Decision of the Bureau: 16.COM 2.BUR 3.1

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 LHE/21/16.COM 2.BUR/3 as well as International Assistance request no. 01635 submitted by the Cook Islands,
  3. Takes note that the Cook Islands has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Documentation and inventory of peu karioi (performing arts) in the Cook Islands:

To be implemented by the Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development, this eighteen-month project is geared at documenting and inventorying peu karioi (performing arts) in the Cook Islands, which constitutes a traditional technique of telling stories, proverbs, myths and legends. Conventionally, the elders of each island transmit knowledge about the peu karioi to the next generation orally. However, this approach is now challenged by over-commercialization of peu karioi, a decline in interest amongst youth and the migration of many Cook Islanders abroad. This project has several objectives: (a) to engage community members in documenting their intangible cultural heritage; (b) to enhance the role of the Are Korero (houses of knowledge) as repositories of living heritage; (c) to work with performing arts practitioners and publish relevant resources; (d) to work with educational institutions to accredit practitioners so they can teach performing arts in schools with a set syllabus; and (e) to assist communities in developing standard guidelines to ensure the safeguarding of traditional performing arts and prevent their over-commercialization. The information collected will be stored in a database and the Are Korero will serve as a vehicle to enhance the awareness, transmission and safeguarding of peu karioi.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance aims 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 the Cook Islands has requested assistance in the amount of US$99,983 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;
  3. Decides that, from the information provided in file no. 01635, 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 project follows a national consultation that established the need to document the performing arts of the Cook Islands, while involving different groups and communities such as elders, youth, researchers and community associations. The project also clearly outlines the central role of the communities concerned in the implementation of the activities, such as inventory fieldwork and monitoring and evaluation.

Criterion A.2: The budget is well thought-out and structured to support the different components of the project. Moreover, it takes the COVID-19 pandemic situation into account. In particular, while the capacity-building workshop on inventorying and safeguarding is planned as a face-to-face meeting, a cost estimate is provided for a hybrid workshop alternative should the health situation require it. The overall amount of assistance requested seems appropriate with regard to the objectives and scope of the project.

Criterion A.3: The proposed activities are well-planned and coherent in terms of the project’s objectives and expected results. One of the strengths of this proposal is that it engages communities and stakeholders in its activities in a holistic manner. The different activities of the project show innovative approaches, such as the creation of an open data platform that will allow public access to the information registered. The platform will include a bilingual glossary of performing arts terminology in order to safeguard the language used in the performing arts.

Criterion A.4: The involvement of children, youth and elders throughout the project will ensure that the knowledge and skills of peu karioi are shared across generations and thus foster continuity. Moreover, this project links institutions of different levels, such as the Are Korero (houses of knowledge) and the public institutions (Ministry of Cultural Development, Ministry of Education, schools and libraries), ensuring that the results of the project will be kept, promoted and utilized after the project is completed. Furthermore, as part of the project’s awareness raising activities, the information collected will be presented in a major exhibition at the National Museum in Rarotonga, as well as in mobile exhibitions in the halls of 11 island councils.

Criterion A.5: The submitting State Party will contribute 40 per cent of the total amount of the project for which International Assistance is requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.

Criterion A.6: The project will contribute to building long-term capacity for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage at the national level. The project is focused on capacity building by providing opportunities for communities, state agencies, island councils and Cook Islanders to learn about the 2003 Convention, and to transmit and exchange ideas on how best to safeguard intangible cultural heritage.

Criterion A.7: The Cook Islands has not previously received any financial assistance from UNESCO under the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund of the 2003 Convention to implement similar or related activities in the field of intangible cultural heritage.

Paragraph 10(a): The project is national in scope and involves key national stakeholders such as the Ministry of Cultural Development and the Ministry of Education. Furthermore, relevant partners will assist in the coordination and implementation of the project, including the island councils, the House of Chiefs, island communities, the Peu Karioi Association of Cook Islands, and women and youth associations. Although the UNESCO facilitator will be participating in the implementation of the project, the State Party is also encouraged to involve the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States in Apia.

Paragraph 10(b): The project envisions educational and promotional resources, a glossary of words associated with the performing arts, a syllabus for the national curriculum, and a youth mentorship programme. The inventory methodology that will be implemented during this project can be used as a model in the future for inventorying other elements of living heritage on the islands.

  1. Takes note of the technical assistance provided to the Cook Islands to finalize the request and commends the State Party’s efforts in substantially revising the initial draft;
  2. Approves the International Assistance request from the Cook Islands for the project entitled Documentation and inventory of peu karioi (performing arts) in the Cook Islands and grants the amount of US$99,983 to the State Party for this purpose;
  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 budget and work plan of the activities to be covered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund are detailed and specific enough to provide sufficient justification of the expenditures;
  4. Invites the State Party to use Form ICH-04-Report to report on the use of the assistance granted.