Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 17.COM 7.c.4

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Portugal and Spain have proposed Portuguese-Galician border ICH: a safeguarding model created by Ponte...nas ondas! (No. 01848) for selection and promotion by the Committee as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention:

The Ponte…nas ondas! (PNO!) project aims to safeguard intangible cultural heritage on the Portuguese-Galician border by creating spaces in which the heritage can be practiced and transmitted to younger generations. Initially developed in schools of the municipalities of Salvaterra de Miño (Spain) and Monção (Portugal), the project later spread to many other schools and institutions. More recently, this living heritage has been studied and analysed for educational purposes by teachers and researchers from PNO!, with the support of tradition bearers, practitioners and specialists from universities in the region. The PNO! project has allowed young people to get involved in the practice and transmission of their own traditions thanks to the dissemination of cultural heritage in schools, the training of teachers, the presence of bearers and practitioners in classrooms to share their knowledge and experience, and the use of information and communications technology and radio resources to transmit, promote and enhance the shared intangible cultural heritage.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the programme responds as follows to the criteria for selection as a good safeguarding practice in paragraph 7 of the Operational Directives:

P.1:   The nominated project Ponte…nas ondas! has been implemented for twenty-five years in schools on both sides of the Portuguese-Galician border, and aims to safeguard intangible cultural heritage by creating spaces in which these practices take place and are transmitted to younger generations. The project started in 1995 when a group of school teachers from various primary and secondary schools on both sides of the border decided to work together to maintain, transmit and provide contexts to keep the heritage culture of their borderland alive. The objectives of the project are clearly defined in the file. The file also explains the various safeguarding measures of the project, which involve identification and awareness-raising activities, transmission efforts and promotional events.

P.2:   The project involves coordination with the public administrations responsible for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in Portugal and Spain. This has enabled the further involvement of national organisms and regional institutions in both countries, which facilitate the participation of culture-bearers, practitioners and communities in the project. Local radio stations from both sides of the border have offered support to disseminate the safeguarding initaitives. Nevertheless, the coordination between Galician and Portuguese schools continues to be the main means of organizing, developing and managing the project.

P.3:   The project involves education efforts that promote inclusive social development, intercultural understanding and gender equality. It reflects the principles and objectives of the Convention, as it aims to safeguard Galician-Portuguese intangible cultural heritage and ensure it continues to be practised by the communities, groups and individuals concerned on both sides of the border. The project also raises awareness of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage at the local, national and international levels.

P.4:   The project has lasted more than twenty-five years and provided opportunities for youth to be involved in the practice and transmission of their own traditions. Through the project, students became familiar with their history, natural environment, communities and cultures. The file presents specific examples of the project's effectiveness. For example, the annual radio conference among schools has been one of the most effective ways of raising awareness and disseminating Galician and Portuguese intangible cultural heritage. This project has the participation of more than 300 schools in Galicia and Portugal, and of more than 5,000 youths and 3,000 teachers, as well as journalists and families.

P.5:   The communities have been involved in the development of the project's activities and the achievements of its objectives. The proposal to develop the different activities comes from the schools, and involves teachers, students and families. The project also involves the participation of many individuals and organizations. Teachers, families and students, regardless of age and gender, actively participate in the development of activities involving other collaborators such as culture-bearers, practitioners, communities, musicians, writers, journalists, anthropologists, farmers and fishermen. Various letters of consent were submitted from associations, schools, teachers, students, families, researchers, musicians, journalists and radio stations, expressing their support for the nomination.

P.6:   The project can be used as an international model, as it uses a participatory methodology that can be implemented in other cross-border geographical zones. The project's approach encourages dialogue and exchange among communities and would encourage peace and cooperation among societies from different countries. As a cross-border experience, the PNO! model can be reproduced to reinforce dialogue among generations and transmission of intangible cultural heritage across borders.

P.7:   The project's willingness to cooperate in dissemination activities is demonstrated in past efforts, such as in the dissemination of the work of the System of Living Human Treasures that PNO! started in 2009 and in the Living Libraries programme which was implemented in 2011. The activities and publications of the project are available in Galician and Portuguese, and the Cultural and Pedagogical Association PNO! is translating most of its minutes and publications into other languages, such as Spanish and English. The PNO! reference websites are available in Spanish and English, as well as in Galician and Portuguese, to contribute to the dissemination of the project. The file lists several websites to demonstrate that the content of project has been broadly published and shared.

P.8:   Since the beginning of the project, the PNO! association has implemented surveys and assessments in schools to measure the results and the impact of activities and to gather suggestions for improvement. The assessments are carried out in participating schools and make improvements for successive calls for proposals. Meetings are periodically carried out with the teachers in charge of the coordination of activities, along with intangible cultural heritage specialists and researchers, to evaluate the results of the activities. The external evaluations of the project are based on public recognitions and awards granted by several international bodies.

P.9:   The project can be a model for encouraging safeguarding efforts across different border areas, including cross-border communities in developing countries. The PNO! model can be useful for developing countries because: (a) it involves a combination of intangible cultural heritage and information and communications technology to transform heritage into a teaching tool; (b) the initial investment is minimal; and (c) the combination of radio, education and intangible cultural heritage is an effective safeguarding formula. The integration of intangible cultural heritage into the education system is another effective and feasible result of the project.

  1. Decides to select Portuguese-Galician border ICH: a safeguarding model created by Ponte...nas ondas! as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention;
  2. Commends the States Parties for a well-prepared file that highlights the involvement of communities, groups and individuals in the safeguarding of shared intangible cultural heritage that can be found across borders.