The activities for the inventory of intangible cultural heritage were officially launched by the Malian Minister of Culture during a ceremony on 7 March in Bamako, in the presence of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and representatives of the diplomatic corps.
Thanks to emergency international assistance of over $300,000, financed by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, the work for inventory will initially focus on the areas affected by the conflict.
Indeed, the crisis that has raged in the north of the country has had very harmful consequences on Malian cultural heritage in all its forms. Besides the destruction of fourteen mausoleums and mosques in Timbuktu and the 4,200 manuscripts burnt, the populations of these regions were harshly suppressed for several months and prevented from pursuing their cultural practices and expressions.
The inventory aims to identify and document the knowledge and practices concerning nature, oral traditions, rituals and festive events, traditional craftsmanship and traditional practices concerning conflict prevention and resolution.
This inventory should provide a significant contribution to the efforts undertaken by the national authorities and the international community to restore mutual respect between the communities. UNESCO will provide support for the Malian authorities to ensure the smooth running of the project, while MINUSMA will ensure the security conditions.
During the ceremony, the Minister took the opportunity to celebrate the inscription of the “practices and knowledge linked to the Imzad of the Tuareg communities of Algeria, Mali and Niger” on the Unesco Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in December 2013.