Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 15.COM 8.d.1

The Committee,

  1. Recalling Article 23 of the Convention as well as Chapter I.4 of the Operational Directives relating to the eligibility and criteria of International Assistance requests,
  2. Having examined document LHE/20/15.COM/8.d as well as International Assistance request no. 01615 submitted by the Central African Republic,

  3. Takes note that the Central African Republic has requested International Assistance for the project entitled Capacity building for the safeguarding and management of intangible cultural heritage in the Central African Republic:

This thirty-six-month project is aimed at building capacities for the safeguarding and management of intangible cultural heritage in the Central African Republic. Due to a lack of qualified human, financial and infrastructural resources, there is a marked need to collect, process, protect and enhance the rich intangible cultural heritage present in the country. To address this situation, this project is intended firstly to strengthen the capacities of twenty officials of the Ministry of Arts and Culture at the School of African Heritage (EPA) in Benin, to ensure they are equipped to identify and safeguard intangible cultural heritage in partnership with local communities. Secondly, a degree programme in living heritage is to be developed at the National School of Arts, which will be evaluated by the University of Bangui. This will enable the country to acquire experts in the safeguarding of living heritage and to have officials concerned with intangible cultural heritage at the national and regional levels. Thereafter, a scientific meeting will be held to monitor the process and content of the programme. The approach envisaged is expected not only to ensure the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage of all communities in the country but also to help inventory and safeguard the living heritage of minorities.

  1. Further takes note that this assistance is to support a project implemented at the national level, in accordance with Article 20 (c) of the Convention, and that it takes the form of the provision of a grant, pursuant to Article 21 (g) of the Convention;
  2. Also takes note that the Central African Republic has requested assistance in the amount of US$420,730 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund for the implementation of this project;

  3. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the request responds as follows to the criteria for granting International Assistance given in paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Operational Directives:

Criterion A.1: The request emphasizes the importance of the communities in safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage. However, the request does not give sufficient information on how the communities concerned participated in the preparation of the request and will be involved in the implementation of the proposed activities, and in their evaluation and follow-up. The whole programme seems to have been drafted from the point of view of representatives of state institutions, and the rationale behind it is based on the need to strengthen the capacities of these representatives or the capacities of these institutions in the area of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. There is no description of how the communities will benefit from the results of the project.

Criterion A.2: As the amount of financial assistance requested is rather high, more detailed information would have been expected in the text, including concrete examples and details of the content of the capacity-building measures targeted at the three groups of beneficiaries. The capacity-building programme is quite ambitious. However, due to the lack of information related to several areas of the programme (for example, the length of the management training, details about the extensive management and administration team, the estimated rental cost for the rooms/venues, and the publication costs), it is not possible to evaluate the appropriateness of the request. Furthermore, the budget structure is not fully aligned with the information provided in the file.

Criterion A.3: The programme consists of three main groups of activities (further divided into seventeen activities), targeted at three different groups of participants: officials from the Ministry of Culture; future students of the National School of Arts; and community members from the four regions concerned. However, none of these groups is adequately defined. The State Party has provided a detailed description of the objectives of the project, as well as of the major components and specific activities of the national and local capacity-building programme for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. However, there is a lack of information concerning two activities: the training of officials from the Ministry of Culture and the creation of a professional degree programme for students. The State Party has provided insufficient information on the content of the training programme. Furthermore, the amount of time allocated to this training seems excessive. Additionally, the State Party has not provided enough information on the resources to be used to finance the students taking part in the first round of this degree programme. The request also lacks sufficient details on the content of the training for community members. As the programme is quite ambitious, a step-by-step procedure may be considered more suitable for targeting the different groups of stakeholders concerned through a multi-phased approach based on smaller-scale projects.

Criterion A.4: The request specifies the number of people that will be trained through the capacity-building programme in all three groups of beneficiaries. The increase in human resources specialized in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage is certainly important and will be an asset for the Central African Republic. However, the file does not demonstrate the sustainability of the project. The text explains neither how it will ensure the continuity of these training processes and other activities once the period of UNESCO funding has ended, nor how new intangible cultural heritage professionals will be integrated into institutions or the labour market. No specific responsibilities or tasks have been appointed, and no concrete follow-up measures are mentioned.

Criterion A.5: The State Party plans to contribute six per cent of the total amount of the project for which International Assistance is requested from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.

Criterion A.6: The main objective behind this request for assistance is to build capacities to safeguard intangible cultural heritage in the country. At the end of the three-year project, the State should benefit from twenty trained employees, fifty graduate students and forty bearers (ten per locality) with knowledge of the Convention and the safeguarding of living heritage. The project focuses on professional training in the management of intangible cultural heritage for administrative officials. Unfortunately, the training programme for local communities is a weak point of the proposed programme and is not sufficiently explained. Moreover, there is some doubt as to the effectiveness of certain training courses, since the request does not provide enough information on their content.

Criterion A.7: The State Party has not previously received any financial assistance from UNESCO under the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund of the 2003 Convention to implement similar or related activities in the field of intangible cultural heritage.

Paragraph 10(a): The programme is local, national and international in scope, as demonstrated by the fact that some of the capacity building for administrative executives is planned to take place in Benin. The participation of experts from the Regional Institute for Higher Education and Research in Cultural Development (IRES-RDC, Togo) and the International Centre for Research and Documentation on African Traditions and Languages (CERDOTOLA, Cameroon) is also foreseen. The terms of this cooperation are not always properly formulated, such as the relocation of the training of twenty administrative executives to Benin due to a lack of adequate space within the State Party. Furthermore, though the State Party intends to establish a higher education programme at the sub-regional level, the request suggests that this will take place in the future, without providing sufficient details as to how and when.

Paragraph 10(b): The request states that, thanks to the knowledge and field experience acquired through the degree programme, graduates will develop the capacity to think outside the box and come up with novel ideas through research that will attract more local sponsors and thereby widen the opportunities for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. However, no concrete information is provided on the potential multiplier effects of this assistance to stimulate contributions from other sources, such as from the private sector and other organizations.

  1. Decides to refer to the requesting State Party the International Assistance request for the project entitled Capacity building for the safeguarding and management of intangible cultural heritage in the Central African Republic and invites it to submit a revised request to the Committee for examination during a following cycle.