Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 18.COM 8.B.14

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Albania, Andorra, Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania and Spain have nominated Transhumance, the seasonal droving of livestock (No. 01964) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Transhumance refers to the seasonal movement of people with their livestock between geographical or climatic regions. Each year, in spring and autumn, men and women herders organise the movement of thousands of animals along traditional pastoral paths. They move on foot or horseback, leading with their dogs and sometimes accompanied by their families. An ancestral practice, transhumance stems from a deep knowledge about the environment and entails social practices and rituals related to the care, breeding and training of animals and the management of natural resources. An entire socio-economic system has been developed around transhumance, from gastronomy to local handicrafts and festivities marking the beginning and end of a season. Families have been enacting and transmitting transhumance through observation and practice for many generations. Communities living along transhumance routes also play an important role in its transmission, such as by celebrating herd crossings and organising festivals. The practice is also transmitted through workshops organised by local communities, associations and networks of herders and farmers, as well as through universities and research institutes. Transhumance thus contributes to social inclusion, strengthening cultural identity and ties between families, communities and territories while counteracting the effects of rural depopulation.

  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:   Transhumance combines tradition and innovation, benefiting ecosystems, preserving local breeds, and enhancing soil fertility and biodiversity. It encompasses a socio-economic system, including gastronomy, handicrafts and cultural activities. The specific roles of practitioners, both men and women, to organize and guide livestock movements, in fostering intergenerational transmission within families are carefully described. Transmission primarily takes place through observation and imitation. Non-formal trainings, workshops and formal education institutions also contribute to knowledge transmission, while festivals and cultural events play an important role in preserving and promoting the element. The file explains the various social functions and cultural meanings of the element, which include strengthening cultural identity and spiritual connections with ancestors and the universe as well as maintaining strong bonds within pastoral communities. The practice supports local economies, diminishes rural depopulation and contributes to social inclusion. Transhumance aligns with the principles of cooperation, solidarity and respect for human dignity, and is based on cultural and environmental values.

R.2:   The file develops compelling arguments about the impact of the inscription of Transhumance at different levels. At the local level, inscription would contribute to the recognition of Transhumance as a deep-rooted cultural practice and contribute to broader social issues such as biodiversity maintenance and sustainable agriculture. It would also highlight the role of Transhumance in resisting depopulation in rural areas. At the national level, inscription would acknowledge the role of Transhumance as a source of social and economic resilience. It would also support public policies and influence national strategies for sustainable development. At the international level, inscription would broaden the understanding of intangible cultural heritage in rural contexts, promote related cultural expressions and encourage dialogue between communities. The practice fosters exchanges among academic institutions, research centres, and interdisciplinary programmes. Inscription would enable the dissemination of the cultural significance of Transhumance to youth, urban society, tourists and consumers.

R.3:   Local communities, bearers and practitioners have played a crucial role in documenting, transmitting and promoting Transhumance through various initiatives at different levels. The States concerned have been demonstrating their commitment to the element through legal regulations, administrative and management programmes and financial support. The proposed safeguarding measures, including documentation, transmission, promotion and international collaboration, have been developed through extensive dialogue and engagement with local communities, practitioners and authorities. The measures emphasize research, support for local events, the establishment of Transhumance museums, and international knowledge sharing. Joint actions and collaboration among the State Parties will be initiated and supported at the European level. Each State Party will also contribute to the safeguarding efforts through grants, legislative initiatives and the development of informational and educational materials.

R.4:   European communities have actively promoted transhumance as a shared heritage since 2008. In 2018, Italy, Austria and Greece initiated the nomination, leading to the inscription of the element in 2019. Following the interest of additional countries, an international steering committee was formed, representing ten countries. There were two focal points per country: one representing the State Party and one representing the communities. This allowed communities and States Parties to contribute to the drafting of the file. Despite pandemic-related challenges, collaborative efforts were facilitated through video conferences, thus allowing communities and States to contribute to the file and safeguarding measures. Extensive support from various communities, groups and associations was obtained through workshops, meetings and personal communication. These activities resulted in letters of consent for the multinational nomination, provided by each State concerned.

R.5:   Each State has provided comprehensive information on national inventories, giving their names, inclusion dates, responsible organizations and updating frequency. The earliest addition took place in 2011, and the most recent in 2021. The administration of the inventories is carried out by relevant ministerial structures or national commissions. Details of the inventories, including websites and PDF versions, have been submitted. The means of engagement of local communities, practitioners and relevant organizations in the processes of identification and inventorying of the element vary from one country to the next, but are evident in all cases. Inventories are updated in periods ranging from twice per year to ongoing.

  1. Decides to inscribe Transhumance, the seasonal droving of livestock on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.