Decision of the Bureau: 12.COM 1.BUR 2.1

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/17/12.COM 1.BUR/2, as well as International Assistance request no. 01224,
  3. Takes note that Colombia has requested International Assistance for a project entitled Safeguarding of the Traditional Knowledge for the Protection of Sacred Natural Sites in the Territory of the Jaguars of Yuruparí, Vaupes Province, Colombia:

The project is aimed at safeguarding the knowledge associated with the stewardship of sacred sites of the jaguar shamans of Yuruparí settled in the Pirá Paraná River, in south-eastern Colombia. Inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011, their traditional knowledge is an organic system that seeks to maintain the balance between humans and nature. According to this ancestral wisdom, the Pirá Paraná forms the heart of a large area, whose sacred sites contain vital spiritual energy that nurtures all living beings in the world. Factors such as mining policies or the emigration of young people from these cultural spaces have an impact on their lifestyle and constitute serious threats to the viability of this knowledge system, particularly relating to the management of natural resources and sacred sites. A central component of the Special Safeguarding Plan for the traditional knowledge of the jaguar shamans of Yuruparí was an endogenous research programme conducted by the Association of Captains and Traditional Indigenous Authorities of the Pirá Paraná (ACAIPI) in close cooperation with the Colombian non-governmental organization, Gaia Amazonas, and supported by the Ministry of Culture between 2011 and 2013. Implemented by Gaia Amazonas, the present project is a continuation of this initiative, which, due to budgetary constraints, no longer enjoys such support from governmental resources. Specific objectives of the programme are to facilitate the transmission of the traditional knowledge from knowledge-holders to young generations as well as to document sacred sites present in the Yuruparí territory. Planned activities to achieve the project objectives include fieldwork conducted by indigenous youth groups in the most significant sacred sites, the processing and systematization of the information collected, and the publication of six bilingual booklets.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance concerns support for a project carried out at the local level aimed at safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in accordance with Article 20 (c) 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 note that Colombia requested an allocation of US$25,000 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of the project;
  3. Decides that from the information provided in file no. 01224, 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 request seeks financial support for an endogenous research programme already underway. The programme was designed and implemented by the Association of Captains and Traditional Indigenous Authorities of the Pirá Paraná (ACAIPI) and in particular by its highest authority, the Assembly of the Traditional Authorities, which brings together the senior knowledge-holders of each ethnic group and the captains (leaders) of each of the communities. Having already developed their own endogenous research protocol, communities, especially their young members, will be involved through ACAIPI with each stage of the project, including its regular evaluation;

Criterion A.2: Although the total amount of assistance requested and the budget per activity appear to be appropriate for the scope of the project and its expected results, the level of detail provided for all the expenditure lines is not sufficient to assess whether all the budgeted amounts are justified;

Criterion A.3: The proposed activities are described in detail and articulated in a logical sequence, from the inventory work in the sacred sites identified, including the selection of the participants, to the processing of information, translation and systematization and the development of six bilingual booklets intended to serve as guidelines in the development of educational activities led by community teachers in both elementary and secondary schools;

Criterion A.4: As part of a long-term strategy, the project results are likely to last beyond the end of the assistance: the emphasis on young members of indigenous communities and on research carried out by the communities themselves could have lasting effects on both the transmission of traditional knowledge and the promotion of respect for them and on the communities' capacities to exercise stewardship over sacred sites and to decide on safeguarding measures affecting their cultural heritage;

Criterion A.5: The State will share 32 per cent of the overall budget of the project for which the International Assistance is requested, while together ACAIPI and Gaia Amazonas Foundation will cover 13 per cent;

Criterion A.6: Throughout the project, not only will the younger generations gain a better understanding of the traditional knowledge of the jaguar shamans of Yuruparí and alternative methods of transmission will be strengthened, but the capacities of the community as a whole to safeguard its cultural heritage and to draw on it as a tool for territorial and environmental management will be reinforced. The project should also contribute to the strengthening of ACAIPI’s project management capacities;

Criterion A.7: Colombia has never implemented any activities financed by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund;

Paragraph 10(a): The project is local in scope while involving cooperation between the local communities’ representative association and the Colombian Ministry of Culture;

Paragraph 10(b): By helping to position ACAIPI as the main actor in safeguarding traditional knowledge of the jaguar shamans of Yuruparí with respect to local government entities, the project aims to improve access to local and national funding to continue the implementation of the Special Safeguarding Plan, to which the Ministry of Culture can provide technical and methodological support;

  1. Approves the International Assistance request from Colombia for a project entitled Safeguarding of the Traditional Knowledge for the Protection of Sacred Natural Sites in the Territory of the Jaguars of Yuruparí, Vaupes Province, Colombia and grants an amount of US$25,000 to the State Party to this end;
  2. Requests that the Secretariat reach an agreement with the requesting State Party on the technical details of the assistance, paying particular attention to a detailed work plan and the budget of the activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund which is specific enough to provide a sufficient justification of the expenditures and to allow the actual expenses to be matched directly against the projections;
  3. Invites the State Party to use the ICH-04-Report Form when reporting on the use of the assistance provided.