- Takes note that Latvia has proposed Safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage through formal and non-formal education: involving community youth for selection and promotion by the Committee as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention, described as follows:
The Action Plan ‘Integration of intangible cultural heritage in formal and non-formal education’ was developed by the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO in cooperation with the Suiti community, the Ministry of Culture and other partners. It consists of a set of activities and initiatives designed to strengthen the role of intangible cultural heritage in the everyday life of the local community and assist the transmission process through a variety of formal and non-formal education measures. These include integration of Suiti cultural studies and specifically the traditional music instrument, kokle, into the school curriculum in the Suiti community, and the involvement of Suiti youth in documenting oral testimonies on intangible cultural heritage. The project has also resulted in the publication and distribution of Suiti Stories, Documentation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage: Manual for Beginners and The Baltic Psaltery and Playing Traditions in Latvia – the first in-depth book/CD on learning to play the kokle. Suiti community members have set up a regular traditional weaving workshop to transmit their techniques and children are involved in traditional Suitiņi ensemble singing. A youth-based NGO is also working on issues relating to safeguarding the community’s intangible cultural heritage.
- Decides that, from the information provided in proposal 00514, Safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage through formal and non-formal education: involving community youth responds as follows to the criteria for selection in Paragraph 7 of the Operational Directives:
P.1 Making use of education as a safeguarding measure, the project employs an innovative strategy of involvement and participation of the younger generation with researchers in studying and documenting their own heritage;
P.2 The programme is implemented with the participation of different actors, ranging from local schools and non-governmental organizations to national organizations; it is primarily a national programme although it involved some cooperation with a neighbouring country, Estonia;
P.3 The programme supports intergenerational transmission by the use of formal and non-formal education as safeguarding tools and by involving the community in activities that go beyond mapping, research and documentation in order to ensure the awareness, respect and enhancement of intangible cultural heritage practices;
P.4 The programme has been implemented only very recently, as of 2009, and at present it is too early to assess its effectiveness;
P.5 The safeguarding needs have been identified by the community and with support from researchers and local and national institutions; an inclusive process with the Suiti community preceded the proposal and the Suiti Ethnic Cultural Centre has provided free, prior and informed consent on its behalf;
P.6 The programme is not yet sufficiently proven to be able to serve as a model; its viability and potential are nevertheless recognized as good examples that may be of interest to other countries as an effective way of safeguarding and promoting intangible cultural heritage;
P.7 The Suiti community and the Government of Latvia have expressed their willingness to cooperate with UNESCO in the dissemination of the model and in promoting their experience, if selected;
P.8 The proposal lacks a discussion of results and outcomes that could be susceptible to evaluation; if the process continues it would be necessary to have indicators of its viability that might include: number of students involved; diffusion events held as part of the process; publications distributed at the regional and national levels; inclusion of new secondary schools in the educational process; or growth of non-formal education activities in the area;
P.9 Although the programme is not exclusively aimed at satisfying the needs of developing countries, it could be considered as a potential model for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, based on providing an educational methodology to transfer knowledge and traditional cultural practices to the community and particularly to its younger members.
- Decides not to select Safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage through formal and non-formal education: involving community youth as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention;
- Invites the State Party to resubmit a proposal when the programme has matured and with an assessment of its impact and a demonstration of its viability and sustainability for safeguarding intangible heritage.