Decision of the Bureau: 13.COM 3.BUR 4.5

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling Article 23 of the Convention as well as Chapter I.4 of the Operational Directives relating to the eligibility and criteria of International Assistance requests,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/18/13.COMBUR/4 as well as International Assistance request no. 01445 submitted by Mongolia,
  3. Takes note that Mongolia has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Transmitting and stabilizing the folk long song performance technique of Limbe performers – circular breathing through the old repertoire to the new generations:

The proposed 36-month project, to be implemented by the National Center for Cultural Heritage and carried out in three regions, aims to stabilize and transmit the folk long performance technique of Limbe performers – circular breathing through the old repertoire. The circular breathing technique is considered as a great achievement among nomadic Mongolians and is inseparable from the traditional folk long song. However, there are currently very few Limbe performers compared with those of other instruments, and Limbe performers who have mastered the circular breathing technique are even fewer. There is therefore an urgent need to safeguard the technique along with the traditional repertoire of folk long song melodies. Since the inscription of the element on the List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2011, the Mongolian government has undertaken several initiatives to safeguard and transmit it, together with community members and related bodies. However, though these initiatives have brought fruitful outcomes, they are still in their first phase. To further strengthen the element, previous safeguarding measures need to be reinforced and future measures redefined in collaboration with bearers and practitioners. To this end, the project intends to: strengthen and stabilize the practice; document and inventory the old repertoire; train apprentices and strengthen their skills and knowledge of the old repertoire; support the production of Limbe musical instruments; and raise public awareness.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance is to support a project implemented at the national level, in accordance with Article 20 (c) of the Convention, and that it takes the form of the provision of a grant, pursuant to Article 21 (g) of the Convention;
  2. Also takes note that Mongolia has requested assistance in the amount of US$99,946 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01445, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance given in paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:
Criterion A.1: The current request, put forward by the National Center for Cultural Heritage (NCCH) in close collaboration with the non-governmental organization ‘Mongolian Association for the Limbe Performers’ and other national authorities, reflects the involvement of the communities and practitioners in its preparation, and demonstrates the inclusion of their aspirations within the project. The Mongolian Association for the Limbe Performers, which comprises master performers, researchers, teachers, musicians and apprentices, is presented in the request as representing the Limbe community and will play a key role in the implementation and monitoring of the project.

Criterion A.2: In general, the budget is clearly presented, demonstrating the allocation of resources for the different expenditures relating to the planned activities, and the overall amount requested may therefore be considered as appropriate. However, more accurate and detailed information for some of the expenditure items such as those related to the activity involved in the training sessions on making the Limbe instruments could have been provided.

Criterion A.3: The proposed activities are well-conceived in relation to the objectives and expected results of the project. They are detailed and structured around: field research to identify the Limbe practitioners; inventorying and documenting the old repertoire of folk long songs; updating the databases of the practitioners; and strengthening and transmitting the practice through apprenticeship training and instrument making. Awareness raising and outreach on the practice is envisaged through the dissemination of handouts, biographies, and audio and video materials related to the Limbe performers in schools and libraries in the different regions and provinces. The project also includes consultations with local governments and non-governmental organizations for the inclusion of the Limbe performers’ circular breathing technique in the high-school curriculum.

Criterion A.4: The emphasis on the transmission of knowledge concerning the folk long song performance technique of Limbe performers – circular breathing through field research, awareness raising and apprenticeship training is expected to increase the viability of the element. The increased number of practitioners will help operationalize the safeguarding mechanism defined through the Mongolian Law on Protection of Cultural Heritage by setting up a national system for safeguarding and promoting the practice. The implementation of the proposed project is expected to stimulate safeguarding initiatives by the various ministries as well as governmental and non-governmental associations.

Criterion A.5: The requesting State will share 34 per cent of the overall budget of the project for which International Assistance is requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.

Criterion A.6: The request for assistance is aimed at improving the viability of the practice of the folk long song performance technique of Limbe performers – circular breathing by raising awareness and increasing the number of practitioners in three regions of Mongolia and in the city of Ulaanbaatar. The identification of new practitioners along with the distribution of communication materials in schools and the proposal to include the practice in the high-school curriculum will contribute to building up the local communities’ capacity to safeguard this element.

Criterion A.7: Mongolia has benefitted from International Assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund three times, for the following projects: ‘Improving the capacities of intangible cultural heritage related to NGOs in Mongolia’ (File no. 00910, 2015, US$24,900), carried out by the Foundation for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage; ‘Safeguarding and revitalizing the Mongolian traditional epic’ (File no. 00549, 2013-2016, US$89,700), carried out by the National Center for Cultural Heritage (NCCH); and ‘The elaboration of the “Inventories of the Representative list and list in need of urgent safeguarding of Intangible Heritage in Mongolia”’ (File no. 00298, 2009-2011, US$24,000), carried out by the Center of Cultural Heritage. The State has also benefitted from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for two preparatory assistance projects: ‘Mongolian Traditional Heroic Epic’ (File no. 00261, 2008-2009, US$6,000), carried out by the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO; and ‘Mongolian folk dance’ (File no. 00260, 2008-2009, US$6,500), carried out by the Mongolian Cultural Studies Association. The work stipulated in the contracts related to all these projects was carried out in compliance with UNESCO’s rules and regulations.

Paragraph 10(a): The proposed activities are national in scope and imply cooperation with local governments, national associations, non-governmental organizations, state universities, the National Commission for UNESCO and other ministries.

Paragraph 10(b): The awareness raising achieved among community members could be applied to other Mongolian provinces beyond the three regions and the city of Ulaanbaatar. The improved expertise acquired through the implementation of the project could be utilized for the development and implementation of safeguarding measures for the other elements inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. However, more details on how the proposed project might stimulate financial and technical cooperation following its implementation could have been provided.

  1. Approves the International Assistance request from Mongolia for the project entitled Transmitting and stabilizing the folk long performance technique of Limbe performers – circular breathing through the old repertoire to the new generations and grants the amount of US$99,946 to the State Party to this end;
  2. Takes note that the proposed activities are fully aligned to the existing safeguarding plan for the element inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding as reported by the State Party through the report examined by the eleventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee and commends Mongolia for the continued and coherent efforts to safeguard the element in question;
  3. Requests that the Secretariat reach an agreement with the requesting State Party on the technical details of the assistance, paying particular attention to ensuring that the detailed work plan of the activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund corresponds with the different expenditures and that the actual expenses are matched directly against the projections;
  4. Invites the State Party to use Form ICH-04 Report when reporting on the use of the assistance provided.