Building peace in the minds of men and women

8th session of the Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage open in Baku

The eighth yearly meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, chaired by Abulfas Garayev, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, opened in Baku today in the presence of some 800 delegates from approximately 100 countries.

From 2 to 7 December, the 24 members of the Committee in charge of implementing UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage will take stock of achievements in promoting intangible cultural heritage ten years after the adoption of the Convention, which has been ratified by 157 States Parties.


            “Since its adoption ten years ago, the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention has been playing a crucial role in the implementation of an international strategy to promote cultural diversity and safeguard intangible cultural heritage throughout the world,” said the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, in a message read to the participants by Deputy Prime Minister Elchine Afandiyev.


            “This young Convention has won the world over, and generated huge public interest,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in a video message. “It has changed our way of thinking about cultural heritage, highlighting the importance of living heritage and recognizing communities as its legitimate keepers,” she added. “But challenges remain: detailed inventories must be established; efficient safeguarding measures need to be implemented; cooperation between State Parties should be reinforced; and, especially, communities must be even more implicated in the safeguarding of this heritage that belongs to them.”

            Intangible Cultural Heritage includes oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festivals, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

            Starting on the afternoon of 3 December*, the Committee is scheduled to consider the inscription of ten new nominations for the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, which helps States Parties mobilize international cooperation and assistance to ensure the transmission of this heritage with the participation of the concerned communities. Thirty-one elements have been inscribed on that List to date and the elements to be examined are:

            Chovqan, a traditional Karabakh horse-riding game (Azerbaijan)

·         Seperu folk dance, associated traditions and practices of the Basubiya community in Botswana’s Chobe District

·         Traditional folk music of Bakgatla ba Kgafela (Botswana)

·         Gbofe of Afounkaha, the music of the transverse trumps of the Tagbana community (Cote d’Ivoire)

·         Paach ceremony(Guatemala)

·         Tenun Ikat Sumba weaving of Indonesia

·         Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng'esherr: three male rites of passage of the Maasai community (Kenya)

·         Mongolian calligraphy

·         Glasoechko, male two-part singing in Dolni Polog (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

·         Empaako tradition of the Batooro, Banyoro, Batuku, Batagwenda and Banyabindi of western Uganda


            Starting on the afternoon of 4 December*, the Committee will also examine 30 elements for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which aims to raise awareness of this heritage, providing recognition of traditions and knowledge transmitted by communities and reflecting the range of cultural diversity. It does not attribute or recognize any standard of excellence or exclusivity. The List today includes 257 items.


The 30 nominations for inscription on the Representative List are:

·         Annual pilgrimage to the mausoleum of Sidi ‘Abd el-Qader Ben Mohammed (Sidi Cheikh) (Algeria)

·         Practices and knowledge linked to the Imzad of the Tuareg communities of Algeria, Mali and Niger

·         Classical horsemanship and the High School of the Spanish Riding School Vienna (Austria)

·         Traditional art of Jamdani weaving  (Bangladesh)

·         Shrimp fishing on horseback in Oostduinkerke (Belgium)

·         Alasita festivity, the Iqiqu (Ekeko) and Illa ritual (Bolivia)

·         Círio de Nazaré (The Taper of Our Lady of Nazareth) in the city of Belém, Pará (Brazil)

·         Chinese Zhusuan, knowledge and practices of mathematical calculation through the abacus (China)

·         Moreška, a sword dance-drama of Korčula (Croatia)

·         Mediterranean diet (Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Portugal)

·         Commemoration feast of the finding of the True Holy Cross of Christ (Ethiopia)

·         Limousin septennial ostensions (France)

·         Ancient Georgian traditional Qvevri wine-making method (Georgia)

·         Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur (India)

·         Iranian traditional medicine

·         Celebrations of big shoulder-borne processional structures (Italy)

·         Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, notably for the celebration of New Year

·         Kyrgyz epic trilogy: Manas, Semetey, Seytek (Kyrgyzstan)

·         Traditional craftsmanship of the Mongol Ger and its associated customs  (Mongolia)

·         Eyo masquerade festival (Nigeria)

·         Knowledge, skills and rituals related to the annual renewal of the Q’eswachaka bridge (Peru)

·         Kimjang, making and sharing kimchi  (Republic of Korea)

·         Men’s group Colindat, Christmas-time ritual (Romania, Republic of Moldova)

·         Xooy, a divination ceremony among the Serer of Senegal

·         Music of Terchová (Slovakia)

·         Feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs in Štip (The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

·         Turkish coffee culture and tradition

·         Petrykivka decorative painting as a phenomenon of the Ukrainian ornamental folk art

·         La Parranda de San Pedro de Guarenas y Guatire (Venezuela)

·         Art of Đờn ca tài tử music and song in southern Viet Nam




*Baku, local time. The work schedule may be subject to change


Venue of the Committee meeting : JW Marriott Absheron Hotel, 674, Azadliq Square, Baku, Azerbaijan




Media wishing to cover the meetings require accreditation.


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