Decision of the Bureau: 10.COM 2.BUR 5.3

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/15/10.COM 2.BUR 5 as well as file No. 00912,
  3. Takes notes that Togo has requested international assistance to inventory, safeguard and promote the skills involved in manufacturing and playing traditional Togolese musical instruments. Pilot phase in Maritime Region, south Togo:

The last general inventory of the intangible cultural heritage, drawn up in 2011, revealed some important principles and skills that had not yet been adequately documented; more intensive efforts to introduce and implement safeguarding measures are therefore required. A major gap in the inventory included the skills needed to manufacture and play traditional musical instruments and for their accompanying dances, for which certain communities, including the villages of Yohonou and Amégran (south Togo), had called for the implementation of a safeguarding strategy. Indeed, the viability of the majority of these musical practices and the skills involved in manufacturing the instruments are at risk because the custom of handing them down to the next generation is under threat. As a result, there has been a gradual decline in the traditional dances performed and instruments played during traditional ceremonies. The project's main aim is therefore to safeguard and promote the skills needed to manufacture and play traditional musical instruments in the communities by ensuring that the practices associated with them live on. It will allow an inventory to be compiled, with a focus on describing and categorizing these instruments, the manufacturing process, and their socio-cultural functions. The process of compiling the inventories will involve young people from local communities who will be specially trained in community-based inventorying. The project's findings will be recorded using audiovisual media and in an illustrated index for use by researchers and other participants. A local exhibition documenting these cultural activities as well as cultural events will also be organized in the region. All these initiatives will serve as a basis for developing measures to safeguard and propagate these skills and practices. The project will also introduce activities designed to inspire communities to pass on customs from generation to generation by ensuring that skilled community members help to train the young instrument makers and musicians. This project represents a pilot phase and its results will be used as a basis to develop a project across the country.

  1. Further notes that this assistance concerns support for a project carried out at national level aimed at the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage, in accordance with Article 20 of the Convention, and that it takes the form of the granting of a donation, in line with Article 21 (g) of the Convention;
  2. Also takes notes that Togo requested an allocation of US$ 24 950 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of the project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file No. 00912, 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 project has arisen from the needs expressed by the relevant communities, which appealed to the Ministry of Culture while the 2011 general inventory was in progress and requested that a strategy be devised to safeguard the manufacturing techniques and practices associated with traditional musical instruments. The inventory-making process aims to be inclusive and participative by involving the communities in the data collection and analysis phase, as well as in the outreach activities. As stakeholders in the project's local team, the communities will also be involved on a decision-making level.

Criterion A.2: The overall amount requested seems to adequately cover the proposed activities.

Criterion A.3: The request was put forward by the National Cultural Heritage Commission (CNPC), which is tasked with drawing up inventories. The activities have been designed taking into account the lessons learned during the 2011 general inventory. They are structured in a logical and coherent eight-stage process. They are consistent with the objectives and expected project results and the proposed schedule appears feasible within the stated timeframe.

Criterion A.4: The sustainability of the project's results appears to be guaranteed. The inventory will be regularly updated and distributed among the various stakeholders. In addition, the 30 young people trained to manufacture and play the traditional instruments will have a role in ensuring that this knowledge is passed on; this will contribute to the long term impact of the project at community level. The same applies for the trained members of the research teams who will participate in the final phases of the project.

Criterion A.5: The State Party will contribute around 53% of the total cost of the project, demonstrating the national authorities’ clear commitment thereto.

Criterion A.6: Capacity building is one of the expected outcomes of the project, on three different levels. At a community level, young researchers from the various communities will receive training in community-based inventory-making, and shall thus become human resources for the Ministry of Culture and points of contact within their respective communities. Other young people from the communities will be trained in manufacturing traditional musical instruments in order to keep both the skills themselves and the custom of intergenerational transmission alive. Furthermore, on an infrastructure level, the collections and exhibitions in the community's museums will be enriched. At an institutional level, the inventory project represents a new task which will develop the skills of CNPC members. Finally, the student researchers taking part in the project will gain valuable field experience.

Criterion A.7: Togo has already received international assistance in the amount of US$ 24 770 to conduct the general inventory in 2010-2011. The work stipulated by the contract related to this project was carried out in compliance with UNESCO regulations.

Criterion 10(b): This project constitutes the pilot phase of a broader nationwide initiative. The implementation project for the other five regions in Togo will be developed after the results have been evaluated and the methodology reviewed. It is also expected that training young people to make traditional instruments will in turn encourage professional Togolese musicians to learn to play these instruments. Lastly, following the planned exhibition, regular exhibitions supported by Togo's Cultural Support Fund (FAC) will be held every two years, offering major publicity opportunities for local artists through traditional music festivals. The FAC will also be called upon to fund the production of large numbers of copies of the DVD and the index so that as many as possible can be made available to the wider public. Similarly, the Ministry of Culture has introduced a biennale of arts and culture; its first edition is scheduled for 2016. Once the project has been launched throughout the country’s regions, the periodic exhibitions will be gradually incorporated into the biennale of arts and culture.

  1. Decides to approve the request for international assistance from Togo to inventory, safeguard and promote the skills involved in manufacturing and playing traditional Togolese musical instruments with the pilot phase taking place in the Maritime Region, south Togo (No. 00912) for an amount of US$ 24 950;.
  2. Takes notes of the positive experience of the technical assistance provided to Togo in finalising this request, and invites the State Party to capitalize on the skills of the staff who directly benefited from the assistance;
  3. Welcomes the caution shown by the State Party in starting with a pilot phase and encourages it to share its experiences and results at the end of the project with the international community and any other interested countries;
  4. Further encourages the State Party to develop a long-term safeguarding plan with the communities involved using the findings of the project and to revitalise the National Committee for Intangible Cultural Heritage through staff trained within the framework of the project;
  5. Requests the Secretariat to reach an 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;
  6. Invites the State Party to use the ICH-04-Report form when reporting on the use made of assistance provided.