Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 15.COM 8.b.11

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the United Arab Emirates and Oman have nominated Camel racing, a social practice and a festive heritage associated with camels (no. 01576) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Camel racing, a social practice and festive heritage associated with camels, is a popular social practice in the communities concerned. Preparing the racing camels involves several stages. Camels are selected based on type, origin and age and are given a special diet. They practise on the racetrack in groups and are trained to take part in the races. Camel racing is conducted on specially designed fields under the supervision of specialised community committees. Usually, there are between fifteen and twenty racing camels in each round, and the racing distance is determined based on the camel’s age. There are recognized community traditions, customs and principles governing the races and community practices and a preparation committee verifies the camel’s origin. The related knowledge and skills are transmitted thanks to the combined efforts of community representatives, government institutions, specialized centres and the federation of racing and clubs. Children and young people gradually acquire knowledge and skills related to the practice through observation, simulation and oral expressions. Camel racing is a fundamental part of their nomadic lifestyle and a source of inspiration in poetry and singing. Its importance and continuity in Bedouin society is connected to the prominent role camels play in the desert environment.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   The camel race and the related traditional activities of communities, groups and individuals concerned in the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates is a dynamic practice based on the knowledge, skills and practices of individuals and groups in training camels and preparing them for racing in many community events such as weddings and holidays. The bearers include camel owners and breeders, who prepare the camels to participate in races by training and caring for them, according to specific roles and tasks. By practising the element, the members of the community communicate, consolidate social ties and foster a sense of social cohesion and pride. The races create the ideal context for writers, poets and artists to present their works.

R.2:   The inscription of the element would contribute to ensuring the visibility and awareness of intangible cultural heritage and encouraging dialogue. At the local level, the focus is on the heritage represented by the knowledge, ways of life, symbols and practices associated with camels. At the national level, the file states that the inscription would draw attention to other forms of living heritage. Finally, at the international level, the file draws attention to the importance of this element for heritage sports and other activities related to camels. Dialogue would be encouraged thanks to the nature of the races themselves, which gather a large number of people, and by the cooperation and communication following the inscription. These events provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts, and to promote dialogue with regard to camel heritage and related knowledge.

R.3:   The measures for safeguarding camel racing in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman have been developed through the broad participation of communities, groups, individuals, governmental institutions and other interested parties through workshops and meetings held during the preparation of this file. Both States Parties have made a satisfactory effort to provide relevant and appropriate support for the implementation of the proposed safeguarding measures. Thanks to its popularity in the two submitting States, the viability of the element does not appear to be threatened.

R.5:   In the United Arab Emirates, the element was included in the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage Emirate of Abu Dhabi in October 2018. The institution responsible for the Register is the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. This Register is updated at least every four years. In Oman, the element was included in the Oman National Inventory, Traditions and Norms in January 2018. The institution responsible for the Inventory is the Inventory and Documentation Section, Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture. In both countries, periodic field research is organized in various regions to document and inventory elements of intangible cultural heritage. Field inventory data are periodically included in the register, as provided by the communities, groups and individuals concerned.

  1. Further considers that, on the basis of the information included in the file and the information provided by the submitting States through the dialogue process, the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is satisfied:

R.4:   In terms of community participation and consent, the communities, groups and individuals concerned with the camel races played an active role in the preparation of this file in both submitting States. Numerous meetings and discussions were held with camel owners, trainers, organizers, interested parties, researchers, representatives of camel care centers and other bodies and institutions concerned.

  1. Decides to inscribe Camel racing, a social practice and a festive heritage associated with camels on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;

  2. Recalls the importance of using vocabulary that is appropriate to the spirit of the Convention and of avoiding expressions such as ‘authentic heritage’;

  3. Reminds the States Parties that updating is an important part of the inventorying process and invites them to include detailed information in their next periodic reports on the implementation of the Convention at the national level concerning the periodicity of updating of the Oman National Inventory, Traditions and Norms, in accordance with Article 12.1 of the Convention.

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