Opening of the 9th Session of Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee

The ninth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, chaired by José Manuel Rodríguez Cuadros (Peru), opened in Paris today in the presence of 950 participants. The Committee will remain in session until 28 November at UNESCO’s Headquarters (Room I).

The 24-member Committee is in charge of implementing the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which to date numbers 161 States Parties.

Intangible cultural heritage consists of living cultural traditions, including oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

“The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is ambitious, generous and, in many respects, ground breaking. It recognizes communities as the main players in identifying and safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and calls on all States Parties to practice true cultural democracy, which is very promising for the future of all societies; for their cohesion and sustainability,” declared Alfredo Pérez de Armiñán, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Culture.

Chairperson Rodríguez Cuadros for his part welcomed “the great number of participants, unprecedented since the adoption of the Convention, which shows the importance given to our Convention, both nationally and internationally.”

The Committee will start examining requests for inscription on the two lists of intangible cultural heritage: the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The List in Need of Urgent Safeguarding is composed of intangible heritage elements whose viability is at risk and whose safeguarding is regarded as a matter of urgency. It numbers 35 elements to date and enables States Parties to the Convention to mobilize international cooperation and assistance to ensure the transmission of these cultural practices with the participation of the communities concerned.

This year’s nominations for inscription on the List in Need of Urgent Safeguarding are:

  • Cambodia - Kun Lbokkator
  • Ethiopia - Wirshato festival
  • Kenya- Isukuti dance of Isukha and Idakho communities of Western Kenya
  • Uganda - Male-child cleansing ceremony of the Lango of central northern Uganda
  • Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) - Mapoyo oral tradition and its symbolic reference points within their ancestral territory  

The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity has 281 elements to date. It aims to enhance the visibility of communities’ traditions and knowledge without recognizing standards of excellence or exclusivity.

The following nominations to the Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity are to be examined:

  • Algeria - Ritual and ceremonies of Sebeïba in the oasis of Djanet, Algeria
  • Armenia - Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional Armenian bread as an expression of culture
  • Azerbaijan - Traditional art and symbolism of Kelaghayi, making and wearing women’s silk headscarves
  • Bangladesh - Traditional art of Nakshi Kantha embroidery          
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of) - Pujillay and Ayarichi, music and dances of the Yampara culture
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - Zmijanje embroidery
  • Brazil - Capoeira circle
  • Bulgaria - Chiprovski kilimi (Chiprovtsi carpets)
  • Burundi - Ritual dance of the royal drum
  • Chile - Baile Chino
  • China- Torch festival of the Yi people
  • Croatia; The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Serbia; Romania; Republic of Moldova; Turkey - Spring celebration: Hıdrellez or Saint George’s day
  • Democratic People’s Republic of Korea - Arirang folk song in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  • Estonia- Smoke sauna tradition in Võromaa
  • France- Gwoka: music, song, dance and cultural practice representative of Guadeloupean identity
  • Greece - Know-how of cultivating mastic on the island of Chios
  • India - Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab, India
  • Iran (Islamic Republic of) - Bārān Khāhi, rain-seeking rituals of Kaburān village, Tafresh
  • Italy - Traditional agricultural practice of cultivating the ‘vite ad alberello’ (head-trained bush vines) of the community of Pantelleria  
  • Japan   - Washi, craftsmanship of traditional Japanese hand-made paper
  • Kazakhstan - Kazakh traditional art of Dombra Kuy
  • Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan - Traditional knowledge and skills in making Kyrgyz and Kazakh yurts (Turkic nomadic dwellings)
  • Lebanon - Al-Zajal, recited or sung poetry
  • Malawi - Tchopa, sacrificial dance of the Lhomwe people of southern Malawi
  • Mali - Coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala
  • Mauritius - Traditional Mauritian Sega
  • Mongolia - Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting
  • Morocco - Practices and know-how concerning the argan tree
  • Niger - Practices and expressions of joking relationships in Niger
  • Oman; United Arab Emirates - Al-Ayyala, a traditional performing art of the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates
  • Peru - Festivity of Virgen de la Candelaria of Puno
  • Portugal - Cante Alentejano, polyphonic singing from Alentejo, southern Portugal
  • Republic of Korea - Nongak, community band music, dance and rituals in the Republic of Korea
  • Romania - Processions to the monastery of Moisei for the Dormition of the Virgin Mary
  • Saudi Arabia- Alardhah Alnajdiyah, Saudi Arabia dance, drumming and poetry
  • Serbia- Slava, celebration of family saint patron’s day
  • Spain - Tamboradas drum-playing rituals
  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - Kopachkata, a social dance from the village of Dramche, Pijanec
  • Turkey - Ebru, Turkish art of marbling
  • Uzbekistan -  Askiya, the art of wit
  • Viet Nam - Ví and Giặm folk songs of Nghệ Tĩnh

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Journalists wishing to cover the Committee session (UNESCO, Room I, 125, avenue de Suffren, Paris) are requested to contact UNESCO’s Press Service for accreditation.