Decision of the Bureau: 14.COM 1.BUR 3.1

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 LHE/19/14.COM 1.BUR/3 as well as International Assistance request no. 01531 submitted by Cameroon,
  3. Takes note that Cameroon has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Capacity building for the safeguarding and managing of the intangible cultural heritage in Cameroon:

Implemented by the Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Arts and Culture, the proposed eighteen month project aims to strengthen the capacity of the Bamoun and Sawa communities to safeguard their intangible cultural heritage. The proposed initiative would take place within the broader national general inventory programme for cultural heritage, under which two training workshops have already been held in Cameroon’s West and Littoral provinces since 2016. The proposed project, which will cover three geographical departments – the Noun, the Wouri and the Nkam – seeks to train eighty participants from the Bamoun and Sawa communities in safeguarding their intangible cultural heritage through two workshops in Foumban and Douala; develop platforms for intergenerational communication through the organization of monthly meetings encouraging community members to exchange on their living practices and to monitor project activities; create a data bank on living heritage available to the general public and a network of practitioners; and disseminate information to community members of all ages on two specific elements of intangible cultural heritage (the Ngondo and the Ngouon) through weekly radio programmes, a video documentary and a publication translated into local languages.

  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 Cameroon has requested assistance in the amount of US$98,200 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01531, 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 foresees the broad participation of the Bamoun and Sawa communities throughout all stages of the project, including its preparation, implementation and evaluation. In addition, the activities seem to be partly based on the outcomes of two capacity-building workshops held in 2016 and 2017, to which representatives from both communities concerned participated, although the information provided does not explain clearly whether the request addresses specific needs identified by these communities; this concerns, for instance, whether the focus on two specific elements of living heritage (the Ngondo and the Ngouon) actually stems from the wishes expressed by these communities.

Criterion A.2: The budget is not presented in a sufficiently structured and coherent manner to support the description of the proposed activities. Furthermore, it seems to omit a number of planned expenditures, which raises questions as to whether the amount requested would be suffice to duly implement the project. In addition, several of the calculations lack detailed explanations in the budget table. Taking all these issues together, the appropriateness of the amount requested cannot be fully assessed.

Criterion A.3: The request presents seven distinct activities, combining both activities aimed at sensitizing and reinforcing the overall capacities of two communities to safeguard their living heritage and activities specifically focusing on raising the visibility of two elements, without any explanation of the rationale behind the selection of these two elements. The logical sequence between the seven activities is very tenuous, from training activities focusing on safeguarding methodologies and nominations and documentation activities on living practices in the Bamoun and Sawa communities to awareness-raising actions on only two elements of their living heritage, the establishment of a database and various project monitoring measures. While some of the proposed activities, such as training workshops, clearly and directly contribute to the project goals, other actions lack any proper explanation and justification in light of the objectives pursued.

Criterion A.4: The project foresees measures that could contribute to the sustainability of its expected results, including the establishment of local community-based committees responsible for the monitoring of activities during and after the project. However, in order to demonstrate that the project could achieve lasting results, additional information is required on several of these measures, such as the development of a practical guide on the documentation of intangible cultural heritage or the establishment of a network of trainers and supporters of community-based documentation of intangible cultural heritage. Furthermore, the request does not demonstrate how the creation of a database of living practices in the two selected communities would make it possible to identify, define and implement appropriate safeguarding measures for the elements identified.

Criterion A.5: The requesting State will share 27 per cent of the overall budget of the project for which International Assistance is requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.

Criterion A.6: The project is aimed at reinforcing the capacities of the Bamoun and Sawa communities in the safeguarding of their living heritage through the organization of two training workshops focusing on safeguarding methodologies and the preparation of nominations to the Lists of the Convention. However, the request does not clearly articulate how these proposed training activities would complement the ones already organized in 2016 and 2017. In addition, the link between the planned content of the training workshops and subsequent activities focusing on the documentation and inventorying of living heritage is not substantiated, which raises concerns about the future capacity of the communities to better safeguard their heritage.

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 national in scope and its implementation involves national and local partners, including the Ministry of Arts and Culture and local committees involved in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.

Paragraph 10(b): The request considers that the enhanced safeguarding of two specific practices will contribute to social cohesion and peace-building in the target areas and in the rest of the country, which will stimulate additional financial contributions from the national authorities. However, the project seems to only foresee awareness-raising activities concerning these two elements and its capacity to mobilize additional resources is therefore not clearly demonstrated.

  1. Decides to refer to the requesting State the International Assistance request for the project entitled Capacity building for the safeguarding and managing of the intangible cultural heritage in Cameroon and invites it to submit a revised request to the Bureau for examination at a forthcoming session;
  2. Takes note that the request is a revised version submitted by the State following the support provided by the Secretariat to improve the initial request through an additional information letter and acknowledges the difficulty that the submitting State experienced in revising the request;
  3. Further invites the requesting State to consider receiving technical assistance through the provision of experts, as described in Article 21 of the Convention, and requests that the Secretariat make timely arrangements for such assistance should the requesting State wish to receive it;
  4. Encourages the State Party, if it wishes to resubmit the request, to revise the content of the project, taking into account the above-mentioned concerns, and to ensure there is a clear correspondence between the overall objectives and the proposed activities, budget and timetable of the project.