Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 8.COM 8.15

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Islamic Republic of Iran has nominated Iranian traditional medicine (No. 00578) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Iranian traditional medicine encompasses a diversity of knowledge about preventive medicine, remedies, and the preservation and promotion of good health. Popular in urban, rural and nomadic communities across the country, traditional medicine combines various approaches to keep people healthy. It focuses on six key factors: climate, food and drink, sleep and waking, movement and resting, discomfort and its relief, and psychological state. Iranians place great emphasis on monitoring and checking these to maintain personal, social, physical and psychological health. The philosophy and traditional knowledge based around imbalances between key elements is highly respected, and people regard it as a defining part of their communal and national identity. Oral or folk traditional medicine encompasses a corpus of orally transmitted knowledge on preventing disorders, remedies, and proper diets and temperaments, while written traditional medicine is found in thousands of texts by scholars of various periods. The community of bearers comprises master healers, skilled healers, traditional healers, therapists, traditional druggists and traditional pharmacists, while older women have a wide knowledge of traditional therapeutic methods.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List:

R.2:   By raising awareness of the role of intangible cultural heritage as a means of promoting health, the inscription of Iranian traditional medicine, or of some of its different practices among diverse communities, could contribute to encouraging dialogue, in particular with practitioners of other forms of traditional medicine worldwide;

R.3:   Proposed safeguarding measures include research, education, training and awareness raising and have been elaborated in consultation with practitioners and related institutions;

R.4:   A large number of practitioners, communities, groups and institutions were involved during the nomination process and gave their free, prior and informed consent, although clearer identification of the different practitioners and wider participation would have been desirable.

  1. Further decides that the information included in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List are satisfied:

R.1:   Although diverse forms of Iranian traditional medicine are transmitted from generation to generation and provide a sense of identity to Iranian people, details are lacking concerning the relationship among those diverse forms and whether they constitute a single element rather than many;

R.5:   Although Iranian traditional medicine was included in 2009 in the Iranian National Representative List for Intangible Cultural Heritage, maintained by the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, information is lacking to specify the scope of the element so included and its diverse communities.

  1. Decides to refer the nomination of Iranian traditional medicine to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle.