On October 4 2022, the Bureau of the Seventeenth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage examined three requests for International Assistance (IA) up to US$100,00. The first multinational IA request, submitted by Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, was approved. It is the result of a six-months collaboration between the nine States Parties, UNESCO Office in San Jose, the Category 2 institute and centre under the auspices of UNESCO (C2C) Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Latin America (CRESPIAL), and the Living Heritage Entity. It is an initiative of the Central American Integration System (SICA), through its Educational and Cultural Coordination, with the support of the Central American Black Organization (CABO - ONECA).
Titled ‘Capacity building for community leaders and public managers to safeguard the living heritage of Afro-descendant communities in the SICA region and Cuba’, this project is set to last 13 months. The expected outputs include the strengthening of ICH management capacities of officials and community representatives, a mapping of relevant safeguarding initiatives in the region, the establishment of common guidelines for the development of an inventory of Afro-descendants’ in the region, and a virtual platform for the dissemination of the project results in the region, and beyond.
There are several inscribed elements from the countries involved in this project whose practitioners and bearers are Afro descendants, such as the Language, dance and music of the Garifuna (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua), the Cocolo dance drama tradition (Dominican Republic), La Tumba Francesa (Cuba) and the Ritual and festive expressions of the Congo culture (Panama).
Two other IA requests were approved for safeguarding projects in Kyrgyzstan and Thailand:
- ‘Digital journey to intangible cultural heritage of Kyrgyzstan’ is the second phase of a former project implemented between 2018 and 2020. Initiated by community leaders of the pilgrimage practices, the project’s overall objective is to develop a website about ICH elements, with audiovisual materials and comprehensive information about the 2003 Convention, ICH communities, active stakeholders and safeguarding activities.
- ‘Field School for capacity-building in safeguarding living heritage of ethnic communities in Thailand’ is the first IA request from Thailand. It is set to last two years, establishing the ‘Field School for Capacity-Building in Safeguarding Living Heritage of Ethnic Communities’ as a platform for exchange and transmission between the five ethnic groups involved, namely Pgakenyaw Karen, Pwo Karen, Moken, Moklen and Urak Lawoi.