Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 17.COM 7

The Committee,

  1. Recalling Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined documents LHE/22/17.COM/7, LHE/22/17.COM/7.a, LHE/22/17.COM/7.b  Rev.+Add.2, LHE/22/17.COM/7.c and LHE/22/17.COM/7.d, as well as the files submitted by the respective States Parties,


  1. Expresses its satisfaction with the work of the Evaluation Body, thanks its members for the quality of the present report and appreciates the assistance of the Secretariat to facilitate the work of the Evaluation Body;
  2. Takes note of the observations and recommendations made by the Evaluation Body concerning its work for the 2022 cycle, recognizes that many of the issues raised in its previous decisions continue to prevail as summarized in the present report, and reiterates its invitation to States Parties to address these issues when submitting future nominations;
  3. Congratulates those submitting States that have presented nominations that could serve as good examples for future nominations;
  4. Further takes note of the increased number of files that are aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and the nomination of several elements which highlight the positive links between intangible cultural heritage and the natural environment;
  5. Recalls that the designations employed in the texts and documents presented by the submitting States Parties do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Committee nor UNESCO concerning a) the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, b) the legal status of its authorities or c) the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries;
  6. Notes with concern the marked geographical imbalance in this evaluation cycle;
  7. Commends the Evaluation Body for using the dialogue in an effective way to strengthen accuracy of its evaluations and encourages the Evaluation Body to keep making the broadest possible use of the dialogue procedure;

Definition of intangible cultural heritage elements

  1. Stresses the importance of providing a clear identification and definition for nominated elements of intangible cultural heritage as defined in Article 2 of the Convention, considering that an overly broad definition of an element makes it difficult to understand its connections with the communities, groups and individuals concerned and reminds States Parties to be consistent in the information they provide throughout their files while maintaining the links between the different criteria for inscription;

Central role of communities, groups and individuals

  1. Further recalls the importance of ensuring the broad and the most active participation of communities, groups and individuals throughout the nomination process, in line with the Ethical Principles for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and further encourages submitting States to involve community-based organizations and resource persons when preparing nominations;
  2. Emphasises the crucial importance of reflecting the voices of communities, groups and individuals when nominating elements of their intangible cultural heritage and advises States Parties to avoid taking a top-down safeguarding approach as well as using standardized letters of consent;

Support to States Parties

  1. Notes the need to further promote more detailed information on the scope of inscription criteria, presentation of the forms and other requirements related to the nomination, and underscores the importance of the 2003 Convention's capacity building approach in assisting submitting States Parties with the preparation of nominations in cooperation with its Global Facilitators Network as well as accredited non-governmental organizations;
  2. Asks the Secretariat to elaborate a proposal to 18.COM, for changes to the Operational Directives in order to make possible for Member States with no previous elements inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity to request International Assistance for the preparations of their first nomination thereon;
  3. Notes with satisfaction the continuing trend of a high number of multinational nominations and further commends those States Parties which have demonstrated close cooperation in safeguarding shared elements of intangible cultural heritage, in line with the principles of international cooperation and the promotion of mutual understanding of the Convention;
  4. Underlines the importance of highlighting, when preparing multinational nominations, the shared nature of the element with common practices and characteristics across the submitting States Parties as well as details of collaboration amongst communities to demonstrate their commitment to the multinational character of the nomination and requests the Secretariat to prepare a guidance note on how to prepare multinational nominations;

Thematic issues

  1. Also encourages the Secretariat to take into account the observations made by the Evaluation Body on issues related to the economic aspects of intangible cultural heritage safeguarding and its links to sustainable livelihoods, in the guidance note that is under preparation, with particular attention to both positive and negative aspects of commercialisation processes;
  2. Further encourages the States Parties nominating intangible cultural heritage related to craftsmanship and foodways to be mindful that the ‘standardisation’ and ‘labelling’ of practices could run a risk of over-controlling the enactment of knowledge and skills, which would limit the viability of elements and human creativity, and further reminds submitting States that nominations should focus on the practice, social functions and cultural meanings of the element rather than on products and food themselves;
  3. Also takes note that a high number of nominations submitted concern a limited range of categories or domains of intangible cultural heritage and invites States Parties to consider the vast diversity of living heritage when presenting elements so as to ensure that the Lists of the Convention reflect this reality.