Decision of the Bureau: 10.COM 1.BUR 1.1

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/14/10.COM 1.BUR/1 as well as file No. 00949,
  3. Takes note that Gabon has requested international assistance in the amount of US$24,560 for a project entitled ‘Inventorying and promotion of the intangible cultural heritage of Pygmy populations in Gabon’:

Having benefited from capacity building activities, Gabon has recognized the need for a safeguarding action towards the intangible cultural heritage of Pygmy populations, for which surveys conducted with these populations highlighted the endangered elements constituent to their identity. The project proposed aims to draw up an inventory of the intangible cultural heritage of the Pygmy populations Babongo, Baka and Bakoya. More specifically, the project will allow for the development of an inventory methodology adapted to the cultural context of the Pygmy communities, the identification of elements of these communities and those requiring urgent safeguarding, and the development of a national action plan for their safeguard. At the institutional level, the implementation of the project will allow for the operationalization of the Census Bureau in charge of the inventories of intangible cultural heritage since 2012 in Directorate of Cultural Heritage Conservation (DCPC) and the results will feed the finalization of the draft law establishing the cultural charter in which Gabon has been engaged since 2011. As for the local beneficiary communities, they will see their capacity reinforced with a view to initiating safeguarding actions and the promotion of their intangible cultural heritage for a better knowledge of their identity and their endogenous development. The groups and associations representing these communities, in particular the Movement of Indigenous Minorities and Pygmies of Gabon (MINAPYGA) and the Association for Good Medical and Environmental Actions (ABAME), will be equally important beneficiaries who will be able to capitalize on the results of the project to enrich their activities to favour the development and the recognition of communities through intangible cultural heritage. Finally, the distribution of the inventory results, notably in brochure format, will contribute to a better mutual knowledge of the intangible cultural heritage of the different Pygmy communities, contributing to the reinforcement of mutual respect and intercultural dialogue on a national level.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in file n  00949, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance given in Paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:
Criterion A.1: The communities concerned were implicated in the development of the request via the participation of the associations MINAPYGA and ABAME and other Pygmies populations not part of a formal association living in Libreville. The project foresees that these associations will help to identify other members of communities non-resident in Libreville who will take part in the inventory work following the training workshop planned for each community. The communities concerned will be represented at in the inventory team as well as in the steering committee which will monitor and evaluate the project. They will participate therefore in the project as beneficiaries of the activities but also as those who will implement it.

Criterion A.2: The amount of assistance requested seems to be appropriate for the proposed activities.

Criterion A.3: The request has been developed by the Directorate of Cultural Heritage Conservation (DCPC) of which the Census Bureau is in charge of the inventories of intangible cultural heritage and of which the staff have benefitted from capacity building workshops from UNESCO. The request is well structured and describes a series of activities following a sequence of stages which capitalize on previous results and according to a calendar that seems realistic within the time provided.

Criterion A.4: The production of a national operational plan and the promotion of the elements of intangible cultural heritage, which will contribute to a better national recognition of Pygmy communities, will allow for the inscription of the project results in a sustainable way. The implication of the associations MINAPYGA and ABAME constitutes a guarantee of sustainability in as much as the results will enrich the activities of recognition of citizenship of Pygmies populations in which these associations are actively engaged. Moreover, for local communities the results of the inventory will enrich the activities already initiated in favour of social infrastructure development and sanitation, notably by bringing together the Ministry of Tourism and the National Agency of National Parks to produce a national operational plan. At the institutional level, the project’s results will constitute a new work basis for the Census Bureau created in 2012 within DCPC to achieve its mission of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, and will contribute to finalizing the cultural charter project for which the Ministry of Culture has been leading the development process since 2011.

Criterion A.5: The State Party will contribute around 35% of the total amount of the project, which constitutes a consequent proof of engagement from national authorities in this project.

Criterion A.6: Capacity building in favour of institutions, civil society and communities constitutes one of the expected results of the project and will focus on three levels: the appropriation by communities of their own intangible cultural heritage for the purposes for developing transmission systems; the training of ministerial officials, NGOs and associations as well as members of the beneficiary communities in participatory inventorying techniques for the purpose of safeguarding; the acquisition of adequate competencies by members of the inventorying team for fundraising, the elaboration and the implementation of safeguarding and promotional measures of intangible cultural heritage. To this end the project can count on the Centre for Research and Sociological Studies of Gabon (CRES), of which one of the members is part of the Network of Expert Facilitators in UNESCO for capacity building in matters of intangible cultural heritage.

Criterion A.7: Gabon has not benefited from prior international assistance.

Criterion 10(b): The request demonstrates a potential multiplier effect the project is contributing to consolidate the experiences of the Census bureau of the DCPC and, according to the methodology of budget allocation applied to this service, it could contribute to substantially improving its operating budget by taking into account the activities linked to the operational plan resulting from the project. Furthermore, steps will be taken by the associations MINAPYGA and ABAME to their traditional, multilateral technical and financial partners (such as UNICEF, the WWF, the EGAD, the World Bank) for additional financing of programmes capitalising on the results of the present project.

  1. Approves, as authorized body, the international assistance request from Gabon for ‘Inventorying and promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Pygmy populations of Gabon’ (No. 00949) for an amount of US$24,560;
  2. Encourages the State Party, at the end of the project, to share its experiences and results with the international community and any other interested country;
  3. Requests the Secretariat to reach agreement with the requesting State Party on the technical details of the assistance, paying particular attention to the detailed budgeting of the activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.
  4. Invites the State party to use the ICH-04-Report Form to report on the use of assistance granted.