Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 9.C.2

The Committee,

  1. Recalling Chapter V of the Convention and Chapter I of the Operational Directives, concerning the approval of international assistance requests,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/14/9.COM 9.c as well as the international assistance request 00978,
  3. Takes note that Sudan has requested international assistance in the amount of US$174,480 for ‘Documentation and inventory of intangible cultural heritage in the Republic of the Sudan’:

The project aims to conduct a pilot inventory of the intangible cultural heritage of Kordofan and Blue Nile states through documentation and inventorying, and thereby to contribute to a larger inventory in Sudan. At present, no such inventory exists, although there are numerous studies, collections and bibliographies, as well as thousands of photos and audio-visual recordings. This project proposes to develop a national strategy and operational structure for documentation and inventorying and would include preliminary training workshops focused on concepts and methods, fieldwork and data collection. The project would review the existing research, establish a database and website, purchase equipment for use by five specially trained inventory teams, conduct fieldwork to document expressions, classify the data collected and elaborate lists of each region’s heritage. The project intends to build capacity of all stakeholders involved in the project and raise the awareness of local communities of the importance of their intangible cultural heritage and enable them to participate in its documentation and inventorying. The results of the inventory would be disseminated through publications and the internet.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in file 00978, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance given in Paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:
    1. The project intends to strengthen the capacities (criterion A.6) of all stakeholders (governmental institutions, coordination teams and communities) and includes several training activities to build awareness of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage, as well as the skills and methodology necessary to enable them to participate in the documentation and establishment of an inventory. Nevertheless, the request does not provide sufficient information about the content of the training activities or the qualifications of the trainers to enable the assessment of their effectiveness.
    2. Representatives of communities in the states of Kordofan and Blue Nile participated to some degree in the elaboration of the request and consented to it; they are expected to play a role in the planning as well as the implementation of the project (criterion A.1). However, their actual involvement in the documentation and inventorying is insufficiently clear and seems to be top-down, with local authorities identifying and designating community representatives to be involved in the inventorying process. Moreover, their involvement seems to be more declarative than actual.
    3. Project activities include the creation of a steering committee, development of a national inventory strategy, capacity-building training and fieldwork. A lack of detailed description of tasks and an inaccurate and unrealistic timetable of 15 months make it difficult to assess their feasibility (criterion A.3), what outputs they would generate or how they would contribute to safeguarding. The fact that the request bears a striking similarity to others submitted by other States is not in the spirit of Article 12 of the Convention, which provides that States Parties shall draw up inventories in a manner geared to their own situations; it also raises doubts about the extent of community participation in the preparation of the request (criterion A.1).
    4. As a pilot project aiming to reinforce human and material capacities for documentation and inventorying of intangible cultural heritage, this project could potentially have lasting results (criterion A.4) and serve as the foundation for future work to establish a national inventory and a cultural map of Sudan. Nevertheless, the request does not sufficiently describe how the outcomes of the project will last beyond its completion date. Similarly, although the request depends on the cooperation of several local partners, it does not address the possibility of future funding or technical assistance (consideration 10.b). The project is national in scope and would involve national implementing partners (consideration 10.a).
    5. In the absence of detailed descriptions of planned tasks, the amount requested cannot be assessed as appropriate (criterion A.2). The budget also has some inconsistencies in which certain costs do not match the duration of proposed activities in the timetable. Moreover, the fieldwork seems to constitute a small part of the budget compared to services of experts and purchase of equipment to be used for purposes other than fieldwork. It appears that members of communities who will conduct inventorying will not be financially remunerated, while experts will be.
    6. The State Party share the costs of the proposed activities and has committed to contribute US$21,450, which represents about 11% of the total project budget (criterion A.5). With regard to previously financed activities (criterion A.7), international assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for an amount of US$12,167 was granted to Sudan in 2009 to elaborate a digitization strategy for Sudan’s folklore and traditional music archives; the work stipulated by the contract related to this project was successfully carried out and, following UNESCO’s regulations, the contract was duly completed.
    1. Decides to approve, on an exceptional basis due to the special circumstances in the submitting State, the international assistance request from Sudan for ‘Documentation and inventory of intangible cultural heritage in the Republic of the Sudan’;
    2. Requests the submitting State to work with the Secretariat in order to present to the Bureau within a maximum timeframe of six months a request revised in line with the recommendations of the Consultative Body;
    3. Acknowledges the commitment of the State Party to establish an inventory of the intangible cultural heritage within Kordofan and Blue Nile states that will contribute to a future national inventory of Sudan;
    4. Welcomes the willingness of the State Party to mobilize several national partners including nongovernmental organizations, university and councils, in raising awareness of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage and in building human and institutional capacity necessary for the documentation and inventory process;
    5. Encourages the State Party to ensure the active participation of concerned communities in the preparation of the request and implementation of activities, particularly the documentation and inventorying process;
    6. Further encourages the State Party to ensure that capacity-building activities make use of qualified trainers who are fully familiar with the concepts and principles of the Convention;
    7. Reminds the State Party that requests for international assistance, even if they are inspired by previously funded projects, need to be aligned to the specific context of the country in order to be able to address its specific needs and recalls the Consultative Body’s previous observation that ‘each file should have its own identity and cannot be the mere adaptation by analogy of previously successful files’ (Document ITH/13/8.COM 7).