- Takes note that the United Arab Emirates has nominated Children’s traditional games in the United Arab Emirates for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, described as follows:
Emirati children’s games, once practised throughout the United Arab Emirates, are today rarely played except in rural communities in the northern emirates and on family desert camping trips. The games promote the socialization of children, including the transmission of linguistic and cultural traditions and accepted communal values. Many games are accompanied by songs or lyrical dialogues and employ tools and toys made from local materials. The games vary according to gender, age, environment and season, and are acquired through traditional methods of observation and practice, with adults having knowledge of the rules and songs of the games. Traditional games are rarely played informally nowadays, but some are performed during religious holidays and celebrations. Old small-scale communities have changed profoundly as a result of dispersal and relocation to modern suburbs, and the community demographics that supported the games have been undermined. Local community-based informal modes of transmission have been weakened and knowledge of these traditional games has all but died out. Of almost two hundred traditional games identified by researchers in the 1990s, only twenty to thirty are known and played by children today. Eleven have been selected to receive urgent safeguarding measures aimed at preserving and promoting their continued practice.
- Decides that, from the information provided in nomination file 00518, Children’s traditional games in the United Arab Emirates satisfy the criteria for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, as follows:
U.1: It is through these traditional games that children construct their identities and learn the values of their society; they are transmitted informally among children as well as through instruction from adults who know the associated songs and rules of the games;
U.2: Economic prosperity and demographic changes associated with urbanization have weakened the informal modes of transmission within communities and led to the disappearance of traditional places for play, while modern games are preferred;
U.5: Children’s traditional games have been included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, maintained by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH).
- Further decides that, from the information provided in nomination file 00518, Children’s traditional games in the United Arab Emirates do not satisfy the criteria for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, as follows:
U.3: The submitting State has not explained the basis on which specific games are selected to be the focus of safeguarding efforts, nor is it clear that those efforts can accomplish the objectives identified; the measures do not yet constitute a well-structured safeguarding strategy fully involving the communities concerned, in particular clubs and youth groups, and clearly demonstrating a national commitment to safeguard children’s games.
U.4: The submitting State has not demonstrated the participation of a wide variety of the concerned parties, in particular children and parents’ associations, in the elaboration of the nomination, although there is substantial evidence of free, prior and informed consent from a number of schools and organizations.
- Decides not to inscribe Children’s traditional games in the United Arab Emirates on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding at this time and invites the State Party to submit a revised nomination that responds more fully to the criteria, for evaluation by the Committee in a subsequent cycle;
- Encourages the State Party to propose a more coherent set of safeguarding measures and to focus on those that reflect the contemporary urban context without privileging remote regions or idealizing past practices;
- Further invites the State Party to illustrate the wider involvement of the community, particularly that of children, parents and teachers, in the elaboration of the nomination and the planning of safeguarding measures.