Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 14.COM 10.b.2

The Committee,

  1. Takes note that Austria, Greece and Italy have nominated Transhumance, the seasonal droving of livestock along migratory routes in the Mediterranean and in the Alps (No. 01470) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Transhumance, the seasonal droving of livestock along migratory routes in the Mediterranean and in the Alps, is a form of pastoralism. Every year in spring and autumn, thousands of animals are driven by groups of herders together with their dogs and horses along steady routes between two geographical and climatic regions, from dawn to dusk. In many cases, the herders’ families also travel with the livestock. Two broad types of transhumance can be distinguished: horizontal transhumance, in plain or plateau regions; and vertical transhumance, typically in mountain regions. Transhumance shapes relations among people, animals and ecosystems. It involves shared rituals and social practices, caring for and breeding animals, managing land, forests and water resources, and dealing with natural hazards. Transhumant herders have in-depth knowledge of the environment, ecological balance and climate change, as this is one of the most sustainable, efficient livestock farming methods. They also possess special skills related to all kinds of handicraft and food production involved. Festivities during springtime and autumn mark the beginning and end of transhumance, when bearers share food, rituals and stories and introduce younger generations to the practice. Chief herders pass on their specific know-how to the younger generations through daily activities, ensuring the continued viability of the practice.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   Transhumance is at the centre of the lives of many pastoral communities in Austria, Greece and Italy. For centuries, it has formed the way of life of herders and their families, contributing to the social life and festivities of local communities associated with the tradition. The element is integral to the cultural identities of its practitioners and bearers, forming a strong link with their ancestors and the universe. It enhances ties between families and communities, shapes landscapes and promotes cooperation towards social inclusion and food safety. Transhumance also contributes to the maintenance of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources.

R.2:   The inscription of the element would highlight the importance of rural values and cultural expressions related to pastoralism, a practice that exists all over the world. Therefore, it is expected to contribute to broadening the understanding of intangible cultural heritage in a rural context and to identifying such cultural expressions as a sustainable way of meeting the challenges posed by rapid urbanization and globalization, creating an important link with sustainable development. The inscription of the element would also contribute to highlighting the interconnections between intangible and tangible cultural heritage, especially in relation to land and territory. Finally, it would mark an important step in connecting local communities at the national and transnational levels and is expected to strengthen their work and efforts to safeguard the element, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and creative collaboration.

R.3:   Bearers, practitioners and local communities of the three States Parties have contributed to safeguarding Transhumance through its documentation, transmission and promotion at the local, national and international levels. Furthermore, each submitting State Party supports the practice through their National Rural Development Programs 2014-2020. The proposed safeguarding measures include documentation, research, publications, transmission projects, festivities, promotional measures, international partnerships, presentations and exhibitions, among others. These are the result of a process in which, although each country has devised its own safeguarding mechanisms, their activities are intertwined and directed at common goals.

R.4:   The initiative to nominate Transhumance was devised by practitioners of the element in 2008. Since then, the communities, bearers, intangible cultural heritage experts and national authorities concerned from the three submitting States Parties have taken part in the nomination process through several meetings. During this process, they have shared the scope and nature of the element and discussed the potential consequences of its inscription, aiming to ensure the future respect of the customs and traditions related to the element. In the three States Parties, local communities and herders have actively participated in the definition of the safeguarding measures, ensuring the vitality of the practice and the continuity of periodic events held in previous years as well as others scheduled to take place in the future.

R.5:   The element was included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria in 2011, in the National Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Greece in 2017, and in the Register of historic rural landscapes, agricultural practices and traditional knowledge in Italy in 2017. All the inventories are regularly updated and maintained in line with the requirements of the Convention.

  1. Decides to inscribe Transhumance, the seasonal droving of livestock along migratory routes in the Mediterranean and in the Alps on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the States Parties for preparing a high-quality multinational file that testifies to active networking among the communities in the preparation of the nomination and the overall safeguarding of the element;
  3. Further commends the States Parties for clearly demonstrating the periodicity and modalities of updating of their inventories;
  4. Takes note that the tradition-bearing community of Spain requested to join the international nomination, based on the principle of international cooperation and encourages the submitting States Parties to work towards an extended nomination with Spain and any other interested States.

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