Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 18.COM 8.B.12

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia have nominated Harees dish: know-how, skills and practices (No. 01744) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Harees is a popular traditional dish made with wheat grain, meat and ghee. Typically consumed at breakfast and dinner, the dish is usually made in big quantities because of the effort required to clean and grind the grain. It is served in large dishes that are shared by several people, and eaten using the thumb and forefinger while sitting on one knee. Although harees is prepared for many occasions, it is particularly popular during Ramadan, when honouring guests, and for social events such as weddings. It is also popular during the pilgrimage season because of the simplicity of its ingredients and the ability to make and serve it in large quantities. In the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia, Harees is present in many social and cultural elements such as folk stories, sayings and poetry. The related skills and knowledge are passed on from mothers to daughters, in educational institutes, restaurants and hotels, and through the media and official institutions. Preparing and serving harees is viewed as a sign of hospitality and generosity. A means of promoting social connection, the practice strengthens bonds between people and communities while enhancing cultural affinity in the societies concerned.

  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 element constitutes the skills and knowledge associated with making the traditional dish of Harees with wheat, meat and ghee in the three submitting States. People of all genders participate in its preparation, with some division of tasks based on gender. Wheat growers, merchants and restaurant owners are also included among the bearers and practitioners. Its consumption is widespread. Knowledge and skills are transmitted by mothers to daughters during preparation, as well as in traditional restaurants and hotels. The element is also a part of school curricula in the submitting States. Communities have preserved the skills and methods of making Harees and consider it an important dish to be consumed on social and national occasions and during Ramadan. Harees is present in many social and cultural elements such as folk stories, sayings and poetry, and has become a heritage symbol that is promoted at festivals as well as during official and civic events. The communal work of ploughing, sowing and harvesting is considered a form of social connection. It is a dish that strengthens bonds between people and communities.

R.2:   Inscription would help local communities better understand their heritage, realize its potential for achieving sustainable development and develop awareness of the duties and responsibilities of individuals and groups in transmitting their heritage. It would incentivize local communities to re-discover and highlight general elements of their heritage. At the national level, it would be a catalyst for increased awareness about shared heritage related to food and food production. It would enhance respect for cultural diversity among societies of the submitting States and strengthen links between them, as well as increase support for national programmes related to this element and intangible cultural heritage in general. At the international level, it could promote traditional food culture and encourage other countries where Harees is prepared to join the nomination, thereby enhancing shared human and cultural experiences. Inscription would facilitate dialogue with other countries about traditional cuisine and the possibility of joint action and cooperation.

R.4:   Each of the submitting States formed a team of experts, specialists, researchers and representatives of NGOs related to the element. Interviews with community members, including farmers, women, traditional restaurant owners, and other practitioners, formed the basis for preparing the nomination file. The submitting States also organized workshops and meetings with bearers and practitioners in order to complete the collection of information and involve them in preparing the file. The activities included demonstrations in preparing the element. A series of consent letters are attached to the nomination, as well as consent in the form of video recordings. However, some consent letters only mention their own country’s nomination effort, and do not acknowledge the multinational nature of the nomination.

R.5:   The element is listed on the inventories of the respective submitting States. Details of the inventories, such as the organization responsible and the date of inclusion, were provided in the nomination file. Information about how the inventories are updated with the involvement of communities is also provided in the file. Saudi Arabia updates its national inventories every four years. The United Arab Emirates updates its inventory every five years. As for Oman, no specific frequency was indicated. The inventory was created in 2010 and updated in 2013. Oman is now preparing to launch a project to update the inventory lists under the supervision of a specialized committee.

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

R.3:   The element is safeguarded by communities concerned as they have been preparing and consuming the dish for generations. Safeguarding measures include improving and developing wheat cultivation, encouraging the opening of restaurants serving Harees, media promotion, the organization of festivals, events and competitions, providing courses and applying innovations. State efforts focus on combatting the threats of competing modern foods. To this end, the States have installed legislative measures, held courses, workshops and classes, supported wheat cultivation and established databases, among others. Proposed safeguarding measures are presented for each submitting State separately, with joint measures ranging from legislative measures, to encouraging and supporting wheat production, to developing educational activities, promotion and awareness raising, and research and documentation activities. The communities, groups and individuals concerned in the three States Parties participated in the planning of the safeguarding measures and will be involved in their implementation.

  1. Decides to inscribe Harees dish: know-how, skills and practices on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.