Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 17.COM 7.B.24

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Saudi Arabia has nominated Knowledge and practices related to cultivating Khawlani coffee beans (No. 01863) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The cultivation of Khawlani coffee beans begins by planting the seeds in mesh bags filled with soil and stored in a shaded area for three to four months. They are then transferred to agricultural terraces that conserve water and soil. The fruit grows two to three years after planting. It is harvested by hand and laid out to dry. To extract the bean, the dried fruits are placed on a large, flat stone mill, and a cylindrical stone hulls them to prevent cracking, separating the bean from the outer shell. Khawlani tribes have been cultivating coffee beans for over 300 years, passing on the skills and techniques to younger generations. Coffee is viewed as a symbol of generosity in Saudi Arabia and serving guests the coffee beans harvested from one's own farms is considered a sign of honour and respect. The planting and processing of Khawlani coffee beans encourage social cohesion and provide a sense of shared identity, with farmers gathering to exchange knowledge and help other farmers improve their skills.

  1. 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 cultivation of Khawlani coffee beans encompasses specific knowledge and skills to prepare the soil, maintain the trees and pick and process the coffee beans. The main practitioners of the element are landowners of all genders, their family members and farmers who are knowledgeable in the skills of coffee bean cultivation. The skills and techniques are transmitted from one generation to the next through non-formal educational methods such as observation, imitation and participation. Young people learn the cultivation and processing of coffee beans within families or through apprenticeships. The element is associated with coffee, which is a symbol of generosity in Saudi Arabia. The planting and processing of the Khawlani beans encourage social cohesion within the local community. The cultivation of coffee beans also fosters a sense of responsibility for the environment and reflects the coexistence of local communities with the natural environment.

R.2:   At the local level, inscription will contribute to visibility of other intangible cultural heritage elements linked to the cultivation of coffee and rituals practiced when serving Arabic coffee. It will raise awareness of intangible cultural heritage and its significance as an expression of cultural values, social and familial cooperation and identity. At the national level, inscription will contribute to the visibility of other elements and encourage communities in other provinces to identify their intangible cultural heritage. At the international level, inscription will raise visibility and awareness about the importance of intangible cultural heritage related to knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe. It will encourage communities to consider the positive environmental impacts of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and the role of intangible cultural heritage in sustainable development. Inscription will also highlight the creativity of farmers in utilizing the natural landscape of the rugged mountain environment to create agricultural terraces for the cultivation of the Khawlani coffee beans.

R.3:   The file explains past and current safeguarding efforts, which include the annual festival that serves as a public platform for practitioners to display, promote and exchange knowledge on traditional practices. Community members created a documentary and a blog to promote the skills of cultivating Khawlani coffee trees. In addition, a coffee brand that distributes and sells coffee beans nationally was created with the objective of supporting the farmers and promoting the community's identity. The safeguarding measures were proposed with the involvement of the communities, relevant NGOs and governmental entities. These measures will be implemented with the involvement of farmers and landowners of all genders.

R.4:   The file explains that the nomination process was initiated by local practitioners of the element. In January 2019, the NGO Saudi Heritage Preservation Society held several meetings involving local practitioners. The meetings explained the process of preparing the nomination file and the required information needed from the practising community. Meetings were also held with the practising community (approximately 300 coffee bean farmers) to explain the nomination process, identify the social, economic and environmental aspects of the element, and develop safeguarding plans. The final nomination form was translated to Arabic and sent to representatives of the local community in Jazan to verify the content of the file regarding the knowledge and practices related to cultivating Khawlani coffee beans.

R.5:   The element is listed on the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Intangible Heritage Saudi Arabia Inventory. The inventories are maintained by the Ministry of Media and the Saudi Heritage Preservation Society, respectively and updated every four years. The element was identified for inclusion on the inventories in 2018, when a community-based inventorying effort was conducted by the Saudi Heritage Preservation Society in collaboration with local community members and stakeholders. Farmers and practitioners of all genders were involved in identifying the necessary information regarding the knowledge and practices of cultivating Khawlani coffee beans for the inventory.

  1. Decides to inscribe Knowledge and practices related to cultivating Khawlani coffee beans on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the State Party for the submission of an improved file following its previous submission in 2020;
  3. Further commends the State Party for planning sustainable forms of tourism that involve local communities and invites it to monitor the possible unintended consequences of inscription related to tourism and over-commercialization.