Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 16.COM 8.B.5

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Plurinational State of Bolivia has nominated the Grand Festival of Tarija (no. 01477) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Grand Festival of Tarija takes place in the city of Tarija, in the southeast of Bolivia. Celebrated every year in August and September, it involves devotional processions, music festivals, competitions and fireworks dedicated to Saint Roch. The festival has its origins in the colonial period, when the inhabitants of the city entreated the saint to cure epidemics and diseases and to protect their loved ones. It is founded on religiosity and faith, preserved and transmitted within families and in the Catholic community. During the festival, processions cross the main streets of Tarija, visiting the cathedral and temples and churches, with believers showing their devotion through dances, music and prayers. Pilgrims in colourful costumes and masks perform music and dances, and neighbours decorate the temples and streets through which the procession is to pass and organize sport and cultural activities. The Grand Festival of Tarija is characterized by regional crafts, traditional dishes and the absence of alcoholic drinks.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, and the information provided by the submitting State through the dialogue process, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1: The bearers and practitioners of the element include the events committee, the Church and pilgrims (including men and women), as well as the artisans, musicians, builders and cooks who are involved in the festival. Knowledge and skills associated with the element are primarily transmitted within families. The element is compatible with existing international human rights instruments. It also promotes mutual respect among communities and is compatible with sustainable development. In addition to its religious aspects, it is an important marker of the annual agricultural production cycle, as it signals the end of the dry season in winter and the beginning of the production period.

R.2: At the local level, inscription of the element would serve to consolidate the entire legal framework for the protection of the element. At the national level, the participation of the Ministry of Culture would guarantee the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage. Inscription would also encourage dialogue among the various bodies concerned with the element while highlighting the cultural diversity and human creativity expressed by dances, performances, costumes and accessories.

R.3: The viability of the element is ensured through the annual coordination of the festival, which ensures transmission to new generations. Educational institutions, the media and local researchers have also contributed to its continued viability. The State itself has passed a series of legal measures to ensure its viability, allocated funds and ensured the protection of related cultural spaces. A variety of safeguarding measures have been proposed and the file demonstrates the participation of concerned parties.

R.4: The nomination was initiated by the communities in San Roque, which requested the State Party to nominate the element, while the Committee for the Protection of the Grand Festival of Tarija was responsible for preparing the nomination file. Furthermore, the file establishes the widest possible participation in the nomination process and the role played by the concerned stakeholders since 2016, including local and central government, the Church, bearers and practitioners at every level. There are no customary practices that prevent access to the element. Free, prior and informed consent is duly ascertained.

R.5:  The element was initially registered on 8 September 1998 as a national heritage and is listed on the Inventory and Cataloguing of the Movable Property of the Temple of San Roque and the Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Grand Festival of Tarija. It is administered by: The Ministry of Culture and Tourism through the Intangible Heritage Unit of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage; the Autonomous Government of the Department of Tarija through its Directorate of Cultural Management and Heritage; and the Autonomous Municipal Government of the City of Tarija. Information on the element was generated by State entities and researchers with remarks by the Committee for the Protection of the Grand Festival of Tarija. The Inventory is updated every two to three years in collaboration with the autonomous territorial entities and the organizations involved.

  1. Decides to inscribe the Grand Festival of Tarija on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Encourages the State Party to develop a timeline and strategy for implementing the proposed safeguarding measures;
  3. Reminds the State Party to take heed of the potential unintended impacts of inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and in particular of over-commercialization of the element.