Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 17.COM 7.B.27

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Slovenia has nominated Beekeeping in Slovenia, a way of life (No. 01857) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

In Slovenia, beekeeping is a way of life for many individuals, families and communities, who obtain bee products for food and traditional medicine and use their knowledge and skills to care for the honeybees and the environment. The only subspecies kept in Slovenia is the Carniolan bee. Beekeepers have around 200,000 bee colonies, and with the controlled breeding of queen bees they responsibly ensure the preservation of its valued characteristics: gentleness, yield, excellent orientation and resistance to weather conditions. Bees are kept mostly in wooden apiaries near beekeepers' homes. Communities express a loving and respectful attitude towards bees, and the related knowledge, skills and practices are shaped by centuries of tradition and transmitted from generation to generation. Beekeepers, who consider bees their teachers and friends as well as symbols of virtue, cleverness and frugality, expand their knowledge and skills through constant research. The importance of beekeeping in Slovenia is reflected in its rich terminology and in academic, literary and folklore texts (with printed works from the eighteenth century onwards disseminating knowledge, prose, poetry and sayings related to beekeeping), art (with the characteristic painted panels and religious and secular motifs on the hives) and architecture (with the construction of traditional apiaries).

  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:   Beekeeping in Slovenia involves many individuals, families and communities, who use their knowledge, practices and skills to take care of honeybees. The knowledge and skills of the element are transmitted within families and among individuals in primary and secondary schools and beekeeping clubs. Beekeepers are organized into societies that encourage mutual support and cooperation. Beekeepers work with different craftspeople involved in making equipment, tools, festive clothing, hive panels and honey bread, among others. The element carries a social function through the strong connectedness of beekeepers and the inclusion of family members, fellow beekeepers and experts. The element is an important part of Slovenian identity, as demonstrated through poems, tales, proverbs and fairy tales. The element promotes sustainable development through caring for the environment, and safe food and environmentally friendly beekeeping practices. The element also enhances mutual respect between groups, communities and individuals.

R.2:   At the local level, inscription will raise awareness about the importance of cooperation in environmental protection, economic promotion and cultural safeguarding. At the national level, inscription will highlight the inter-connectedness of farming and other branches of the economy in the conservation of nature. It will encourage efforts to strengthen environmental sustainability and increase interest in handicrafts. At the international level, inscription will emphasize the important role of intangible cultural heritage in sustainable development principles and highlight how skills, traditional crafts and social practices contribute to the shaping of resilient and inclusive communities. Inscription will also encourage dialogue between beekeepers and interest groups while fostering creativity among different groups of intangible cultural heritage bearers and encouraging the creation of new forms of expression through photography, painting, films, literature and music.

R.3:   The file elaborates past and current safeguarding measures to ensure the transmission, protection, documentation and promotion of the element by the communities and the State Party. An umbrella organization, the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association, plays an important role in developing guidelines, proposing measures and formulating initiatives to respond to the needs of beekeepers. In addition, beekeeping clubs in primary and secondary schools shape the positive attitudes of young bearers. The proposed safeguarding measures include: monitoring environmental risks; facilitating spaces for the practice of the element; training new practitioners; mitigating medical risks; setting up regional education centres; and ensuring architectural designs are aligned with the needs of practitioners. An apicultural tourism strategy is to be established for 2021–2025, and visits will be regulated through the limited size of apiaries. The proposed safeguarding measures were jointly formulated by individuals, societies and experts. The communities will also be involved in the implementation of the proposed activities.

R.4:   The file demonstrates that the communities concerned have actively participated in all stages of the nomination preparation. This includes the appointment of a working group which consisted of members of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association of all ages and genders, representatives from the architectural, legal and museum fields, and local communities. The meetings about the safeguarding measures proposed were held between the Ministry of Culture and the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association between 2019 and 2021. A committee will be formed to monitor the implementation of the proposed safeguarding measures and ensure the participation of communities. The file includes letters of consent from the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association's bodies, over thirty beekeeping societies and individual beekeepers.

R.5:   The element is included on the Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, which is maintained by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia. The information about the elements in the Register is updated several times a year, at the request of the bearers or experts, and in agreement with the bearers. The formal procedure of inscribing elements related to the field of beekeeping was carried out between 2018 and 2020 based on a bottom-up approach that involved bearers and the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association.

  1. Decides to inscribe Beekeeping in Slovenia, a way of life on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the State Party for a well-prepared file that demonstrates the linkages between intangible cultural heritage and environmental sustainability.