- Takes note that Bosnia and Herzegovina has proposed Nevesinje Olympics, traditional games (No. 01731) for selection and promotion by the Committee as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention:
The Nevesinje Olympics are held every year on the first weekend of August, and people of all ages, genders, religions and backgrounds travel from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia to participate. The main organizer, the Municipality of Nevesinje, continuously carries out activities to safeguard and implement the Nevesinje Olympics, including the allocation of the budget and the funds for the prize pool. Radio Nevesinje, another organizer, keeps audio and video records of each event, and the regional museum conducts permanent ethnographic research and keeps the materials in its collection. The local government also helps fund the event and implements a number of protection measures, including the exhibition prepared in cooperation with the Museum of Herzegovina in Trebinje to promote the event in various cities of the participating countries in order to teach children and youth about the development and safeguarding of traditional sports games in the area. The effectiveness and sustainability of the Nevesinje Olympics are reflected in the ever-increasing number of competitors and visitors.
- Considers that, from the information included in the file, the programme responds as follows to the criteria for selection as a good safeguarding practice in paragraph 7 of the Operational Directives:
P.1: The file defines ‘The Nevesinje Olympics, traditional games’ as a significant traditional sporting event held in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This event dates back to the nineteenth century and commenced as a simple equestrian race that incorporated other sporting skills over time. The safeguarding measures relating to the Nevesinje Olympics are described in the file. However, the file does not describe a specific programme, project or activity, how the priorities were identified and established, or the primary objectives of the programme or project. Instead, the Nevesinje Olympics are described as an intangible cultural heritage element, and not as a programme, project or activity that could serve as a good model for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.
P.2: The file explains that the Nevesinje Olympics are a competition of traditional sports and games that draws participants of different nationalities and religious backgrounds and involves various activities (such as horse racing and traditional games). While it is understood that the games involve participants of different countries, the file does not explain how the programme, project or activities promotes the coordination of efforts for safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage at the regional, subregional and/or international levels.
P.3: The information provided in the file describes the history of the Nevesinje Olympics and the various traditional sports and games that are part of the event. The information appears to present the Nevesinje Olympics as an intangible cultural heritage element related to traditional sports, games and equestrian races and explains how these activities are practised, rather than describing a programme or project that serves as a model of good safeguarding practices. As such, the file does not explain how the programme, project or activity reflects the principles and objectives of the Convention in its conception, design and implementation.
P.4: The information explains the viability and sustainability of the Nevesinje Olympics as an event that draws more and more competitors and visitors over the years. It also explains that the games have been passed down from generation to generation for more than 150 years, contributing to the creation of national identity, continuity, cultural diversity and human creativity. However, the file does not explain the effectiveness of the programme or project as a good safeguarding practice that contributes to the viability of the intangible cultural heritage concerned. Similar to other sections of the file, the Nevesinje Olympics are described as an intangible cultural heritage element that has been transmitted over generations, rather than a programme that can serve as a model for good safeguarding measures.
P.5: The file lists the individuals and NGOs that participate in the events and activities of the Nevesinje Olympics. However, there is little information about how the communities are involved in different stages of the planning and implementation of the programme or project. In addition, the letters of consent submitted refer to the nomination to the ‘UNESCO World Heritage List’, the ‘UNESCO list of Non-Material Cultural Heritage’ or the ‘UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage’. As the letters do not refer to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices, it is unclear if the communities concerned support the nomination of Nevesinje Olympics to the Register.
P.6: The file explains that the tournaments organized during the Nevesinje Olympics help to develop awareness among the participants, particularly youth, on the importance of intangible cultural heritage. However, the file does not explain how the programme or project can serve as a subregional, regional or international model. The file mentions the Sinjska Alka from Croatia as a good example that was referenced by the organizers of the Nevesinje Olympics, instead of explaining how the Nevesinje Olympics itself can be a positive model for other countries or regions.
P.7: The information provided describes the efforts put in place to safeguard the Nevesinje Olympics, with the involvement of institutions and organizations. The file also mentions that the protection measures concerning the Nevesinje Olympics shall be implemented in accordance with the Convention. However, the information provided does not demonstrate the willingness to cooperate in the dissemination of good practices within the submitting State Party, the region or internationally. In addition, the file explains that the Nevesinje Olympics will be ‘nominated as a folk practice on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Heritage of humanity’, which contradicts the current nomination to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.
P.8: The file outlines the history of the Nevesinje Olympics, which has been taking place since 1891, and its evolution over time. The number of participants of the Nevesinje Olympics and the equestrian racing is increasing each year. This information attests to the history and viability of the Nevesinje Olympics, but does not explain how the results of the programme or project are assessed, nor the process or methodology of the assessments. It should also be noted that the information in this section of the file refers to the ‘nomination for the UNESCO World List of Intangible Cultural Heritage’, instead of the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.
P.9: The file describes the mechanisms for the inclusion of the Nevesinje Olympics in the Official List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Srpska in 2011, and the involvement of local communities, NGOs and government representatives in the process of identifying and defining the element. The file does not explain how the programme or project can be applied to the particular needs of developing countries. Similar to the earlier sections of the nomination form, the information in this section refers to the nomination to the ‘UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’, rather than to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.
- Decides to refer Nevesinje Olympics, traditional games to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the proposal to the Committee for examination during a following cycle;
- Encourages the State Party to determine whether the Nevesinje Olympics, traditional games, would be better suited for a nomination to other Lists of the Convention on the basis of considerations expressed by the communities concerned.