Periodic reporting on the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Convention provides in Article 29 that States Parties shall submit to the Committee reports on the legislative, regulatory and other measures taken for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in their territories. Current page presents the periodic reports and deadlines of a country: Zambia (see overview on all States Parties).

Periodic reporting on the implementation of the Convention allows States Parties to assess their implementation of the Convention, evaluate their capacities for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, report on their inventories of intangible cultural heritage and update the status of elements inscribed on the Representative List.

On the implementation of the Convention

Each State Party submits its periodic report to the Committee by 15 December of the sixth year following the year in which it deposited its instrument of ratification.

Report submitted on 15/12/2023 and examined by the Committee in 2024


soon available

Report submitted on 15/12/2014 and examined by the Committee in 2015 (originally due by 15/12/2012)


As regards the institutional framework for safeguarding, a Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs was set up in 2011 and the Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee was established in 2013 by the Ministry of Tourism and Arts. This latter comprises academic experts and representatives from the National Commission for UNESCO, the National Heritage Conservation Commission, relevant ministries, the Institute for Economic and Social Research, the National Museums Board and the National Arts Council of Zambia.
As a capacity-building exercise, a nationwide project proposal on intangible cultural heritage entitled ‘Writing Workshops’ was conducted for provincial cultural officers and other essential community cultural practitioners. The purpose of the programme was to train would-be fund applicants on preparing project proposals in the field of intangible cultural heritage. A training of trainers workshop was conducted in 2014 to broaden the base of trained workshop facilitators. The State facilitated participation of one government official to participate in a seminar for ‘Officials of Cultural Heritage Protection of English-speaking countries in Africa’ and in the ‘Sino-Africa Forum on the Protection of Cultural Heritage Report’ held in China in 2014. The Ministries of Tourism and Arts, and of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs provide support to over 80 cultural associations, inter alia, through safeguarding training workshops, as well as logistical support.
In 2013, the Department of Culture and Arts organised two awareness-raising workshops. The first targeted university lecturers from public and private institutions of higher learning within Lusaka, identified as key players for the advancement of intangible cultural heritage in their respective institutions. Participants who attended the workshop were encouraged to include intangible cultural heritage in their day-to-day interaction with students and transfer this knowledge to their respective communities, concerned groups and individuals. The Department then conducted a similar workshop for state and private media personnel in 2013 in conjunction with the Zambia National Commission for UNESCO with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage.
The Department of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with major media institutions, has documented and disseminated information on intangible cultural heritage through national media. Zambia News and Information Services has representative offices at district level where most activities related to intangible cultural heritage occur and documentation of such events is a core task for the institution. The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation also documents cultural events, such as traditional ceremonies. Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia are two national newspapers that regularly cover features on events related to living heritage.
The social practices, rituals and festive events of the Ngoni tribe of Eastern Province have been the subject of inventory-making and a description of the Chinamwali element is given in the report. Chinamwali (or Ndola) is a girl’s initiation ceremony performed by the Ngoni tribe of Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the eastern part of Zambia. The inventorying was performed in collaboration with the communities of Zilole village of Chief Madzimawe and all villages in the Ngoni chiefdoms of the Eastern Province.
Measures have been taken to promote the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage and ensure continuity in various cultural practices through the Government’s ‘Infrastructure Development’ programme. Building of a public cultural service system in partnership with the private sector in selected districts and provinces will result in a network of public cultural services covering both urban and rural areas, and ensure public accessibility to theatres, public libraries, museums, art galleries, cinemas and mass culture centres. When completed, these cultural centres will serve to promote the visibility of intangible cultural heritage through performances and demonstrations of cultural expressions such as dance, music and traditional foodways and sensitize audiences on the need for deliberate safeguarding efforts at community level.
Awareness-raising actions have been organised, especially to highlight the specificity of intangible cultural heritage. A ‘Traditional Food Festival’ was hosted by the Department of Arts and Culture to revive interest in elements, such as indigenous knowledge systems applied in the preparation of meals and related food security systems. Local schools in Lusaka were invited to attend the exhibition and involvement of the young also served to increase the likelihood of transmission of these practices and knowledge to them. The ‘Indigenous Games Festival’ was held with the objective of reviving traditional and social games. The ‘Crafts Exhibition’ (2014) was an awareness programme that further highlighted diverse cultural products created from application of indigenous knowledge systems by craftspeople.
The Government has a deliberate policy to ensure that intangible cultural heritage elements, including traditional ceremonies and acceptable rituals, such as initiation ceremonies, remain viable. To this end, it provides logistical support for hosting these events and protection of associated shrines or places of memory. Currently, the State supports and officially recognises 80 traditional ceremonies countrywide.
Zambia enjoys bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international cultural cooperation at two levels, namely official (governmental) and traditional. Zambia is a Party to a number of bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international cultural cooperation protocols and a member of the fifteen-State grouping of the Southern African Development Community (SADC): it has signed the 2001 SADC Protocol on Culture, Information and Sport – which covers training, capacity-building and research, resource mobilization, language policy formulation and preservation of cultural heritage, arts and culture festivals. Within the framework of the multinational inscription of Gule Wamkulu, Zambia has shared documentation such as inventories and cultural exchange programmes on Gule Wamkulu with Malawi and Mozambique. At the traditional level, Zambia’s seven broad ethnic groups have an influence on their neighbouring communities across the border. Traditional systems complement Government efforts in maintaining bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international cooperation through their historic ties and a structure of identified peer leaders and experts (e.g. the Chewa in Eastern Province do not only share the language with their fellow tribes in neighbouring Malawi and Mozambique but also have the Paramount Chief as their head and have established the Chewa Cultural Heritage Foundation).
Zambia has two elements inscribed on the Representative List, one of which already mentioned above is multinational, namely Gule Wamkulu (2008, with Malawi and Mozambique) and the Makishi masquerade (2008). Both were originally proclaimed in 2005 as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.