Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 11.COM 10.b.9

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Dominican Republic has nominated Music and dance of the merengue in the Dominican Republic (No. 01162) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The merengue is considered part of the national identity of the Dominican community. It plays an active role in various aspects of people’s daily lives – from their education to social gatherings and celebrations, even political campaigning. In 2005, the traditional practice was recognized by presidential decree with 26 November declared National Merengue Day. Merengue festivals are held in cities in the Dominican Republic like Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata every year. Danced in pairs, flirtatious gestures are used as participants move in circles to the rhythm of music played on instruments such as the accordion, drum and saxophone. It is a dance that is usually introduced to learners at an early age. Knowledge and skills on the practice are transmitted through observation, participation and imitation. The merengue attracts people from different social and economic backgrounds, which helps to promote respect and coexistence among individuals, groups and communities. The north of the country is considered to be the cradle of the practice with the area of influence extending to Puerto Rico, the United States of America and the Caribbean region. The merengue is also popular in other Latin American countries, such as Venezuela and Colombia where variations have emerged, and in countries in Central America.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

R.1:   The proposed element fully conforms to the definition of intangible cultural heritage as defined by the Convention. It constitutes an important dimension of the heritage of the Dominican people, irrespective of social and economic background, gender and age and is unanimously recognized in the set of knowledge, customs and practices that define this largely traditional cultural expression. The file identifies the holders and practitioners of the element, as well as informal transmission mechanisms;

R.2:   The file indicates that inscription of the merengue on the Representative List is likely to contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general and to draw attention to its importance at local, national and international levels. Reflecting its European and African roots, as well as its popular appeal across social and geographical divides, it can also encourage dialogue between communities, and promote cultural diversity and human creativity;

R.3:   The viability of the element has been sustained by families, groups and local communities through their practice, with the support of the submitting State. The element has been also taught in schools and city halls. The file elaborates proposed safeguarding measures to be undertaken by the communities concerned with State support, which include strengthening means of transmission, research, documentation, celebrations and festivals;

R.4:   Practitioners and bearers, representatives of state institutions, experts, artisans and members of groups associated with the practice participated in different regions of the country in meetings, workshops, etc. leading to the elaboration of the nomination file. These stakeholders have expressed their prior, free and informed consent;

R.5:   The file provides evidence of inclusion of the element in the Partial Inventory of Dominican Cultural Heritage under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture. The inventory is elaborated with the participation of the communities and is regularly updated.

  1. Inscribes Music and dance of the merengue in the Dominican Republic on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Thanks the delegation of the Dominican Republic for the clarifications provided to the Committee on the information included in the file concerning criterion R.5;
  3. Encourages the submitting State to continue to work in order to ensure the full participation of the communities concerned in the elaboration and updating of the inventories.