Decision of the Bureau: 14.COM 2.BUR 5.3

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 2.BUR/5 as well as International Assistance request no. 01448 submitted by Lao People’s Democratic Republic,
  3. Takes note that Lao People’s Democratic Republic has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Capacity building for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage through creation of a community based ICH inventory for Luang Prabang:

The proposed twenty-four-month project – to be implemented by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Team of the Department of Information, Culture and Tourism in Luang Prabang – is geared at building capacities for safeguarding living heritage through the creation of a community-based inventory for Luang Prabang. In the long term, the project plans to merge intangible cultural heritage mapping with the existing Luang Prabang World Heritage Town Management Plan, to ensure that the safeguarding of living heritage and the management of Luang Prabang World Heritage Town are developed in a coordinated manner. To this end, a pilot project is proposed, with the following medium-term objectives: strengthen the capacities of communities, academic personnel and government officers in conducting community-based inventorying; develop tested training materials for trainers and materials for community members in the Lao language; enhance the participation and leadership of communities in creating inventories; evaluate the viability of elements of living heritage and identify those at risk; and raise awareness of the significance of intangible cultural heritage generally. The training of trainers will be organized at the provincial level and will include resource persons who have undergone training in previous UNESCO capacity-building programmes, and extended to community members, government officials, academics and cultural focal points. This is expected to build a network of national trainers to lay the foundation for subsequent safeguarding projects related to intangible cultural heritage. The project also foresees to conduct a provincial survey to understand the overall situation of living heritage and identify the elements at risk. Overall, the pilot project model of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage is aimed to be replicated all over Luang Prabang Province and to serve as a model at the national level.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance includes the preparation of inventories and is to support a project implemented at the local level, in accordance with Article 20 (b) and (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 Lao People’s Democratic Republic has requested assistance in the amount of US$99,886 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01448, 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 information provided in the request indicates the interest, enthusiasm and active participation of community members concerned from the Luang Prabang province in the preparation of the project. In particular, the year-long consultation undertaken with the Had Hien community, where the pilot community-based inventory is foreseen to take place, further implies the central role communities may play during the implementation of the project. Community participation is further nurtured through the different activities foreseen within the framework of the project, including in the preparation of the training manual, the training of trainers and the pilot community-based inventory. Communities will be closely involved during the evaluation of these activities.

Criterion A.2: The budget is presented in a systematic manner, reflecting the planned activities and related expenses. Therefore, the amount of assistance requested can be considered as appropriate for the implementation of the proposed activities. Nevertheless, more precise and detailed information would have been desirable for some expenditure items in all three components of the project.

Criterion A.3: The request consists of three main activities presented in a sequential manner, partly taking into account the recommendation to link safeguarding projects with sustainable development put forward through the Japanese Fund-in-Trust project on capacity building for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in Asia and the Pacific. Each activity is clearly identified and corresponds to the objectives and expected results outlined in the request. Even though more precise information, for instance on the number of community members undertaking the training of trainers, would have been desirable, the planned activities seem to be feasible within the proposed project duration.

Criterion A.4: The sustainability of the project depends on the training of trainers approach, to ensure that the capacities and skills acquired continue to be transmitted beyond the duration of the project. As the participants identified for this training primarily include community members, government officials, academics and culture focal points who have previously been involved in the inventorying activities, the reinforcement of their capacities will create a conducive environment for the further transmission of this knowledge to other community members. This will make it possible to merge elements of living heritage with the existing Luang Prabang World Heritage Town Management Plan and establish a well-rounded development plan for the Town.

Criterion A.5: The contribution of the State Party mainly relates to sharing the associated staff costs, which represent 29 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 communities inhabiting the Luang Prabang province in safeguarding their living heritage through training on community-based inventorying as well as providing hands‑on experience through a pilot inventory in the Had Hien community. Since the project is grounded on the capacity-building activities already conducted in the State, an increased number of community members, government officials and civil society organizations will be trained, further ensuring the transmission of knowledge to community members in the province and assisting with developing additional inventories at the local and national level.

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 would imply cooperation with partners at different levels, including the Department of Information, Culture and Tourism in Luang Prabang and the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre at the provincial level, as well as the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation, an accredited NGO that has provided support with past community-based inventory projects in the country since 2015.

Paragraph 10(b): The request suggests that the assistance would have a multiplier effect by replicating the experience gained through the proposed pilot community-based inventorying methodology in other provinces and districts of Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Furthermore, the materials developed within the framework of the project would be used in other parts of the country to develop the capacities of community members in the inventorying process. The request also highlights that the project could stimulate synergies with other civil society organizations, institutes and international NGOs.
  1. Approves the International Assistance request from Lao People’s Democratic Republic for the project entitled Capacity building for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage through creation of a community based ICH inventory for Luang Prabang and grants the amount of US$99,886 to the State Party to this end;
  2. Takes notes of the positive experience of the technical assistance provided to Lao People’s Democratic Republic in finalizing this request, and invites the State Party to capitalize on the skills of the staff who directly benefited from this assistance;
  3. Requests that the Secretariat reach an agreement with the requesting State Party on the technical details of the assistance, paying particular attention to ensuring that the work plan of the activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund is precise and specific enough to provide a sufficient justification of the expenditures and to reflect the desired duration of the project;
  4. Further 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;
  5. Invites the State Party to use Form ICH-04 Report when reporting on the use of the assistance provided.