7.COM 10.2

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Central African Republic has requested International Assistance in the amount of US$170,000 for Inventory of intangible cultural heritage in the Central African Republic:

The Central African Republic abounds in a rich and multifaceted cultural potential in terms of intangible heritage, which remains virtually untapped because its resources are insufficiently inventoried, organized, structured, mobilized and enhanced. Moreover, this heritage is endangered by loss of knowledge, know-how and skills due to the disappearance and neglect of the bearers in the communities concerned. It is against this background that the Central African Republic has undertaken a pre-inventory to identify and list the elements and expressions representative of the intangible cultural heritage of the country. The full implementation of this inventory project at the national level would constitute an effective safeguarding measure for these elements. This would involve the creation of a database through an anthropological and participatory approach, identification of the threats contributing to the devaluation of these heritage elements, determination of the appropriate actions to revitalize them, and dissemination of the results of the inventory. To that end, the project aims to initiate field missions for inventorying and collection of knowledge, training workshops for field agents and local actors, and creation of the database and a safeguarding revitalization plan for each element. The project also foresees an awareness-raising phase targeting the general public and the communities and groups concerned.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in file 00595, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance given in Paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:

A.1:   The target communities were informed of the preparation of the request and of the importance of safeguarding their intangible cultural heritage and community leaders pledged to take part in implementation of the inventorying as local resource persons;

A.2:   The appropriateness of the amount requested cannot be assessed because of discrepancies between the budget breakdown and the proposed activities and timetable; a significant number of expenditures need to be further detailed so as to provide sufficient justification; the specific costs to be supported by the requesting State and those to be supported by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund respectively are not distinguished;

A.3:   Activities are not adequately detailed or clearly and unequivocally explicit in the budget and timetable; their rationale would need to be justified in relation to the expected results; neither is the methodology for field work and processing of collected data explained, nor the responsibilities of different actors identified;

A.4:   The inventorying could help to guide the development of safeguarding plans for specific elements, encourage the transmission of associated knowledge and know-how and contribute to a safeguarding policy for intangible cultural heritage; however the sustainability of the proposed project cannot be determined, especially since it depends almost entirely on funding from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund and given that there is no clear commitment of future State resources for maintaining and updating the inventory or for putting other safeguarding policies and plans into action;

A.5:   The details of the specific costs to be supported by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund and by the requesting State, including its in-kind contribution, are not provided;

A.6:   The many workshops planned can foster interactivity between heritage professionals and experts on the one hand and intangible cultural heritage bearers on the other hand, which could have a positive impact on the capacities of all stakeholders;

A.7:   The State Party received financial assistance from the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage for a cooperation project, ‘Action Plan for the safeguarding and promotion of oral traditions of the Aka Pygmies of the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo’, incorporated in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008; it also received the support from UNESCO to conduct an inventory mission of intangible cultural heritage in Ombella Mpoko; the work stipulated by the contracts related to these projects was successfully carried out and, following UNESCO’s regulations, the contracts were duly completed;

10(a):    The project is national in scope and would involve national implementing partners;

10(b):    The request does not clearly address how the assistance would stimulate financial and technical contribution from the central government, local municipalities or other sources, and speaks only in vague terms of possible future assistance;

  1. Decides not to approve the request, and invites the State Party to submit a revised request responding more fully to the criteria for selection and to the considerations noted in the present decision;
  2. Notes with concern the difficult circumstances facing the bearers of intangible cultural heritage in the Central African Republic, whose very survival in a situation of frequent conflict is threatened, along with their knowledge and practices;
  3. Commends the State Party for recognizing the importance of drawing up inventories with a view to supporting the future practice and transmission of the intangible cultural heritage;
  4. Recommends that the State Party justify more clearly the basis for selection of communities involved in the project and define the respective contributions of the community members and experts, while fully recognizing the essential role that communities themselves already play in safeguarding their own heritage;
  5. Further recommends that the State Party describe in more detail the activities planned for drawing up the inventory, especially the methodology for field work, data collection, data processing and dissemination of results, while ensuring consistency between medium-term objectives and activities and strict correspondence between the activities proposed, their timetable and their expected costs;
  6. Encourages the State Party to mobilize its efforts to meet the documentation needs as expressed by the communities, to establish an effective coordination mechanism with its national academic partners by fully involving them in drawing up the inventory and to consider regional or international cooperation in the implementation of the inventorying;
  7. Invites the State Party to pay attention to the linguistic and drafting quality of the request while providing detailed and accurate information in order to enable an assessment of the adequacy of the proposed activities in relation to the gaps that they intend to address.

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