Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 11.COM 10.b.2

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey have nominated Flatbread making and sharing culture: Lavash, Katyrma, Jupka, Yufka (No. 01181) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The culture of making and sharing flatbread in communities of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey carries social functions that have enabled it to continue as a widely‑practised tradition. Making the bread (lavash, katyrma, jupka or yufka) involves at least three people, often family members, with each having a role in its preparation and baking. In rural areas, neighbours participate in the process together. Traditional bakeries also make the bread. It is baked using a tandyr/tanūr (an earth or stone oven in the ground), sāj (a metal plate) or kazan (a cauldron). Besides regular meals, flatbread is shared at weddings, births, funerals, various holidays and during prayers. In Azerbaijan and Iran, it is put on the bride’s shoulders or crumbled over her head to wish the couple prosperity while in Turkey it is given to the couple’s neighbours. At funerals in Kazakhstan it is believed the bread should be prepared to protect the deceased while a decision is made from God and in Kyrgyzstan sharing the bread provides a better afterlife for the deceased. The practice, transmitted by participation within families and from master to apprentice, expresses hospitality, solidarity and certain beliefs that symbolize common cultural roots reinforcing community belonging.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

R.1:   The element is considered part of the five countries’ common cultural heritage. It is linked to several associated skills and rituals, with common characteristics, as well as distinct traditions in each State, e.g. use of flatbread at funerals, religious occasions, weddings, and to celebrate new seasons. The file demonstrates that the element plays a variety of social and cultural functions, contributing to social cohesion, mutual respect, peace, hospitality and exchanges between related communities. Knowledge and skills for preparing the flatbread has been transmitted over generations, informally at home through mothers to daughters, and formally through masters and apprentices at traditional bakeries and schools. The element reinforces social cohesion through collective activities;

R.2:   The file indicates that inscription of the element would contribute to raising awareness on intangible cultural heritage, especially about elements with a strong socializing and sharing dimension and about the cultural dimensions of culinary practices as examples of human creativity and intangible cultural heritage in general. The inscription of the element would also promote the recognition of intangible cultural heritage as a way to maintain environmental sustainability and to promote food security. It is also envisaged that inscription would encourage the communities in the five submitting countries to engage in intercultural dialogue for better understanding of similarities and differences among them;

R.3:   The communities concerned in the five submitting States have implemented measures to maintain the viability of the element with practitioners playing a central role (media campaigns, participation in traditional culinary festivals, formal and non‑formal transmission and awareness-raising events). In addition, non-governmental organizations, research institutes, government authorities and trade unions have prepared publications, promoted legislation, run specialized workshops, films, museums and culinary educational institutions. The States Parties have been financially and legally assisting the community efforts. Proposed activities are equally diverse and detailed, with well-defined goals and a six-year timeframe aiming at promoting transmission through formal and non-formal education, preserving the sustainable use of natural resources, conducting research and documentation, as well as awareness-raising actions. In one of the countries, there is an intention to start a programme aimed at preserving traditional ingredients used for flatbread making as part of a more general agricultural policy, as well as inter-country activities (international festivals, cross-border university initiatives and the creation of a commission based on the working groups that prepared the nomination to monitor the effects of possible inscription). The involvement of the communities concerned in the design of the proposed measures and their implementation is also outlined by each submitting State;

R.4:   The nomination process was initiated by communities and non-governmental organizations concerned in the five countries, supported by the relevant authorities, which constituted five working groups. The communities were informed from the outset about the multinational character of the nomination and representatives of the five countries met to finalize a common submission. Numerous documents are presented with the file to demonstrate the consent of the relevant communities, non-governmental organizations, research institutions and universities. The file confirms that flatbread making and sharing has been practised freely in the five countries and that there is no restriction on access to information concerning ingredients, tools or other aspects of the element;

R.5:   The five submitting States demonstrate that the element was identified and included in national inventories of intangible cultural heritage in each of the submitting States with the participation of the communities, relevant non-governmental organizations, groups and other individuals concerned. Evidence of regular updates is also provided.

  1. Inscribes Flatbread making and sharing culture: Lavash, Katyrma, Jupka, Yufka on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
Takes note that the culture of making and sharing flatbread is shared by communities in the region and beyond (see Decision 9.COM 10.3).