Decision of the Bureau: 13.COM 2.BUR 4.6

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.COM2.BUR/4 as well as International Assistance request no. 01430 submitted by Tonga,
  3. Takes note that Tonga has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Community-based Inventorying and Transmission of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Island of Tongatapu in Tonga:

The proposed project, to be implemented by the Culture Division of the Ministry of Tourism in partnership with community representatives and associations, focuses on community-based inventorying and the transmission of intangible cultural heritage in the island of Tongatapu in Tonga. Numerous elements of Tongan living heritage are currently under threat, for reasons that include rapid changes in Tongan society due to migration away from rural areas and out of the country, external cultural influences, and the adverse effect of development projects over the past decade. The Tongan government has made concerted efforts to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, and it is in this context that the Culture Division seeks complementary funding. The proposed project aims to strengthen capacities in community-based inventorying by raising the awareness and capacities of communities and creating a corps of researchers to assist the communities through field research in Tongatapu. The information collected will feed into the national inventory and information systems to be hosted at the Tonga Culture Centre in Tongatapu. To this end, the project will include a one-week capacity-building workshop, community-based inventorying and field research, the establishment of the national inventory and information systems, and support for the transmission of intangible cultural heritage elements in need of urgent safeguarding.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance is to support a project implemented at the local 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 Tonga has requested assistance in the amount of US$85,913 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01430, 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 concerns the community-based inventorying of intangible cultural heritage in one of the main islands of the Kingdom of Tonga and its transmission to future generations. The communities are fully involved in every stage of the project as the key actors: from designing the project through to its implementation as well as monitoring activities and the final evaluation. Representatives from the communities concerned in the island of Tongatapu were consulted during the preparation phase and the entire communities will be at the very center of the inventorying and transmission processes;

Criterion A.2: The budget is detailed and in line with the proposed activities, and the amount of assistance requested appears to be appropriate. The budget for supporting transmission activities for intangible cultural heritage elements in need of urgent safeguarding is included as a lump sum, but this seems to be justifiable as their specific implementation and relative costs would depend on the outcomes of the prior inventory-making;

Criterion A.3: The main objective of this project is to enhance the capacities of Tongan communities in the island to inventory their intangible cultural heritage and transmit it to future generations. The proposed activities, divided along these two main axes of action, are well-conceived and structured, and the proposed timeline for their implementation follows a logical sequence that seems to be feasible. Furthermore, it is expected that the results of the project would feed into capacity-building and inventorying initiatives already in place at the national level;

Criterion A.4: The project will strengthen the capacities of trainees who will be able to continue the community-based inventorying work on Tongan intangible cultural heritage even after the completion of the project. The participation of educational institutions as partners will also enable them to integrate the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage into their research programmes and projects;

Criterion A.5: The contribution by the beneficiary State Party concerns the hiring of the venue for the community-based inventorying workshop; this represents only 0.2 per cent of the overall budget of the project for which International Assistance is requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund; additional in-kind contribution from the State Party is highly recommended during the implementation of the project;

Criterion A.6: The request for assistance is explicitly aimed at building up and reinforcing national and local capacities to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, and in particular to draw up inventories in the island of Tongatapu in the Kingdom of Tonga. The project will also raise awareness about the importance of safeguarding Tongan living heritage not only among community members but also at the national level within relevant government bodies;

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 proposed activities are local in scope and imply cooperation with local and national implementing partners including community associations, NGOs, research institutes as well as national line Ministries;

Paragraph 10(b): The knowledge and expertise of community-based inventorying could be applied beyond the island to the remaining islands of the Kingdom of Tonga in the future. The successful accomplishment of the project could also stimulate financial and technical contributions from other national institutions in Tonga, including NGOs and educational institutions.

  1. Approves the International Assistance request from Tonga for the project entitled Community-based Inventorying and Transmission of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Island of Tongatapu in Tonga and grants the amount of US$85,913 to the State Party to this end;
  2. Requests that the submitting State work with the Secretariat at the earliest possible opportunity to clarify the budget breakdown and ensure that detailed information is included for all components of the project;
  3. Invites the State Party to use Form ICH-04 Report when reporting on the use of the assistance provided.