processional manifestations of intangible cultural heritage practices elsewhere. However, it did not find any concrete plans to safeguard the forms of transmission and the main components of the processions, noting greater emphasis on the spaces in which the events took place and the measures of logistical support. Furthermore, the Subsidiary Body was unable to identify any safeguarding measures that prevented or mitigated the potentially harmful aspects resulting from inscription and the possible increase in tourism. 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 China commended Belgium for its nomination that clearly identified the community and the social and cultural functions of the element. Remarking on the fact that only one criterion had not been satisfied, the delegation sought clarification from Belgium on the proposed safeguarding measures with regard to the impacts of inscription, as well as the involvement of the communities in the safeguarding plan.
The delegation of Latvia disagreed with the conclusions by the Subsidiary Body on R.3, noting that it had made reference to measures mitigating the possible harmful impacts of inscription on the Representative List, asking that it clarify the rationale. Moreover, from the nomination it appeared that Belgium was fully aware of the associated risks, and had taken preventative measures in this regard.
The delegation of Belgium explained that for several years thousands of marchers participated in the procession, including thousands of tourists, which the organizing authorities took into consideration when preparing and programming the procession that included measures covering such organizational aspects as observation points and transport infrastructure. Consequently, the local community was well aware of the increasing number of tourists and had the capacity and experience to deal with the crowds along the processional route that covered several kilometres. Moreover, the community fully understood the importance of safeguarding the associated craftsmanship and the traditional music and performances of the marches, demonstrated by the number of safeguarding measures in place, as highlighted by the Subsidiary Body in its report.
Responding to the question by Latvia, the Chairperson of the Subsidiary Body concurred that there were a large number of safeguarding measures mentioned in the nomination form, but that the emphasis was placed on tourism and not on the increasing number of visitors, which might indeed threaten the element.
The Chairperson turned to the draft decision on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis.
The delegation of Morocco commended Belgium for its nomination file, which was described as important as it highlighted the safeguard of associated tangible heritage. By providing legal protection of the processional route, the nomination demonstrated an original aspect that reflected the spirit of the 1972 Convention and the 2003 Convention. Moreover, the explanations by Belgium on R.3 had outlined the measures taken to mitigate the impacts of its success, and although inscription might invariably increase the number of visitors still further, the local community appeared to be prepared for that eventuality. The delegation therefore recommended that Belgium rest attentive to the evolving situation.
The Chairperson turned to paragraph 1, which was duly adopted.
Following the explanations and the remarks by Morocco, the delegation of Grenada believed that R.3 was satisfied, and agreed with the recommendation by Morocco. The Chairperson asked for the draft proposal in this regard.
The delegations of Nigeria and Indonesia supported Grenada’s proposal in that R.3 was satisfied.
The Chairperson suggested returning to the proposed text after lunch.
The delegation of the Netherlands wished to celebrate its recent ratification, adding that the Dutch Centre for Folk Culture and Intangible Heritage had prepared an exhibition on Dutch intangible cultural heritage and that every year on the 5th December the Dutch celebrated St Nicholas. The delegation introduced the director of the centre, who accompanied St Nicholas into the room who offered his greetings and the traditional gift of speculoos biscuits – the symbol of a long-lasting relationship.