Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 14.COM 10.C.1

The Committee,

  1. Takes note that Colombia has proposed Safeguarding strategy of traditional crafts for peace building (No. 01480) for selection and promotion by the Committee as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention:

The safeguarding strategy of traditional crafts for peace building addresses the weakening of traditional crafts through a system of intergenerational transmission of knowledge between master and apprentice based on the non-formal ‘learning by doing’ method. The safeguarding strategy aims to train different sectors of the population, create labour connections and foster cultural entrepreneurship. It establishes a link between bearers of traditional crafts and skills who are recognized by their communities for their empirical knowledge of the peculiarities of their region and apprentices aged between fourteen and thirty-five who become builders of peace by learning a skill or craft, seeking to transform their situation of vulnerability. The safeguarding strategy is therefore geared at: allowing for the qualification of traditional crafts, thereby improving employment opportunities; implementing a Traditional Crafts Policy to guide and ensure continuity in the transmission and practice of these crafts; and enhancing the Workshop Schools Programme. Priority is accorded to young people who are exposed to the effects of armed conflict, a lack of opportunities, school desertion and unemployment. Training is also combined with work, guaranteeing apprentices’ future employability. The strategy thus aims to foster the safeguarding of traditional crafts as a tool for social inclusion, employment and cultural entrepreneurship. In turn, the community can recognize the cultural and societal value of safeguarding different traditional skills and crafts.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the programme responds as follows to the criteria for selection as a good safeguarding practice set out in paragraph 7 of the Operational Directives:

P.1:   The programme aims to strengthen safeguarding measures that ensure the viability of traditional crafts throughout the country. A comprehensive strategy of adequate safeguarding measures has been developed. This includes: support systems that give due recognition to bearers’ knowledge; the implementation of an inter-institutional Traditional Crafts Policy based on the apprenticeship model; and the enhancement of the existing Workshop Schools Programme to guarantee continued practice and transmission. Furthermore, in order to strengthen traditional craftsmanship and guarantee the sustainability of the bearers’ practice, the programme promotes the creation of employment from the perspective of social inclusion.

P.2:   The strategy promotes the coordination of safeguarding efforts at the national and international levels. At the national level, the policy for traditional crafts has allowed for the creation of eleven traditional crafts and skills development centres and new spaces are about to become accessible throughout the country, in its post-conflict phase. At the international level, cooperation with other countries from the Latin American region and beyond has proven to be a good example of South-South cooperation.

P.3:   The objectives of the programme focus on enhancing the recognition of and respect for cultural diversity, ensuring the continual transmission of traditional skills and know-how and promoting the contribution of intangible cultural heritage to peace building. These are fully in line with the principles and objectives of the Convention. The programme also underlines the importance of the social appropriation of intangible cultural heritage by fostering social bonds and employment opportunities for vulnerable populations affected by armed conflict.

P.4:    Since 2009, the implementation of the safeguarding strategy has provided more than 24,000 young people with skills and knowledge with support from the established traditional crafts and skills development centres. This has been effective in ensuring the viability of craftsmanship in the country and promoting the values of local cultures.

P.5:   The programme has been implemented with the participation of the bearers and communities concerned, with their free, prior and informed consent. Along with the letters of consent provided by the communities, a large number of documents are presented, demonstrating the active involvement of local actors and national institutions that work together with the communities to implement a collective strategy to revitalize traditional crafts.

P.6:   The safeguarding strategy could be adapted in different local, regional and international contexts as a model of transmission and learning to ensure the viability of intangible cultural heritage. The ‘learning by doing’ model may be replicable as a means of encouraging intergenerational transmission through everyday master-apprentice relationships and providing greater opportunities for employment and social inclusion. The strategy is especially replicable in areas affected by conflict, marginalization and socio-economic exclusion.

P.7:   The file demonstrates the commitment of various stakeholders that would cooperate in the dissemination of the strategy. These include public institutions, such as the Ministry of Culture of Colombia and the National Program of Traditional Crafts for Peace Building, as well as the bearers and masters of the practice and current and former apprentices. Other ways of sharing the knowledge and experience through public workshops are foreseen. Strategic alliances would also be established to further disseminate the programme in other countries.

P.8:   Interinstitutional coordination mechanisms exist within the programme, which develop monitoring indicators for all the traditional crafts and skills development centres. Based on these indicators, each centre submits quarterly reports to the general coordination unit providing data on their activities, including the results of the apprenticeship courses and the number of apprentices enrolled. More accurate indicators beyond the number of trainees could be envisaged to facilitate the assessment of the results.

P.9:   The safeguarding strategy of traditional crafts for peace building, which promotes the transmission of knowledge and skills related to crafts, clearly responds to the needs of developing countries, especially with regards to vulnerable populations affected by socio-economic exclusion. In addition, it could serve as an effective model for populations affected by armed conflict in post-conflict countries.

  1. Decides to select Safeguarding strategy of traditional crafts for peace building as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention;
  2. Commends the State Party for its first selection and for proposing an exemplary file that presents a safeguarding programme deeply grounded in community development and social inclusion, which contributes to the sustainable livelihood of communities and serves as a model for peace building in other countries, especially in post-conflict situations.