Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 10.COM 10.a.5

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Mongolia has nominated the Coaxing ritual for camels (No. 01061) for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding:

Mongol herders perform the coaxing ritual to encourage a female camel to accept a new-born calf or to adopt an orphan. The mother is tied close to the calf and a singer begins a monotone song accompanied by gestures and chanting. The coaxer changes the melody depending on the mother’s behaviour, which may be initially aggressive, and slowly coaxes her into accepting the calf. Performance of the ritual takes place at dusk or twilight and requires great skill in handling camels, as well as talent for singing and musical skill on the horse head fiddle or flute. Most herdswomen engage in techniques and methods of coaxing, but professional coaxers may be enlisted to undertake the ritual when a singer or musician is unavailable within the local community. The ritual acts as a symbolic medium for creating and maintaining social ties among individual nomadic families and their community. It is transmitted from parents and elders to youth through home tutoring. Changes in the social and cultural environment, however, have negatively affected its viability. Today, motorcycles are preferred to camels as a means of transportation, and increasing migration to urban centres has diminished the number of young herders. The number of cultural bearers is therefore decreasing rapidly as new generations lose touch with their traditional ties to pastoral husbandry.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

U.1:   Transmitted orally from elders to youth, the coaxing ritual bears witness to the connection between humans and animals in a pastoral community faced with a harsh climate, and plays a prominent role as a vehicle for educating young people in the nomadic culture and economy, thus providing its community with a sense of identity and continuity;

U.2:   Despite the efforts of its community to sustain the element, its viability is threatened by the decline of the nomadic lifestyle, replacement of camels by motorcycles, development of mining industries offering more lucrative employment, separation of children and youth from their families because of schooling, accelerated rural-to-urban migration, and the declining number of musicians and types of musical instruments involved in the enactment of the ritual;

U.3:   The safeguarding plan incorporates apprenticeship in coaxing and music-making carried out by the bearers of tradition, in-depth study of the ritual led by a team of scholars, and various activities directed to raising awareness, dissemination and promotion of the element on the local and national levels; the practising community was actively involved in the planning and will take a significant role in both the implementation and monitoring of safeguarding measures, while governmental bodies secure coordination among all interested parties and management of available resources;

U.4:   A group of renowned bearers of tradition initiated and was actively involved in the development of the nomination dossier, while other concerned individuals, families and local communities gradually joined the process; numerous and diversified attestations of free, prior and informed consent to the nomination are provided by bearers of the element and heads of local government offices;

U.5:   The element is included in the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, which is maintained by the Centre of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia.

  1. Inscribes Coaxing ritual for camels on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding;
  2. Commends the State Party for the substantial improvements in the file initially submitted in 2011, in particular in terms of stimulating an active participation of bearers and communities concerned in the nomination process and providing a broad range of expressions of their free, prior and informed consent;
  3. Appreciates the State Party’s support to an element that testifies to the connection between humans and animals and to creativity in a culture faced with accelerated transformation of its socio-ecological system.

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