The national body charged with the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage is the Direction du Patrimoine Culturel (DPC, Cultural Heritage Directorate) within the Ministry of Culture and Heritage (MOCH), which is responsible for the identification, inventorying, safeguarding and enhancement of intangible cultural heritage. It is aimed at re-establishing national pride, raising awareness among the communities and effective participation in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, educating the public in general and young people in particular, and making them aware of the values of intangible cultural heritage. The Regional Directorates for Culture and Heritage are responsible for gathering data for inventorying intangible cultural heritage in cooperation with local communities. In the field, DPC staff work with local investigators and the local authorities in order to raise their awareness of intangible cultural heritage and its safeguarding and to oversee the inventory-making process. Four non-governmental organizations have been accredited to the Intergovernmental Committee (details in the Report) through a process driven by the DPC.
There is no body that specializes in training in heritage management, although the Institut de civilisation and Antananarivo University provide some teaching that is of relevance. In addition, the DPC has conducted the following training courses: a capacity-building workshop for regional Ministry staff to establish an intangible cultural heritage inventory with the UNESCO Office in Dar es-Salaam (2007); an awareness-raising workshop for associations working in intangible cultural heritage in order to identify non-governmental organizations for accreditation to the Intergovernmental Committee (2008); a workshop on the links between tangible and intangible heritage in order to sensitize heritage officials on the importance of each (2011); an awareness-raising workshop on the implementation of the 2003 Convention within UNESCO’s Participation Programme (2010-2011).
Documentation is held by the DPC and its technical services as well as the following institutions: the Académie Malagasy Tsimbazaza; the National Library; the Municipal Library at Analakely; and the National Archives.
Inventorying is carried out within two contexts: (1) a National Inventory that will serve as a registry of intangible cultural heritage; and (2) a National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, whose elements will be selected from the items already entered in the National Inventory. The National Inventory is under development and is ordered according to the five domains of the Convention; the criteria applied are the importance, viability and specificity of the elements. A draft Law has been developed that makes Regional Directorates responsible for gathering data for inventorying intangible cultural heritage in cooperation with local communities. They should communicate these data to the DPC and develop their own inventory. From 2000 to 2008, research into and the data collection of intangible cultural heritage elements was carried out in six regions of the country. Thus far, 200 elements of intangible cultural heritage have been described. Data collected during the inventorying process is currently being entered on the MOCH website (www.macp.gov.mg) and the public and researchers can have access to this. As for community involvement in identifying and defining intangible cultural heritage, DPC staff have organized meetings with local investigators and the local authorities to provide them with guidelines concerning the measures for approaching and interviewing the community, in order to facilitate data collection, while making them understand the importance of their heritage for the development of the region. Communities may draw the attention of the Regional Directorates to intangible cultural heritage not yet collected, and they have done so.
The activities of the DPC to promote intangible cultural heritage are primarily aimed at raising awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage and its safeguarding among administrative authorities, Ministry officials, DPC staff, those in charge of Regional Directorates, associations working in the area of intangible cultural heritage, school and university students and members of communities. Intangible Cultural Heritage Days have also been organized as a vehicle for awareness-raising through debates, exhibitions, etc. A bilingual book of the culture and woodworking knowledge of the Zafimaniry has been published in French and the local language under the title of ‘Zafimaniry – A Culture Preserved’.
Madagascar has one element on the Representative List: Woodcrafting knowledge of the Zafimaniry (incorporated in 2008 after having been proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003). Financial support from the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust supported a project entitled ‘Action plan for the safeguarding of the woodcrafting knowledge of the Zafimaniry’ (2004-2008). The main objectives of the project were to develop a series of activities for the safeguarding and promotion of Zafimaniry woodcrafting knowledge and to ensure its transmission to younger generations. There was significant community participation in the efforts made under the Action Plan and this level of participation, which is essential to guarantee the sustainability of the project at the local level, was possible thanks to the work of a Coordination Committee set up to oversee the project’s implementation. Moreover, an association of Zafimaniry artisans was created: the Fikambananan’ny Zafimaniry Mpiangaly Hazo Association (FIZAMPITAHA). The objectives of this association were the safeguarding, promotion and transmission of woodcrafting knowledge. The present report was prepared on the basis of information collected during a field visit, the reports of the Action Plan and reports of the Regional Directors of the locality.