Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 14.COM 10

The Committee,

  1. Recalling Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined documents LHE/19/14.COM/10, LHE/19/14.COM/10.a Add., LHE/19/14.COM/10.b Add.2, LHE/19/14.COM/10.c Add., LHE/19/14.COM/10.d and LHE/19/14.COM/INF.10, as well as the files submitted by the respective States Parties,
  3. Expresses its satisfaction with the work of the Evaluation Body, thanks its members for the quality of the present report and appreciates the assistance of the Secretariat to facilitate the work of the Evaluation Body;
  4. Congratulates, in particular, those submitting States that presented nominations that could serve as good examples for future nominations;
  5. Reaffirms its concerns about the limited number of nominations for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and of proposals for selection on the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices and encourages States Parties to pay special attention to these two mechanisms of the Convention;
  6. Further appreciates the observations and recommendations made by the Evaluation Body concerning its work for the 2019 cycle, recognizes that many of the issues raised in its previous decisions continue to prevail in the 2019 cycle, as summarized in paragraphs 54 and 55 of the present report, and reiterates its invitation to States Parties to the Convention to address these issues when submitting future nominations;
  7. Takes note of the ‘provisional upstream dialogue’ process that was introduced on an experimental basis for the evaluation of nominations in the 2019 cycle and the Evaluation Body’s opinions concerning the six nominations for which the dialogue process was used, as presented in document LHE/19/14.COM/INF.10, and further takes note of the Evaluation Body’s observations and recommendations regarding the provisional dialogue process, including the proposed amendments to the Operational Directives as presented in document LHE/19/14.COM/14;
  8. Underlines the importance of providing a clear identification and definition of the element in question as well as of the communities, groups and individuals that consider such an element to be part of their intangible cultural heritage and reminds States Parties to be consistent in the information they provide throughout their files and to recognize the crucial importance of the links between the different criteria for inscription;
  9. Acknowledges the continued difficulties and challenges encountered by the Evaluation Body in evaluating criterion R.2, despite the changes made to Section 2 of Form ICH-02, and reaffirms the need to undertake a review of the formulation of this criterion in relation to the purpose of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in the context of the global reflection on the listing mechanisms;
  10. Calls the attention of States Parties to the need to undertake significant measures to develop inventories with a view to safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, while recognizing the right of each State Party to draw up inventories in a manner geared to its own situation, as stipulated in Article 12.1 of the Convention, and stresses the importance of regularly updating inventories with the participation of the communities concerned, as a key safeguarding measure to be reflected in nominations;
  11. Commends the States Parties that demonstrated close collaboration in the preparation of multinational nominations, in line with the principles of international cooperation and the promotion of mutual understanding of the Convention, also appreciates the efforts of these States Parties to develop joint measures to safeguard elements as shared elements that could create ties between different communities, and further encourages States Parties with similar elements to work together towards the submission of multinational nominations or extended nominations at the international level;
  12. Takes note with appreciation of the growing number of nominations that demonstrate the contribution of living heritage to environmental sustainability, yet draws the attention of States Parties to the fact that proposed safeguarding measures that include environmental protection need to also focus on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, including the social functions and cultural meanings of the element concerned;
  13. Further reminds States Parties that, while recognizing the economic opportunities presented by certain elements of intangible cultural heritage, it is important to prioritize the safeguarding of their social functions and cultural meanings and to clearly distinguish these from the branding or labelling of a product, and welcomes safeguarding measures that address the risk of the potential decontextualization and jeopardization of an element as a result of over-commercialization;
  14. Requests the Secretariat to publish the recommendations of the Evaluation Body on the safeguarding measures and good practices that address the risk of decontextualization and over-commercialization of elements in a guidance note for communities and States Parties;
  15. Reiterates its concern that top-down approaches persist in many nomination processes and also encourages States Parties to guarantee the widest and most active community participation possible in the development and implementation of safeguarding plans and measures;
  16. Further recognizes the recurring challenges that the Evaluation Body encounters in its evaluations, encourages the participation of experts and non-governmental organizations in the global reflection on the listing mechanisms, having served on past and present evaluation bodies, and welcomes their experience and expertise in this regard;
  17. Recalls that, in order to uphold the sustainability of the listing system, the credibility of the process for inscription must be ensured at all stages, and hence, underlines the importance that the decisions of the Committee shall be based only on experts’ recommendations and evidence-based considerations.