Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 11.COM 10

The Committee,

  1. Recalling Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined documents ITH/16/11.COM/10, ITH/16/11.COM/10.a, ITH/16/11.COM/10.b and ITH/16/11.COM/10.c, as well as files submitted by the respective States Parties,
  3. Appreciates the growing diversity of elements submitted by States Parties, which reflects cultural diversity and testifies to human creativity;
  4. Welcomes nominations concerning elements that highlight the linkages between intangible and tangible cultural heritage;
  5. Congratulates in particular those submitting States having presented nominations for the first time and those that can serve as good examples for future submissions;
  6. Further welcomes the first submission of a nomination for inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List combined with a request for International Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, takes note of the initial observations from the Evaluation Body, encourages the States Parties to take advantage of this new combined mechanism and requests the Secretariat to do the necessary revisions in the form ICH-01bis with a view to eliminating the discrepancies between the criteria to grant International Assistance indicated in the Operational Directives and the questions in the form, and between the way objectives and results are defined in different parts of it;
  7. Reiterates its concern regarding the limited number of nominations for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and requests for International Assistance;
  8. Commends the seven States Parties that submitted proposals to the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices and encourages States Parties to continue submitting effective and innovative examples of good practices in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in order for the Register to include a critical mass of practices that could benefit communities, States Parties and other stakeholders;
  9. Recalls that Article 18 of the Convention states that programmes, projects and activities best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention shall be selected and promoted by the Committee, reaffirms that this mechanism is meant to provide a platform for sharing and learning rather than to define the ‘best’ and therefore suggests that the Secretariat use the shortened title ‘Register of Good Safeguarding Practices’ (rather than ‘Register of Best Safeguarding Practices’) when referring to the Register;
  10. Expresses its satisfaction with the work of the Evaluation Body and thanks its members for their efforts and the quality of the present report;
  11. Further appreciates the assistance of the Secretariat to facilitate the work of the Evaluation Body;
  12. Further requests the Secretariat to propose a procedure, to the next session of the Committee, which would include an intermediary step in the evaluation of files, thus allowing submitting States to respond to preliminary recommendations that the Evaluation Body would have addressed beforehand to the Secretariat;
  13. Decides to establish an informal ad hoc working group, to be convened by the Chair of the next session of the Committee, which would meet intersessionally to examine the issues related to the consultation and dialogue between the Evaluation Body and the submitting States, the decision-making process of the Committee on nominations, proposals and requests, as well as any other issue in order to strengthen the implementation of the Convention; and to submit its recommendations to the Committee at its next session with a view to presenting revisions of the Operational Directives to the General Assembly;
  14. Reminds States Parties of the importance of linkages between the different criteria for inscription and underlines that a clear definition of the proposed element and of communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals that consider such an element as part of their intangible cultural heritage, is crucial for the elaboration of adequate safeguarding measures;
  15. Calls attention to the importance of Article 11.b, 12 as well as 15 of the Convention with regard to drawing up and updating inventories of the intangible cultural heritage prior to submitting nominations to the Lists of the Convention;
  16. Encourages States Parties to proactively provide pertinent information in nomination files regarding the compatibility of the proposed element with existing international human rights instruments;
  17. Further recalls that the purpose of the Representative List is to ensure better visibility and awareness of intangible cultural heritage in general, and to encourage dialogue which respects cultural diversity, invites States Parties, when responding to criterion R.2, to clearly elucidate among the possible consequences of inscription those related to this overall purpose, and requests the Secretariat to adjust the nomination form to facilitate the provision of appropriate answers to this criterion;
  18. Further reminds States Parties of the importance of including in safeguarding plans the establishment of mechanisms to monitor the impact of inscription, including potential negative and unintended consequences of inscription;
  19. Expresses its concern towards nominations that seem to describe a top-down governmental and centralized approach or the establishment of coercive measures in safeguarding plans, and emphasizes the importance of the central role of communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals, in elaborating safeguarding plans and nomination files;
  20. Takes note of the guidance note on inventorying currently being developed by the Secretariat and welcomes the adjustments to the nomination forms concerning R.5/U.5 following Decision 10.COM 10 that should facilitate the submission of complete nominations by States Parties;
  21. Also appreciates the efforts of States Parties to address the contribution of the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage to sustainable development, notably in terms of environmental sustainability, enhancement of local economies, intercultural or interreligious dialogue, and encourages States Parties to continue elaborating submissions that address these aspects, thus contributing to the objectives of the Convention;
  22. Reiterates, as emphasized in Decisions 9.COM 10 and 10.COM 10, the need to elaborate nominations, including titles of nominations, with the utmost care in order to avoid inappropriate expressions or vocabulary that are not in line with the objectives of the Convention or may provoke misunderstanding among communities and affect dialogue and mutual respect;
  23. Further expresses its concern towards nominations emphasizing nation-building or even nationalistic purposes and reminds States Parties that nominations shall remain in accordance with the objectives of the Convention and contribute to mutual respect among communities;
  24. Also welcomes the submission of multinational nominations and nominations extended at the national level, reiterates, in reference to Decisions 9.COM 10 and 10.COM 10, that such nominations must demonstrate the awareness of all stakeholders concerned regarding the shared nature and, if applicable, extended nature of the proposed element, and reminds States Parties that extended nominations must pertain to the newly defined element as a whole and not only to new aspects of the element;
  25. Also reminds States Parties to provide translations of lyrics and verse, including in videos, for nominating elements that involve oral traditions to achieve greater overall audience understanding, thus encouraging dialogue and mutual respect beyond national and language boundaries;
  26. Further encourages the Secretariat to continue offering technical assistance and other support to States Parties wishing to request International Assistance and invites States Parties to take advantage of these possibilities.