- Takes note that Paraguay has nominated Ancestral and traditional techniques for the elaboration of the ‘Poncho Para’i de 60 Listas’, from the city of Piribebuy, Republic of Paraguay (No. 01992) for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding:
The Poncho Para’í de 60 Listas de Piribebuy is a handmade garment from Paraguay consisting of three parts: the body, the fringes and the fajita or guard. Each part entails different crafting procedures which are carried out collaboratively by women weavers. To create the poncho, the practitioners weave three types of cotton threads, corresponding to the three parts of the garment. Each weaver makes a part of the poncho and specializes in one of the processes. While weavers have their own style and designs, they develop skills for teamwork in order to save time and resources, with the ultimate goal of maintaining the quality of the product. The materials associated with creating the poncho, including the thread, pallets and wooden chairs, are also made by hand. Historically, the ancestral techniques, which were first used by the native peoples, have been transmitted from weaver mothers to daughters orally, through observation and practice. Today, the Safeguarding School also helps weavers pass on their knowledge to future generations. The Poncho Para´í de 60 Listas is a symbol of unity and identity in the city of Piribebuy and is recognized nationally for its design and originality.
- Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding:
U.1: The element involves the techniques of artisan weaving of three types of cotton threads, corresponding to the parts that make up the poncho. It is a collaborative practice, done by women, whose role in transmission is a fundamental pillar to the element’s safeguarding. The women’s roles are linked to their level of experience. Some carry the knowledge and skills to produce an entire poncho, whereas others master the skills to the create one of the poncho’s components. There are also trainees who are engaged in the recently established safeguarding school. Today, as in the past, the related knowledge and skills are transmitted through observation and practice, and also involves teamwork. There are no guides or manuals. The garment represents Paraguayan identity and is a symbol of unity in the city of Piribebuy and of the native people of Paraguay. The element empowers women and offers sustainable work opportunities and income for its practitioners.
U.2: The element is in need of urgent safeguarding due to the health and low number of practitioners, most of whom are advanced in age. Only two are able to demonstrate all the components of the element. There is decreased demand for the element due to the cost, and the element can only be afforded by wealthier populations. The costs are affected by the importation of high-quality raw materials from Peru. Additionally, there is limited interest of younger generations to learn and practice the element because of its low income-generating capacity. Also affecting the element is a lack of promotional and marketing skills available to the practitioners, limiting the commercialization potential.
U.3: Past and current safeguarding measures include declaring the element as Paraguayan intangible heritage, designating a practitioner as a living human treasure and establishing a safeguarding school. Other measures such as data collection, festivals and celebrations and awareness-raising workshops have also been taking place. The proposed safeguarding plan has five objectives: (a) promoting interest in the element; (b) researching and disseminating knowledge and data about the element; (c) including the techniques in school curricula; (d) fostering and creating ways for the weavers to obtain a fair income for their work; and (e) reducing the costs of the raw materials. The file details activities linked to the safeguarding plan and demonstrates their feasibility.
U.4: The file explains the involvement of various practitioners, including in workshops for local artisans. Various meetings were held to identify existing problems and the different actions necessary to safeguard the ancestral techniques. Other efforts include meetings held in 2018 to draft the nomination form, with the participation of expert craftswoman Rosa Segovia, among others. The artisans and the National Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage participated in two meetings in July 2021 aimed at drafting the nomination form. Letters of consent were provided by the communities.
U.5: The element was listed on the ‘Register of National Cultural Heritage Assets’ in March 2022. The register is maintained by the National Secretariat of Culture through the General Office of Cultural Heritage. Meetings, talks and workshops were held with practitioners, and information on the knowledge of the element was provided for the inventory. Each element on the inventory is reviewed every two years.
- Decides to inscribe Ancestral and traditional techniques for the elaboration of the ‘Poncho Para’i de 60 Listas’, from the city of Piribebuy, Republic of Paraguay on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding;
- Further takes note that Paraguay has requested International Assistance from the Intangible Cultura Heritage Fund in the amount of US$74,500 for the implementation of the safeguarding plan for Ancestral and traditional techniques for the elaboration of the ‘Poncho Para’i de 60 Listas’, from the city of Piribebuy, Republic of Paraguay (No. 02076):
To be implemented by the National Secretariat of Culture in partnership with UNESCO, this eighteen-month project aims to ensure the transmission of the knowledge and techniques of making the Poncho Para’í de 60 Listas. The project involves promotion activities such as a television show, a permanent exhibition, craft fairs and a weaving competition. The homes and workshops of poncho artisans will be given publicity and prominence. The project also entails developing an academic programme for the existing School for the Safeguarding Poncho Para’í de 60 Listas. Training programmes on entrepreneurship, business strategies and management will be conducted to support the sustainability of the production process. These programmes will result in the development of a certification system and the creation of an online store to be managed by the bearers of the element. The project is expected to increase local capacities to continue and transmit the ancestral techniques of making the poncho. It will also lead to the creation of a network and cooperative of weavers. Moreover, the activities will highlight the cultural value of the poncho at the national and international levels and enable the identification of similar safeguarding activities for other intangible cultural heritage elements in Paraguay.
- Further considers that, from the information included in the file, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance given in paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:
A.1: The file describes the involvement of various practitioners, including workshops for local artisans. Various types of meetings were held to identify existing problems and the different actions necessary to safeguard the ancestral techniques. Other efforts include meetings in 2018 to draft the nomination form, with the participation of expert craftswoman Rosa Segovia, among others. The artisans and the National Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage participated in two meetings in July 2021 aimed at drafting the request. The proposed programmes will benefit the communities and existing practitioners and attract new bearers.
A.2: A detailed budget is provided. The amount requested and the time frame seem reasonable. The total project budget is US$86,000; while the amount requested from the fund is US$74,500. The State Party will contribute US$10,000 and another US$1,500 will be raised separately.
A.3: The threats to the element are clearly defined, and the State Party has identified the challenges and proposed safeguarding activities with the participation of the communities. The proposed activities will help to address the challenges, such as the small number of practitioners and the lack of transmission to younger generations. The safeguarding actions will be coordinated by the National Secretariat of Culture, whose political institutional scope and technical level is adequate for this task. A dedicated commission will be formed, and UNESCO Montevideo will take up the administrative management, including monitoring, reporting and evaluation.
A.4: The training and activities planned will empower the local community and enable it to acquire the capacity to ensure the transmission of the knowledge and techniques associated with the element. The file also outlines potential multiplier effects, such as the creation of a network of weavers and a cooperative.
A.5: The total project budget amounts to US$86,000. The State Party has allocated about 12% of the total projected costs and makes use of its own institutional resources for this purpose.
A.6: The project, through the proposed workshops, will transmit the related knowledge to new bearers, thus ensuring the element’s continuity. The project will also strengthen the cultural management, business, leadership and public speaking skills of the existing artisans and practitioners. This will allow artisans to identify and access opportunities to promote the continuity of the trade, ensuring their own and their families’ livelihoods.
A.7: The requesting State has not previously received any financial assistance from UNESCO under the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund of the 2003 Convention to implement activities in the field of intangible cultural heritage.
Paragraph 10(a): A safeguarding plan was prepared by the State and will be coordinated by the National Secretariat of Culture, an institution with Ministerial rank dependent on the Presidency of the Republic of Paraguay. The proposed activities will be executed by the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage. UNESCO Montevideo, as depository of the financial assistance, will monitor the implementation of the project and activities.
Paragraph 10(b): The assistance will have several multiplier effects. It will sensitize and empower the community, ensuring the long-term continuity of the projects within the safeguarding plan. The transmission of ancestral knowledge through the safeguarding school and traditional methods will continue. The community’s cultural business management capacities will be strengthened, leading to the protection and safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. A network of weavers will be created and a weavers’ cooperative will be established. Similar actions can be applied to enhance other cultural manifestations, both locally and nationally.
- Decides to approve the International Assistance request from Paraguay for the implementation of the safeguarding plan for Ancestral and traditional techniques for the elaboration of the ‘Poncho Para’i de 60 Listas’, from the city of Piribebuy, Republic of Paraguay and grants the amount of US$74,500 to the State Party to this end;
- Requests that the Secretariat reach an agreement with the requesting State Party on the technical details of the assistance both before and over the course of the implementation of the project, paying particular attention to ensuring that the budget, timelines and work plan of the activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund are detailed and specific enough to provide sufficient justification of the expenditures;
- Invites the State Party to use Form ICH-04-Report to report on the use of the assistance granted;
- Commends the State Party for a good quality video that provides a detailed visual presentation of the cultural practices associated with the element;
- Reminds the State Party to ensure that the benefits of the project will outlast the project timeline, and to ensure broad community participation in safeguarding efforts.