Recognizing Importance of Living Heritage During Pandemic, Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee to Meet Online

Recognizing Importance of Living Heritage During Pandemic, Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee to Meet Online

A digital platform created by UNESCO shows the negative impact of the health crisis on living heritage in more than 70 countries, notably in small island developing states, despite its fundamental role in times of physical distancing and lockdowns.

Paris – Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, the States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage have decided to hold the annual meeting of their Intergovernmental Committee from 14 to 19 December online.

The opening ceremony of the session will take place in Kingston, Jamaica, on 14 December, with the participation of Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO and Olivia Grange, Chairperson of the Committee and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport of Jamaica, who will then lead the online debates for six days between12.30 to 3.30 pm UTC.

digital platform created by UNESCO shows the negative impact of the health crisis on living heritage in more than 70 countries, notably in small island developing states, despite its fundamental role in times of physical distancing and lockdowns.

The Committee received 40 requests for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Committee members will also have to decide on four nominations for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. In addition, four projects are proposed for inclusion in the Register of Good Practices for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, of which there are 22 to date. The Committee will also examine two requests for international assistance submitted by Malawi and the Central African Republic, respectively for an intangible heritage safeguarding project and a capacity-building project. 

On the occasion of the Committee, UNESCO will launch the innovative graphic tool “Dive into Intangible Cultural Heritage”, which highlights the contribution of living heritage to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) promotes support for cultural practices inherited from our ancestors and transmitted to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, or the knowledge and skills necessary for traditional craftsmanship. Composed of representatives of 24 States Parties to the Convention, the Intergovernmental Committee meets once a year to monitor the implementation of this legal instrument which has been ratified by 180 States. 

Current nominations to the Urgent Safeguarding List of Intangible Cultural Heritage this year are : 

Colombia -- Traditional knowledge and techniques associated with Pasto Varnish mopa-mopa of Putumayo and Nariño

Egypt -- Handmade weaving in Upper Egypt (Sa'eed)

Georgia -- Wheat culture in Georgia, culture of wheat endemic species and landraces cultivation and utilization in Georgia

Namibia -- Aixan/Gana/Ob#ANS TSI //Khasigu, ancestral musical sound knowledge and skills

Urgent Safeguarding List

Colombia -- Traditional knowledge and techniques associated with Pasto Varnish mopa-mopa of Putumayo and Nariño

Egypt -- Handmade weaving in Upper Egypt (Sa'eed)

Georgia -- Wheat culture in Georgia, culture of wheat endemic species and landraces cultivation and utilization in Georgia

Namibia -- Aixan/Gana/Ob#ANS TSI //Khasigu, ancestral musical sound knowledge and skills


Representative List

Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia -- Knowledge, know-how and practices pertaining to the production and consumption of couscous

Argentina – Chamamé

Azerbaijan -- Nar Bayrami, traditional pomegranate festivity and culture

Azerbaijan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Turkey, Uzbekistan -- Art of miniature

Bangladesh -- Traditional art of nakshi kantha embroidery

Bosnia and Herzegovina -- Grass mowing competition custom in Kupres

Cambodia -- Kun Lbokator

China – Taijiquan

China; Malaysia -- Ong Chun/Wangchuan/Wangkang ceremony, rituals and related practices for maintaining the sustainable connection between man and the ocean

Croatia -- Festivity of Saint Tryphon and the Kolo (chain dance) of Saint Tryphon, traditions of Croats from the Bay of Kotor who live in the Republic of Croatia

Czechia -- Handmade production of Christmas tree decorations from blown glass beads

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea -- Custom of Korean costume in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Finland -- Sauna culture in Finland

France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy -- Musical art of horn players, an instrumental technique linked to singing, breath control, vibrato, resonance of place and conviviality

Hungary -- Pottery making tradition in Hungary

Indonesia, Malaysia -- Pantun

Iran (Islamic Republic of), Armenia -- Pilgrimage to the St. Thaddeus Apostle Monastery

Iran (Islamic Republic of), Syrian Arab Republic -- Crafting and playing the Oud

Iran (Islamic Republic of); Tajikistan -- Ceremony of Mehrgan

Italy, France --The art of glass beads

Japan -- Traditional skills, techniques and knowledge for the conservation and transmission of wooden architecture in Japan

Kazakhstan -- Orteke, Kazakh traditional puppet-musical performing art

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey -- Traditional intelligence and strategy game: Togyzqumalaq, Toguz Korgool, Mangala/Göçürme

Malawi, Zimbabwe -- Art of crafting and playing Mbira/Sansi, the finger-plucking traditional musical instrument in Malawi and Zimbabwe

Malta -- Il-Ftira, culinary art and culture of flattened sourdough bread in Malta

Oman -- Khanjar, knowledge of cultural and social practices

Paraguay -- Practices and traditional knowledge of Terere in the culture of Pohã Ñana, Guaraní ancestral drink in Paraguay

Poland, Belarus –- Tree beekeeping culture

Republic of Korea -- Yeondeunghoe, lantern lighting festival in the Republic of Korea

Romania -- Traditional music band from Romania

Saudi Arabia --Knowledge and practices related to cultivating Khawlani coffee beans

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait -- Traditional weaving of Al Sadu

Serbia -- Zlakusa pottery making, hand-wheel pottery making in the village of Zlakusa

Singapore -- Hawker culture in Singapore, community dining and culinary practices in a multicultural urban context

Spain --Wine Horses

Switzerland; France - Craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking and art mechanics

Tunisia -- Charfia fishing in the Kerkennah Islands

United Arab Emirates -- Al Aflaj, traditional irrigation network system in the UAE, oral traditions, knowledge and skills of construction, maintenance and equitable water distribution

United Arab Emirates, Oman -- Camel racing, a social practice and a festive heritage associated with camels

Zambia -- Budima dance

Nominations to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices

Albania -- National Folk Festival of Gjirokastra (NFFoGj), 50 years best practice in safeguarding Albanian intangible heritage

France -- The Martinique yole, from construction to sailing practices, a model for heritage safeguarding

Germany, Austria, France, Norway, Switzerland -- Craft techniques and customary practices of cathedral workshops, or Bauhütten, in Europe, know-how, transmission, development of knowledge and innovation

Greece -- Polyphonic caravan, researching, safeguarding and promoting the Epirus polyphonic song

The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding identifies elements of living heritage whose survival is under threat. Consisting to date of 64 inscribed elements, it enables States Parties to the Convention to mobilize international cooperation and assistance to support the transmission of these cultural practices in agreement with the communities concerned. 

The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity has 463 inscribed elements. It aims to give greater visibility to cultural practices and skills carried by communities.

To browse the lists: https://ich.unesco.org/en/lists