Focal points of Central Africa reunited in Yaoundé for a regional Capacity Building workshop in October 2023.
© UNESCO / Abel Winalou
22 April 2024

Periodic reporting plays a crucial role in demonstrating a country’s commitment to – and achievement in – safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. States Parties regularly submit reports to UNESCO, detailing their safeguarding measures and the condition of the inscribed element on UNESCO’s Lists. This process serves as a vital tool for international collaboration among States Parties, enabling them to share experiences and successful strategies for safeguarding their living heritage.

In Africa, States Parties have achieved a significant milestone by completing their first regional cycle of periodic reporting under the reformed mechanism. Impressively, the submission rate exceeded 97%, underscoring the effectiveness of the capacity-building efforts. This achievement provides a solid foundation for analysing the impact of the 2003 Convention and the efforts of African countries in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage.

Throughout 2023, regional and subregional online meetings were conducted, complemented by country-level trainings across 22 states. These initiatives included 17 workshops, benefitting over 360 participants. Notably, a subregional session for Central African countries was convened in October 2023 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, further amplifying the capacity-building approach. UNESCO-trained experts facilitated all activities in collaboration with UNESCO field offices.

The ambitious endeavour was made possible through the generous support of the Saudi Arabia Fund for Culture, as part of the project ‘Strengthening capacities for periodic reporting under the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Africa’. Additionally, Portuguese interpretation was provided through the generous support of the Government of Brazil.

An analysis of the periodic reports submitted will be examined by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage during its nineteenth session in December 2024 in Asunción, Paraguay. This regional periodic report, together with those submitted from other regions, hold significant value, as they will directly inform the UNESCO Global Report on Cultural Policies - a commitment adopted in the Declaration for Culture during the MONDIACULT 2022 conference.

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