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Online informative sessions of the International Assistance mechanisms
(11, 12 et 14 April 2023)
Presentation by the Secretariat: English|French|Spanish

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage grants assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for activities aimed at safeguarding intangible cultural heritage as defined in the Convention (Article 20):

  • a) safeguarding of elements on the Urgent Safeguarding List;
  • b) preparation of inventories;
  • c) support for programmes, projects and activities aimed at the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage at the national, subregional and regional levels; and
  • d) any other purposes the Committee may deem necessary, including capacity building and preparatory assistance.

The assistance granted by the Committee may take different forms (Article 21), among which for example the provision of expertise and trainings, the elaboration of standard-setting frameworks, or other forms of financial and technical assistance.

Video update: The category Assistance requests for more than US$100,000 is no longer available.

Any State Party may apply for international assistance to the Intergovernmental Committee which will prioritize requests for support from developing countries (paragraph 10 of the Operational Directives). Joint applications from two or more States Parties are welcomed (Article 23).

How to request assistance

The granting of financial assistance follows different modalities depending on the nature and the amount of the request:

Type of requestSubmission deadlineDecision-making bodyTiming of examinationForm
Emergency assistance (not specific amount) At any timeBureau of the CommitteeAs soon as the file is technically completeICH-04
Assistance (up to US$ 100,000)At any timeBureau of the CommitteeAs soon as the file is technically completeICH-04
Assistance (more than US$ 100,000)31 MarchCommittee (upon recommendation of the Evaluation Body)November / December of the following yearICH-04
Preparatory assistance (from US$ 5.000 to US$ 10.000)31 MarchBureau of the CommitteeAs soon as the file is technically completeICH-05 (USL)
ICH-06 (Register)

The Secretariat checks the technical completeness of the requests upon reception and if necessary asks for missing information. Once completed, they are transmitted for examination by concerned bodies. Please refer to corresponding forms, instructions and aide-mémoire for more details (see forms page).

The beneficiary States of any kind of international assistance are to report to the Committee on the use of this assistance (see form ICH-04-Report).

Definition of what constitutes an emergency

Emergency assistance granted:
> Mali, granted in 2013 (US$ 307.307 - request No. 01026)
> Côte d’Ivoire, granted in 2015 (US$ 299,972 - request No. 01051)
> Vanuatu, granted in 2015 (US$ 23.908 - request No. 01214)

Paragraph 50 of the Operational Directives provides that ‘For the purpose of determining whether a request for International Assistance constitutes an emergency request eligible to receive priority consideration by the Bureau, an emergency shall be considered to exist when a State Party finds itself unable to overcome on its own any circumstance due to calamity, natural disaster, armed conflict, serious epidemic or any other natural or human event that has severe consequences for the intangible cultural heritage as well as communities, groups and, if applicable, individuals who are the bearers of that heritage.’ The emergency situation should be clearly described in section 13 (Background and rationale) of the form ICH-04.

Specificities of preparatory assistance

No preparatory assistance is foreseen for the preparation of nomination files to the Representative List

States Parties may request assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for developing nominations for the Urgent Safeguarding List using form ICH-05, and proposals for the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices using form ICH-06. No fixed amounts are determined for such assistance, but the range is usually from US$5,000 to US$10,000.

Possible activities to be funded through preparatory financial assistance include:

  • organization of community consultations
  • preparation of required audio-visual material for the file;
  • provision of translation services;
  • and expert assistance, including for the assessment of projects in the case of proposals for the Register.

States Parties can request preparatory assistance before 31 March every year for a potential submission of the nomination or the proposal by 31 March of the following year or the year after.

Technical Assistance for the elaboration of requests

States Parties interested in receiving technical assistance for preparing international assistance requests are encouraged to contact the Secretariat (ICH-Assistance@unesco.org).

As requested by the Committee (Decision 8.COM 7.c), the Secretariat established in 2014 a mechanism of technical assistance through the provision of experts’ advise for States Parties wishing to elaborate requests for International Assistance. Already a handful of States Parties have already benefited from it.