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The Intangible Heritage Convention at ten years old - New items to be added to Lists

The 8th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 2 to 7 December. It will be chaired by Abulfas Garayev, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Culture and Tourism.

This session of the Committee coincides with the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO’s General Conference in 2003. It has since been ratified by 156 countries. In Baku, the 24 members of the Committee responsible for its implementation will take stock of the Convention’s achievements in promoting the safeguard of this particularly fragile, living heritage.

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.

“This young Convention has won the world over, and generated huge public interest,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “It has changed our way of thinking about intangible 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.”

In Baku, the Committee will consider 11 new candidates for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. This list, which already includes 31items, helps States Parties to the Convention to mobilize attention and international cooperation for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage at risk, with the participation of the concerned communities. The 11 new items to be examined include:

  • 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)
  • Pilgrimage to Wirikuta (Mexico)
  • 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

The Committee will also examine 30 candidates for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This List is an instrument for the promotion of intangible heritage. It serves 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 candidates proposed for inscription at the Baku meeting 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

The Committee will also examine the Periodic Reports by ten States Parties on the policies, legislation and institutions established by them to implement the Convention at national level. The ten countries are: Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Hungary, Madagascar, Oman, Senegal and Turkey.


The Committee meeting will be held at the JW Marriott Absheron Hotel, 674, Azadliq Square, Baku, Azerbaijan

It can be followed by webcast at: EN


A press conference will be held on 2 December at the Hotel Marriott, following the opening session (1pm, local time)

Media wishing to cover the meetings require accreditation.


Lucia Iglesias Kuntz, l.iglesias(at)

Tel: +33 (0)6 8024 0729

Nushaba Mehdizada, nushaba.m(at)

Tel (cell): +994 55 202 27 57

Tel (office): +994 12 493 02 33

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