- Takes note that Armenia has nominated Ashoogh love romance: performance, music and text of the Armenian bard tradition for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, described as follows:
Armenian Ashoogh is a folk-professional tradition that combines poetry, music and storytelling. Performances blend love stories with legends, true events and supernatural tales and are characterized by unique imagery and expressive techniques. Performers improvise on the basis of traditional knowledge, applying a particular style of performance in accordance with the venue, audience and situation. Ashoogh songs are usually played at festivals, weddings, funerals and on other special occasions, with the bard accompanying himself on a variety of plucked or bowed lutes. Ashoogh love romances are manifestations of Armenian heritage, highly appreciated for their cultural values, and instil a strong sense of identity. The bearers of Ashoogh music include both professional and non-professional composers, performers, poets and instrumentalists. The skills and knowledge are handed down from teacher to apprentice via oral transmission, often at coffeehouses, though nowadays also at Ashoogh music schools. Today the songs of famous Armenian bards are part of the repertoire of folk professional artists, permanently recreated in the art of a young generation of Ashooghs. Frequently heard at festivals and concerts, Ashoogh is widely broadcast by a special television channel that features its performances.
- Decides that, from the information provided in nomination file 00529, Ashoogh love romance: performance, music and text of the Armenian bard tradition satisfies the criteria for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, as follows:
U.1: The Ashoogh, as a popular romantic tradition, provides the Armenian community with a strong sense of identity and conveys important cultural values;
U.4: The communities and individuals concerned, particularly the Ashoogh singers, participated actively in the nomination process and provided their free, prior and informed consent to it;
U.5: The element has been included in a national inventory of intangible cultural heritage in the Republic of Armenia, administered by the Ministry of Culture.
- Further decides that, from the information provided in nomination file 00529, Ashoogh love romance: performance, music and text of the Armenian bard tradition does not satisfy the criteria for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, as follows:
U.2: Although the practice experienced a break of several decades in its transmission, the submitting State has not adequately distinguished those parts of the Ashoogh tradition that are vital from those, if any, that may be facing risks of disappearance;
U.3: The State has not presented a well-structured safeguarding plan that clearly prioritizes measures strengthening those parts of the Ashoogh phenomenon that may be threatened.
- Decides not to inscribe Ashoogh love romance: performance, music and text of the Armenian bard tradition on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding at this time and invites the State Party to submit a revised nomination that responds more fully to the criteria, for evaluation by the Committee in a subsequent cycle;
- Recalls Decision 5.COM 6 inviting States Parties to elaborate files with utmost care, in order to avoid provoking misunderstanding among communities in any way, with a view to encouraging dialogue and mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals;
- Further invites the State Party in that context to focus on the meaning of this practice within its territory, while recognizing its continuity with other related singing traditions and avoiding unsubstantiated claims of its uniqueness, particularly those ascribing such uniqueness to religious factors;
- Encourages the State Party to prepare a better conceived safeguarding plan including measures that are clearly focused on those elements within the overall practice that may be threatened, accompanying them with more concrete information concerning priorities, approaches, timetable and costs.