Fifteenth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage



H.E. Ms Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport of Jamaica, Chairperson of the 15th session of the Committee
© UNESCO

During its fifteenth session, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage met for the first time using a fully online modality, from 14 to 18 December 2020. H.E. Ms Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport of Jamaica chaired the session, which employed innovative methods to connect virtual podiums from both Kingston and Paris.

Thanks to the online Zoom platform and atmospheric reggae chill moments, this unprecedented session of the Committee convened over five days to make a series of important decisions despite the many challenges faced in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Participation remained as global as ever, with 142 different countries registered. Up to 2500 people followed all or part of the debates over the course of the meeting, and of these, more than 800 were registered participants.

Amabruxa cultural group from Maltahohe demonstrating an occasion where the music is performed Read more on the element
© Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Namibia, 2018

Together, through the virtual medium, Committee members inscribed three elements on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, and twenty-nine elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Committee also added three programmes to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices and allotted $99,239 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund to a project to safeguard Aixan/Gana/Ob#ANS TSI //Khasigu ancestral musical sound, knowledge and skills in Namibia.

For the first time, Finland, Malta, Paraguay and Singapore had elements inscribed. This year also saw the highest number of multi-national nominations, with fourteen inscriptions testifying to the ability of intangible cultural heritage to bring people together and promote international cooperation. These inscriptions provided communities around the word with optimism and joy as well as the necessary motivation to continue finding creative ways to transmit their heritage to the next generations.

At the session, nine reports on the current status of elements inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List were examined. Important decisions were also taken related to the number of files to be treated in the 2022 and 2023 cycles (Decision 15.COM 9). For the first time, recognizing the important role that non-governmental organizations play in safeguarding of living heritage, there was a standalone item to discuss the report of the ICH NGO Forum (Decision 15.COM 6). This Forum provides a platform of cooperation for accredited NGOs under the Convention. Finally, the Committee established a new Evaluation Body for the 2021 cycle, including three new members (Decision 15.COM 10).

Another highlight was the launch of the second phase of a project initiated by the Secretariat in 2018 Dive into living heritage and sustainable development. While the first phase of the project demonstrated new ways of visualizing the multi-faceted and holistic nature of intangible cultural heritage, this second phase underlines the wide-ranging ways in which expressions and practices of living heritage and their safeguarding contribute to the United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.

The cooperation and flexibility to work in a new way demonstrated by Committee Members made this a successful session despite setbacks and obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating States Parties’ commitment to the 2003 Convention and its ongoing relevance in the face of global challenges.


Decisions

Committee Members

Bureau: composition & meetings

Azerbaijan, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Czechia, Djibouti, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and Togo

Files presented for this session

Elements newly inscribed

  • 9 reports on an element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List (item 7)
  • 4 nominations to the Urgent Safeguarding List (item 8.a)
  • 42 nominations to the Representative List (item 8.b)
  • 4 proposals to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices (item 8.c)
  • 2 requests for International Assistance (item 8.d)

Agenda and documents

 Item of the agendaDocumentsRecordings*
1Opening LHE/20/15.COM/INF.1: English|French
General information 
2020-12-14 13:30: English|French|VO (video)
 
2Adoption of the agenda

Decision: 

LHE/20/15.COM/2: English|French

LHE/20/15.COM/INF.2.1 Rev.3: English|French
Provisional timetable
LHE/20/15.COM/INF.2.2 Rev.8: English|French
Provisional list of documents 
2020-12-14 14:14: English|French|VO (video)
 
3Replacement of the Rapporteur

Decision: 

LHE/20/15.COM/3: English|French
 
2020-12-14 14:35: English|French|VO (video)
 
4Observers

Decision: 

LHE/20/15.COM/4: English|French
 
2020-12-14 14:37: English|French|VO (video)
 
5Adoption of the summary records of the fourteenth session of the Committee

Decision: 

LHE/20/15.COM/5: English|French
 
2020-12-14 14:40: English|French|VO (video)
 
6Report of the non-governmental organizations forum

Decision: 

LHE/20/15.COM/6: English|French
 
2020-12-14 15:45: English|French|VO (video)
 
7Examination of the reports of States Parties on the current status of elements inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding LHE/20/15.COM/7: English|French
See the 9 reports 
2020-12-15 13:25: English|French|VO (video)
 
8Report of the Evaluation Body on its work in 2020

Decision: 

LHE/20/15.COM/8: English|French

Order of files Rev.2/ Ordre des dossiers Rev.2: English|French
(Indicative) 
2020-12-15 14:56: English|French|VO (video)
2020-12-17 16:21: English|French|VO (video)
2020-12-18 13:15: English|French|VO (video)
 
8.aExamination of nominations for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding LHE/20/15.COM/8.a: English|French
See the 4 nominations 
2020-12-15 15:45: English|French|VO (video)
2020-12-16 13:30: English|French|VO (video)
 
8.bExamination of nominations for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity LHE/20/15.COM/8.b Rev.+Add.4: English|French
See the 42 nominations 
2020-12-16 14:25: English|French|VO (video)
2020-12-17 13:20: English|French|VO (video)
 
8.cExamination of proposals to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices LHE/20/15.COM/8.c Add.: English|French
See the 4 proposals 
2020-12-17 15:55: English|French|VO (video)
 
8.dExamination of requests for International Assistance LHE/20/15.COM/8.d: English|French
See the 2 requests  
2020-12-17 16:10: English|French|VO (video)
 
9Number of files submitted for the 2020 and 2021 cycles and number of files that can be treated in the 2022 and 2023 cycles

Decision: 

LHE/20/15.COM/9: English|French
 
2020-12-18 14:52: English|French|VO (video)
 
10Establishment of the Evaluation Body for the 2021 cycle

Decision: 

LHE/20/15.COM/10 Rev.: English|French
 
2020-12-14 15:30: English|French|VO (video)
2020-12-15 14:50: English|French|VO (video)
2020-12-18 16:00: English|French|VO (video)
 
11Date and venue of the sixteenth session of the Committee

Decision: 

LHE/20/15.COM/11: English|French
 
2020-12-18 16:05: English|French|VO (video)
 
12Election of the members of the Bureau of the sixteenth session of the Committee

Decision: 

LHE/20/15.COM/12: English|French
 
2020-12-18 16:10: English|French|VO (video)
 
13Other business  2020-12-18 16:12: English|French|VO (video)
 
14Adoption of the list of decisions  2020-12-18 16:30: English|French|VO (video)
 
15Closure  2020-12-18 16:34: English|French|VO (video)
 
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