Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 17.COM 7.B.40

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia have nominated Lipizzan horse breeding traditions (No. 01687) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Lipizzan horse breeding traditions were initially used to breed horses for the Habsburg imperial court in Vienna, but today the Lipizzan horse plays a special role in the everyday cultural and social life of communities in rural areas. They are included in events, celebrations and festivities such as horse blessings, carnival processions and parades. The horses also play a key role in therapeutic riding and sustainable tourism. The people who work at the state stud farms represent the main bearers of the element, along with therapists, craftspeople, groups of equestrian sports, military traditionalists, local communities and farm visitors. The values, knowledge, skills and practices are transmitted through hands-on experience, seminars and training sessions, as well as during festive and sporting events. The practice is also part of the curricula of certain local primary schools and of all agricultural and vocational schools and agricultural and veterinary universities. Lipizzan horse breeding has united communities for over 450 years, generating a strong sense of shared identity, including through its specialized vocabulary and the close emotional connection between breeders and horses.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   The element represents the knowledge, practices and skills relating to the breeding, caring and training of Lipizzan horses. The element is linked to a range of cultural and social practices involving the Lipizzan horses and also entails the craftsmanship associated with horse breeding. The element's bearers are the men and women who work at the stud farms, and are involved in roles including breeding, husbandry, training and education, in addition to private breeders and therapists. The knowledge and skills are transmitted on a theoretical and a practical level through the training process and during the practitioners' daily interactions with colleagues and horses, as well as by organizing seminars and sessions. The element forms an integral part of local celebrations and festivities such as weddings, carnivals and folklore events. The Lipizzan horses play a symbolic role for countries and are used on various items or artefacts such as coins, banknotes, emblems, labels and postage stamps. The element aligns with established standards regarding animal husbandry and animal welfare, and contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 15, Life on land.

R.2:   At the local level, inscription of the element will enhance understanding of the dynamic nature of intangible cultural heritage, especially in rural contexts, and of the key role of intangible cultural heritage in sustainable development. At the national level, inscription will draw attention to intangible cultural heritage relating to the knowledge and practices concerning nature. At the international level, inscription will contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general by highlighting the close relations among people, animals and nature, promoting cultural and biological diversity, as well as shedding light on the correlation between material aspects (such as cultural landscapes and historical sites) and intangible cultural heritage. The tradition of breeding Lipizzan horses is based on mutual respect between people and animals and represents the link between them and the surrounding natural environment. The element encourages rural development, biological diversity and sustainable development.

R.3:   The file provides information on past and current safeguarding efforts, which include formal and informal education, research, promotion through media and the arts and sustainable tourism and agri-tourism. The proposed safeguarding measures include efforts to encourage transmission to younger generations, research and scientific studies, the establishment of an international working group involving bearers and practitioners and various promotional activities. The file explains that practitioners will meet on a regular basis to monitor the element after inscription, follow up on the implementation of safeguarding measures and discuss the possible unintended results of inscription (such as tourist exploitation, reduction of the element to entertainment, or commercialization). The proposed safeguarding measures are the result of in-depth dialogue between practitioners, bearers, local communities and competent bodies and authorities at the local, national and international levels.

R.4:   The communities have actively participated in the multinational nomination process in close cooperation with each submitting State's organizations. The first conversations between state stud farms, community members and state representatives were initiated by the communities in 2015. This was followed by various meetings for the preparation of the nomination. The participants discussed the definition and scope of the element and the cultural and social functions of the element, and developed the safeguarding measures together. The consent and support of the communities was demonstrated in the form of written letters, short video messages and drawings by children. Consent was submitted by the communities at the state stud farms and local communities which included farm owners, private breeders and their families, regional and national associations, carriage drivers, equestrian teams, clubs, national equestrian associations, and vocational schools and universities.

R.5:   The element is included in the inventories of all the submitting States. The information about the inventories, including the organizations responsible for updating them, the updating frequency and the reference numbers, are provided in the file. The file explains the processes through which the element was identified and defined in the inventory for each State. The roles of the communities, groups and individuals concerned in the inventorying processes of the submitting States were provided as well.

  1. Decides to inscribe Lipizzan horse breeding traditions on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the States Parties for an exemplary multinational nomination file that demonstrates close collaboration among the submitting States, in line with the principles of international cooperation and the promotion of mutual understanding of the Convention.