Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.30

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Morocco has nominated Argan, practices and know-how concerning the argan tree (No. 00955) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The argan tree is an endemic woodland species found in the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve in south-west Morocco. Rural women and, to a lesser extent, men living in the reserve practise traditional methods to extract argan oil from the fruit of the tree. Different tasks, transmitted by means of imitation and through non-formal education, are required to obtain the oil, which has multiple uses for cooking, medicines and cosmetics. These include harvesting the fruit, drying, pulping, grinding, sorting, milling and mixing. The specific hand mill is manufactured by local craftspeople, and the mixing involves the gradual addition of warm water in exact quantities. All the cultural aspects of the argan tree, including the cultivation of the tree, oil extraction, the preparation of recipes and derived products, and the crafting of traditional tools for the various tasks, contribute to social cohesion, understanding between individuals and mutual respect between communities. Argan oil is given as a wedding gift and is used extensively in the preparation of festive dishes. Traditional know-how specific to the extraction of the oil and its multiple uses is systematically transmitted by ‘argan women’, who teach their daughters from a young age to put it into practice.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List:

R.1:   Transmitted from generation to generation, the know-how concerning the argan tree contributes both to the local economy and to ecological sustainability and is recognized by local communities as a part of their intangible cultural heritage;

R.2:   The State Party demonstrates how the element’s inscription on the Representative List could contribute to raising awareness on the importance of intangible cultural heritage as a vector of human creativity and of the relationship of human beings with their natural environment, while encouraging dialogue among communities concerning respect for nature;

R.3:   A series of measures has been proposed by the submitting State for safeguarding the argan tree and the related knowledge of the practitioners, including legal and institutional frameworks for the creation of cooperatives and associations and a museum;

R.4:   The submitting State has provided detailed and abundant information demonstrating a wide participation and involvement of the communities in the nomination process including diverse local associations, women’s cooperatives and a research foundation; they provided their free, prior and informed consent;

R.5:   The element has been included in the Moroccan national inventory system of cultural heritage managed by the Department for the Inventory and Documentation of Heritage within the Directorate for Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture.

  1. Inscribes Argan, practices and know-how concerning the argan tree on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.