Decision of the Bureau: 10.COM 1.BUR 2.2

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Further recalling paragraph 50 of the Operational Directives, determining the cases when a request for international assistance constitutes an emergency request eligible to receive priority consideration by the Bureau,
  3. Having examined Document ITH/15/10.COM 1.BUR/2 as well as file No. 01214,
  4. Takes note that Vanuatu has requested international assistance in the amount of US$23,908 for ‘Safeguarding indigenous vernacular architecture and building knowledge in Vanuatu’:

This project seeks to document the pre- and post- cyclone condition of 6 significant traditional nakamals, the traditional meeting places in Vanuatu. These structures have recently been damaged by Cyclone Pam, a category 5 system that crossed the region on the 13 March 2015. The documentation will include both the tangible and intangible aspects of each nakamal, which will be represented through a written and visual medium. The main objective of the project will be to compile a set of best safeguarding practices that will encourage the revitalisation of building skills related to the indigenous architecture in the region, in order to ensure the continuing existence of these structures; as a result, a set of best safeguarding practices will be provided to be implemented at the village level by the communities themselves, at the national level by the Vanuatu Government and at the international level through UNESCO. The project will have four main lines of action: a desk research of tangible and intangible aspects of each nakamal, a damage assessment to document their current structural condition, an assessment of the risk of loss of the intangible cultural heritage aspects of each structure including the knowledge and skills that are required for building the nakamal that is retained within each community, and a final report listing the best safeguarding measures for each of the 6 nakamals.

  1. Recognizes that the emergency is clearly demonstrated in the request and that the need to take immediate actions is adequately justified by the importance not only to assess the material damages to these communal places but also to strengthen the role of intangible cultural heritage in their building and repairing, as well as a factor of social cohesion within those communities;
  2. Decides that, from the information provided in file No. 01214, 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 activities foreseen in the project will be carried out with the wide participation of communities in each location of the six identified nakamals, particularly of elders and the youth; these communities will also receive the findings of the project, validate the final report and benefit from the implementation of the best practices identified in it;

Criterion A.2: The budget is clear, detailed and well-structured in accordance with the proposed activities and work plan; the amount of assistance appears to be appropriate;

Criterion A.3: The proposed activities, divided into four main actions, are well conceived to address the urgent needs of the communities, to assess the damages to tangible and intangible aspects of this cultural heritage and to identify immediate solutions; the implementation strategy seems effective, thanks also to a well assorted team of specialists in different domains;

Criterion A.4: The sustainability of the project is ensured by the development of a set of best safeguarding measures for the communities to ensure that nakamals are retained and maintained adequately for the benefit of current and future generations;

Criterion A.5: The State Party and other sources contribute a half of the total project budget, through in-kind contributions and the rental of offices, allowing its contribution to be distinguished from that requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund;

Criterion A.6: Strengthening the capacities and knowledge of six communities in Vanuatu and raising their awareness of the importance of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage are central to the proposed programme and among its main results;

Criterion A.7: The beneficiary State Party has not previously received financial assistance from UNESCO in the field of intangible cultural heritage; nonetheless, it has recently received a contribution of US$18,140 from the World Heritage Fund to carry out an emergency assessment of the impacts of cyclone Pam on Chief Roi Mata’s Domain, a World Heritage site;

Criterion 10(a): The project is national in scope and involves national implementing partners;

Criterion 10(b): By identifying and recommending best safeguarding measures for the construction and maintain of knowledge and skills linked to nakamals, the project could attract new financial and technical partners;

  1. Approves, as authorized body, the international assistance request from Vanuatu for ‘Safeguarding indigenous vernacular architecture and building knowledge in Vanuatu’ (No. 01214) for an amount of US$23,908;
  2. Commends the initiative of the State Party to submit an emergency request and takes note with appreciation of its efforts to assess and mitigate the damages to its tangible and intangible cultural heritage caused by the Cyclone Pam;
  3. Further commends the State Party for the clarity and accuracy with which the request was prepared and, in particular, for the transparency in the presentation of the budget that clearly delineates the specific costs to be supported by the requesting State and other sources, and those to be supported by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund;
  4. Encourages the State Party to implement the project in close collaboration with UNESCO and with the widest possible participation of the communities concerned in the different islands;
  5. Further encourages the State Party, while implementing the proposed activities, to pay particular attention to the need to safeguard intangible cultural heritage aspects of nakamals, such as the building skills and knowledge and their transmission to future generations;
  6. Invites the State Party to consider the possibility to request a second phase of emergency assistance based on the assessment of pre- and post-cyclone conditions as well as on the results and findings of this emergency project;
  7. Requests the Secretariat to reach agreement with the requesting State Party on the technical details of the assistance;
  8. Invites the State Party to use the ICH-04-Report Form when reporting on the use made of assistance provided.