Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 8.COM 7.b.1

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Egypt has proposed Documentation of Egypt’s Nubian intangible heritage (No. 00700) for selection and promotion by the Committee as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention:

A joint initiative of the Public Nubian Club and the Centre for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CULTNAT), the project aims to document and safeguard the intangible heritage of Egypt’s Nubian community, whose population was displaced following the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s and the subsequent flooding of villages. The project’s main objective is to train young Nubians to collect, document and digitize their rich and distinctive heritage for dissemination among the Egyptian public at large, and young Nubians in particular, as a tool to revitalize and sustain their culture. The longer-term objective is to build and manage a permanent centre in Upper Egypt that will serve as a headquarters for documentation and dissemination of knowledge, training young people in traditional know-how and providing services for scholars and the community related to the promotion and development of their culture and crafts. The project has created a sense of pride in their own heritage among young Nubians, helping to revive their language and traditional crafts through documentation.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the programme responds as follows to the criteria for selection as a best safeguarding practice in paragraph 7 of the Operational Directives:

P.1:   The programme aims to preserve and promote Nubian cultural expressions, with particular emphasis on the training of young Nubians to document and digitally preserve their heritage as a resource for revival and diffusion;

P.2:   The programme is a national and sub-national activity, and the proposal does not demonstrate how it will promote the coordination of regional and international safeguarding efforts, despite an agreement signed with a non-governmental organization representing Nubians in Sudan;

P.3:   The proposal cites the Convention’s principles and objectives but does not demonstrate how they have been reflected in the conception, design or implementation of the programme;

P.4:   While the programme seems successful in encouraging young Nubians to document their heritage, the proposal does not demonstrate how it has been effective in ensuring the viability of that heritage or what concrete impacts it has had among the communities concerned; furthermore, important activities foreseen in the project have not yet begun;

P.5:   The proposal does not demonstrate that the Nubian community participated in the conception and implementation of the programme, apart from a single organization concerning which little information is provided; letters from the two implementing organizations do not convincingly demonstrate the free, prior and informed consent of the community;

P.6:   Although engaging young Nubians in documenting their own heritage is the key achievement of the programme, the proposal stops short of demonstrating efficacy in strengthening the viability of intangible cultural heritage beyond documentation, and cannot thus serve as a regional or international model of safeguarding;

P.7:   The proposal does not elaborate on how the State Party, communities and individuals are willing to cooperate in dissemination in case of its selection as a Best Safeguarding Practice and provides inadequate evidence to demonstrate their willingness;

P.8:   The proposal provides neither concrete examples of evaluation nor any procedure of evaluation to be conducted by the community or by a third party, thus failing to demonstrate that its experiences are susceptible to assessment;

P.9:   The proposal does not demonstrate the ways in which the chosen measures could be applicable to developing countries, failing to prove the efficacy of the undertaken activities to enhance the viability of Nubian intangible cultural heritage or to generate income for the communities concerned;

  1. Decides not to select Documentation of Egypt’s Nubian intangible heritage as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention;
  2. Recommends that the State Party address more concretely how the documentation programme contributes to the viability of Nubian intangible cultural heritage and its transmission among the communities;
  3. Encourages the State Party to further consider the ways the communities could benefit more fully from the documentation, resource centre and awareness-raising activities including conferences and seminars;
  4. Invites the State Party to design and carry out assessments of the programme’s impacts and particularly of whether it has been effective in enhancing the viability of the heritage concerned;
  5. Further invites the State Party to facilitate greater collaboration among the communities, their informal associations and the relevant non-governmental organizations for the safeguarding of Nubian intangible heritage both within Egypt and beyond.

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