Decisión de la Mesa: 12.COM 2.BUR 4.1

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/17/12.COM 2.BUR/4, as well as International Assistance request no. 01027,
  3. Takes note that Burkina Faso has requested International Assistance for a project entitled Capacity-building for the safeguarding of mask expressions in Burkina Faso:

The project aims to promote and safeguard the intangible cultural heritage connected with mask expressions. Mask traditions are deeply rooted in the social fabric of numerous communities in Burkina Faso, where masks guarantee stability of order and social well-being.  At each event, masks come in various forms to commemorate rituals and to purify and give fertility to the land, human beings and flora and fauna, thereby responding to religious, political, cultural, economic, environmental, sanitary and social concerns. The practice of mask traditions has been transmitted from generation to generation but it now faces numerous threats connected, inter alia, with the influence of inter-faith disputes, illegal trafficking, demographics and urbanization causing certain spaces for expression to disappear. This project aims to respond to some of the recommendations given in a study carried out in 2010 by the Association pour la Sauvegarde des Masques (ASAMA), including strengthening laws and regulations, drawing up inventories, promoting values associated with masks, strengthening the appropriation of traditional spaces for mask expressions and combating the theft of masks. The aim of the project - implemented by the same association in two administrative regions of Burkina Faso bordering with Mali (the Boucle du Mouhoun region and the Hauts-Bassins region) - is to raise awareness and strengthen the capacity of communities and other stakeholders concerned with this practice by holding forums in 18 municipalities, organizing 10 training workshops and holding travelling exhibitions in 5 towns and cities.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance concerns support for a project carried out at the local level aimed at safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in accordance with Article 20 (c) of the Convention, and that it takes the form of the granting of a donation in line with Article 21 (g) of the Convention;
  2. Also takes note that Burkina Faso requested an allocation of US$24,925.51 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of the project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01027, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance set out in paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:
Criterion A.1: In the absence of a detailed description and of a precise definition of the communities that recognize the various mask-related expressions as forming part of their cultural heritage, their involvement to the widest extent possible in the preparation and implementation of the request is not sufficiently proven; the project's list of "targets" seems to be too broad to correspond to the communities whose intangible cultural heritage would be concerned by the project; likewise, the communities do not seem to be placed at the heart of the project insofar as their involvement appears to be limited to that of passive recipients of activities that they are not actively involved in designing and implementing;

Criterion A.2: The amount requested does not seem to tally with the ambitious scope of a project that is targeting 20,000 beneficiary practitioners and seeking to train 400 people and organize 5 travelling exhibitions; with only 28% of the amount requested being allotted to capacity building, the total budget seems barely capable of enabling the project to achieved the desired results; more detailed information about the expenditure required for each activity is also necessary to provide sufficient justification for the amount requested;

Criterion A.3: Although the various activities are clearly identified, more detailed information about their preparation and organization is required to understand their logical sequence, the connection between them and the appropriateness of the activities to meet the identified needs; the priority given to awareness raising and communication actions does not seem to correspond to the main declared objective, namely, to improve capacity building among actors involved in the safeguarding of cultural expressions associated with masks;

Criterion A.4: The training of local stakeholders at the government and community level as well as the capacity building of the entity responsible for implementing the project, as a well-established organization in the promotion and safeguarding of masks, have been designed to contribute to the sustainability of the results, particularly to the extent that these actions are a continuation of the efforts already deployed by the State Party;

Criterion A.5: The State Party will cover 13 per cent of the overall budget of the project for which International Assistance is requested; the project will benefit from other contributions that account for 24 per cent of the budget but the sources of those contributions have not been specified;

Criterion A.6: Although, according to the title of the request, capacity building is the main objective, half of the proposed activities concern awareness raising and promotion; although strengthening the institutional capacities of the organization responsible for implementing the project or members of the local administration and confessional bodies is an important factor in the success of the project, additional information is required to understand the impact of the project on the capacity of the communities bearing the intangible cultural heritage concerned to practise and transmit it;

Criterion A.7: Burkina Faso received International Assistance in the amount of US$262,080 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for a project entitled ‘Inventory and promotion of intangible cultural heritage in Burkina Faso’; the project, scheduled to end in July 2016, has not yet been closed in accordance with UNESCO regulations;

Paragraph 10(a): The project is sub-national in scope and involves both local and national implementing partners;

Paragraph 10(b): the project forms part of a local cultural cooperation policy supported by the implementing agency, ASAMA, which therefore seems to be able to stimulate similar efforts in the country;

  1. Decides to refer the International Assistance request for the project entitled Capacity-building for the safeguarding of mask expressions in Burkina Faso to the requesting State and invites it to resubmit a revised request to the Bureau for examination at a forthcoming session;
  2. Takes note of the experience of the technical assistance received by the State Party for the revision of this request while expressing regret that this only served to partially redirect its objectives, in order to bring them more into line with the goals of the Convention;
  3. Encourages the State Party, should it wish to resubmit the request, to revise the content and approach of the project taking into account the above-mentioned concerns, particularly to ensure the overall coherence of the project and to ensure that the proposed activities meet the targeted objectives (capacity building or awareness raising) as well as to encourage a bottom-up approach by placing communities at the heart of the project and giving them an active role in the design, implementation and monitoring of the activities;
  4. Further encourages the State Party to tie future International Assistance requests to the cultural policies in place in the country and to the inventory of intangible cultural heritage drawn up by the Department of Cultural Heritage within the Ministry of Culture and Tourism thanks to support from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.