Decision of the Bureau: 13.COM 2.BUR 4.5

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Article 23 of the Convention as well as Chapter I.4 of the Operational Directives relating to the eligibility and criteria of International Assistance requests,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/18/13.COM 2.BUR/4 as well as International Assistance request no. 01420 submitted by Tajikistan,
  3. Takes note that Tajikistan has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage of Tajik traditional embroidery:

Implemented by the International Fund of Artisans ‘Haft Paykar’, the proposed twenty-four-month project is aimed at safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage of Tajik traditional embroidery. Since ancient times, traditional embroidery in Tajikistan has played an important role in transmitting cultural information; the ornament of the embroidery is considered to carry a special ‘code’, and by reading it people receive messages. In modern Tajik society, the element has been disappearing and people, including its bearers, are beginning to forget its meaning. As such, there is an urgent need for the element to be thoroughly understood, studied and safeguarded. To respond to this situation, the project intends to implement the following activities: creating a database and an electronic catalogue of various types of Tajik embroidery; building greater awareness, especially among younger generations, of the importance of embroidery and its safeguarding; conducting a scholarly study of embroidery heritage leading to publications and exhibitions; and holding informal training sessions for bearers on the history, decoding, meaning and value of the embroidery. As a result, the knowledge of bearers is expected to be developed and scholarly interest in the practice revived.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance is to support a project implemented at the national level, in accordance with Article 20 (c) of the Convention, and that it takes the form of the provision of a grant, pursuant to Article 21 (g) of the Convention;
  2. Also takes note that Tajikistan has requested assistance in the amount of US$44,500 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01420, 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 refers to the involvement of communities in several activities, but the practitioners are mainly seen as informants of the research and documentation work to be carried out by experts, or beneficiaries of capacity-building activities to be delivered by scholars. It also seems that the proposed ‘ethnographic fieldwork’ will be designed and implemented by specialists and will not involve the community-based inventorying approach encouraged by the 2003 Convention. Additional information is therefore required to demonstrate how the implementing non-governmental organization intends to ensure the active and broad participation of the communities concerned in every step of the project, including its design, implementation, follow-up and evaluation. Information is also needed to demonstrate that the request has emerged from the needs identified by the bearers in the regions concerned;

Criterion A.2: The budget is not presented in a sufficiently comprehensive and accurate manner to allow a thorough analysis; it should have a clear internal structure indicating all the costs related to one activity and each expenditure and its associated cost should be presented in an individual expenditure line. Inconsistencies are also noted between the amounts in Form ICH-04 Timetable and Budget and Section 17 (Budget);

Criterion A.3: While the request clearly describes that the viability of embroidery traditions in Tajikistan deserves attention, it is not clear how most of the proposed activities – which focus on research, documentation, awareness raising among scholars or the publication of an album of ornaments – will contribute to redressing the issue. The purpose, objectives, activities and expected results are not clearly distinguished and lack coherence, without demonstrating how the expected results will contribute to achieving the safeguarding objectives;

Criterion A.4: The key expected results of the project include the establishment of a database, an electronic catalogue and two publications, which is intended to remain available after the end of the project. However, the request does not describe how they will be maintained or how they will be used to raise public awareness of the importance of safeguarding intangible heritage in Tajikistan, in particular among youth. It is also not clear how will they contribute to ensuring the viability of the element. The proposed awareness-raising and capacity-building activities could potentially also have a lasting impact, but more detailed information on their exact purpose and link to the safeguarding objective is needed;

Criterion A.5: In Form ICH-04, the requesting State indicated that it would share 13.26 percent of the total budget of the project for which International Assistance is requested but this amount does not concord with the information given in Form ICH-04 Timetable and Budget;

Criterion A.6: The project foresees several short capacity-building activities for experts and bearers. However, additional information is needed to clarify their purpose and contents to allow a better understanding of whether they correspond to the spirit of the 2003 Convention;

Criterion A.7: The State Party has not previously received any financial assistance from UNESCO under the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund of the 2003 Convention to implement similar or related activities in the field of intangible cultural heritage;

Paragraph 10(a): The project is local in scope and will be implemented by national and local implementing partners;

Paragraph 10(b): The request expresses the requesting State’s hope that the results of the project could be shared through a conference to attract the interest of potential donors and national authorities, but no concrete plans seem to exist for mobilizing financial and technical contributions and developing similar projects elsewhere;

  1. Decides to refer to the requesting State the International Assistance request for the project entitled Safeguarding of Intangible cultural heritage of Tajik traditional embroidery and invites it to submit a revised request to the Bureau for examination at a forthcoming session;
  2. Encourages the State Party, if it wishes to resubmit its request, to revise the content of the project, taking into account the concerns raised, and to ensure that there is a correspondence between the overall objectives and the proposed activities, budget and timetable of the project and that transparent details are provided through the presentation of an accurate and coherent budget.