Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 16.COM 19

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Haiti has nominated Joumou soup (no. 01853) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Joumou or giraumon soup is a traditional Haitian pumpkin soup made with vegetables, plantains, meat, pasta and spices. It is a celebratory dish, deeply rooted in Haitian identity, and its preparation promotes social cohesion and belonging among communities. Originally reserved for slave owners, Haitians took ownership of the soup when they gained independence from France, turning it into a symbol of their newly acquired freedom and an expression of their dignity and resilience. It is made from giraumon, a variety of pumpkin once cultivated by the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, and is prepared and consumed specifically on the first of January – Haiti’s Independence Day – when it constitutes the first meal of the year. It also serves as traditional Sunday breakfast. The preparation of Joumou soup is a family and community affair: women manage the overall activities, children help to prepare the ingredients, artisans make the aluminium pots and other utensils used to prepare the soup, and farmers work the land to harvest the vegetables. Today, several variations of the soup can be found in Caribbean and Latin American cuisines.

  1. Further takes note of the request made by the national authorities of Haiti that the Committee examine this nomination on an accelerated basis at its present session;
  2. Expresses its solidarity with the people of Haiti, while noting that the 2003 Convention provides an opportunity for promoting and enhancing the visibility of elements that contribute to preparing for, responding to, and recovering from the effects of natural disasters;
  3. Recognizes the pertinence of the Operational principles and modalities for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in emergencies for this case, and considers that the request for this nomination to be examined on an accelerated basis can be responded to positively on compassionate grounds and on an exceptional basis;
  4. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   The element is a historical and inclusive culinary tradition of Haiti that teaches tolerance, respect for human dignity and equality. It is widely prepared, shared and enjoyed in rural and urban areas alike throughout the country. While women play a central role in its transmission, men, women and youth all participate in the preparation of the soup. Transmission of the recipes takes place mainly at home but also through books, shows, social networks, the curricula of cooking schools, and agricultural fairs and festivals. The element is a symbol of the struggle against colonization and is a strong cultural expression of Haitian identity.

R.2:   At the local level, the inscription of the element would encourage awareness on the role of intangible cultural heritage in strengthening social bonds. At the national level, it would support partnerships and dialogue between different groups and communities, and encourage authorities to better identify and promote traditional knowledge and skills related to living heritage. At the international level, an inscription would highlight the values of equality, and social justice that are integral to intangible cultural heritage, and motivate bearers from other countries to identify and safeguard elements that represent solidarity and inclusiveness. It would also encourage exchanges between people and practitioners from different countries, as well as with practitioners of other elements of intangible cultural heritage.

R.3:   The viability of the element has been ensured by Haitian families with women playing a key role in the informal transmission of the preparatory techniques in rural and urban settings. Several actions have been organized by the State including the set-up of a master's program in History, Memory and Heritage, UNESCO sponsored capacity-building workshops, and teacher training workshops to teach about the symbolism of the soup. A series of safeguarding measures are proposed including research, conferences, a school-based program and monitoring and evaluation. The State will provide financial resources, and strengthen the collaboration among communities, groups and individuals and public institutions.

R.4:   The nomination process followed a participatory approach, where bearers played a fundamental role in the preparation of the file. The State initiated the nomination process through a series of meetings where the perspectives of researchers in Haitian intangible cultural heritage were also sought. Four discussion sessions took place in 2020 at the Haitian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO and at the Ministry of Culture and Communication. Free, prior and informed consent was provided by a variety of communities, groups and individuals. No custom or other practice limits access to the element and the element is open to inclusive participation.

R.5:   The element was first identified and included in the Inventory of Intangible Heritage of Haiti project (IPIMH) in 2011, through an inventorying project led by the State University of Haiti and Laval University with the involvement of NGOs and bearers, including women’s associations. The element was subsequently incorporated in the National Register of Cultural Heritage in 2020. The inventory is updated yearly through the coordination efforts of the Directorate of Cultural Heritage in conjunction with bearers, experts, associations and community members.

  1. Commends the State Party on an exemplary demonstration of how the element will contribute to ensuring visibility and awareness of the significance of the intangible cultural heritage and to encouraging dialogue, thus reflecting cultural diversity worldwide and testifying to human creativity.
  2. Decides to inscribe Joumou soup on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  3. Notes that this inscription occurred on an exceptional basis with respect to procedures and that it will be brought to the attention of the General Assembly of the Convention at its ninth session;
  4. Invites the Open-ended intergovernmental working group to examine the procedures for exceptional cases;
  5. Requests that the Secretariat bring this decision to the attention of the ninth session of the General Assembly for its endorsement of the procedure followed for the inscription of this nomination.