Decisión de la Mesa: 12.COM 2.BUR 4.5

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. 01252,
  3. Takes note that the Federated States of Micronesia have requested International Assistance for a project entitled Creating an ICH inventory database of traditional celestial navigation skills in Yap, Micronesia:

Due to improved accessibility to Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and recent trends in youth migration, the number of traditional navigators in one of the island States in the Federated States of Micronesia, Yap, with the ability and knowledge to sail canoes across great distances using only their naturally surroundings to guide them is very small. The project therefore seeks to identify and localize master navigators, called ‘pwo, in the main island and eight outer islands (‘atolls) through fieldwork, interviews with tradition bearers and the subsequent creation of a database compiling information about their status and location, as well as about existing schools of traditional navigation. The creation of this database is expected to facilitate the mobilization of funding for capacity-building programmes and thus foster the revitalization of navigation knowledge and skills. The project intends to strengthen the capacities of individuals from the various communities concerned to identify and collect data about tradition bearers and their apprentices. In addition, it aims to contribute to the design and implementation of future training programmes and to highlight the need to revitalize these practices for the survival of local communities, without relying on the costly import of natural resources. The project will be implemented by the Yap Historic Preservation Office in consultation with two traditional island councils, which respectively represent communities from the main island and from outer islands.

  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 the Federated States of Micronesia requested an allocation of US$23,117 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of the project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01252, 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: Although the request refers to the involvement of communities in several activities, in particular as field workers and translators or as audience members in preliminary consultation meetings with traditional island councils, whose recommendations will be acknowledged and taken into account in the implementation of the activities, community participation is mainly presented theoretically as research protocols. Additional information is therefore required on the plan that the Yap Historic Preservation Office intends to coordinate on the best approach to engage communities in order to demonstrate that the participation of the specific communities whose heritage is targeted by the project will be as broad as possible in each and every proposed activity, including follow-up and evaluation. Additional information is also needed to demonstrate that the request has emerged, to some extent, from needs identified by traditional celestial navigators;

Criterion A.2: In addition to including three activities without any budgetary provision, the budget is not presented in a sufficiently clear, comprehensive and accurate manner; inconsistencies are noted in the amount requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund; and a more detailed and comprehensive budget is needed to demonstrate the appropriateness of the amount requested, including for the costs to be covered by non-governmental resources which represent 4 per cent of the project budget;

Criterion A.3: Although the request includes a series of well-structured activities that are presented in a logical sequence from the establishment of a project team, to preliminary consultation meetings with traditional island councils, fieldwork and data collection, the activities seem to focus mainly on the identification of living human resources while also referring to another stage – to be funded by another source – namely, the inventory of skills related to traditional navigation, for which no budget has been allocated. Additional information is therefore required to clarify the results that the project aims to achieve before its completion, the modalities of the inventory process and how it relates to the safeguarding of the heritage which it aims to identify and document;

Criterion A.4: In the absence of clarity as to the intended results of the project, their sustainability cannot be clearly demonstrated. The project’s focus on the identification of tradition bearers, considered as ‘living treasures, and its ambiguity as to how it would lead to inventory work on navigation knowledge and skills make it difficult to ascertain whether the identification of master navigators is only a step in a larger safeguarding plan and whether the project can therefore have lasting results;

Criterion A.5: 17 per cent of the total budget of the project for which International Assistance is requested will be covered by the State Party, while 41 per cent is to be provided by an undefined funding source;

Criterion A.6: Although the project does not include any specific capacity-building component, its implementation is expected to build the data collection and organizational capacities of the individuals involved, as well as their capacity to update the database of the master navigators. However, since information gathering and the creation of the database is not placed within the wider context of safeguarding navigation knowledge and skills, additional information is needed to demonstrate that the strengthening of capacities will directly impact the safeguarding of the practices concerned;

Criterion A.7: The Federated States of Micronesia has never implemented any activities financed by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund;

Paragraph 10(a): The project is local in scope and will be implemented by national and local implementing partners;

Paragraph 10(b): The interest that the project hopes to arouse around the linkages between intangible cultural heritage and environmental sustainability may stimulate further financial support from bilateral development agencies, development banks or public and private foundations. In addition, the project has the potential to be replicated in other regions of the requesting State and may inspire other Small Island Developing States;

  1. Decides to refer the International Assistance request from the Federated States of Micronesia for the project entitled Creating an ICH inventory database of traditional celestial navigation skills in Yap, Micronesia to the requesting State and invites it to submit a revised request to the Bureau for examination at a forthcoming session;
  2. Recognizes the specific relationship of human settlements to the land and sea in Small Islands Developing States and the potential of their intangible cultural heritage to drive sustainable development and appreciates the initiative of the State Party to call on the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund to improve the social and economic conditions of communities, while respecting and promoting harmony with their natural environment, through the safeguarding of traditional celestial navigation skills;
  3. Encourages the State Party, should it wish to resubmit the request, to revise the content of the project taking into account the above-mentioned concerns as well as those raised in the Secretariat’s technical assessment, particularly in order to better align the project with the overall purpose of the International Assistance provided by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund to support States in their efforts to ensure the viability of intangible cultural heritage;
  4. Further encourages the State Party, should it wish to resubmit the request, to ensure its overall coherence by avoiding inconsistencies between the proposed activities, timetable and budget and to give full attention to the development of a rigorous and transparent budget providing a sufficient justification of the planned expenditures.