Addis Ababa--The 12th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage will take place from 4 December to 8 December 2017 in Seoul (Republic of Korea) and will be chaired by Ambassador Lee Byong-hyun, Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Korea to UNESCO.
This decision was taken today in Addis Ababa during the eleventh session of the Committee, which brings together the representatives of 24 States Parties to UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and which aims to decide on measures to safeguard oral traditions and expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe and the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts, which constitute intangible heritage.
During the meeting, the Committee selected five programmes, which will be included on the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices. Through this Register, which includes 17 programmes now, the Committee seeks to promote programmes, projects and activities that optimally reflect the Convention’s principles and objectives. The projects selected this year are:
Austria — Regional Centres for Craftsmanship: a strategy for safeguarding the cultural heritage of traditional handicraft
Bulgaria — Festival of folklore in Koprivshtitsa: a system of practices for heritage presentation and transmission
Croatia — Community project of safeguarding the living culture of Rovinj/Rovigno: the Batana Ecomuseum
Hungary — Safeguarding of the folk music heritage by the Kodály concept
Norway — Oselvar boat - reframing a traditional learning process of building and use to a modern context
This year, the Committee also inscribed four elements on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding (out of a total of 5 nominations) as well as 33 elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (out of a total of 37 nominations.).
Now numbering 47 elements, the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of Urgent Safeguarding helps States Parties mobilize international cooperation and assistance to ensure the transmission of these cultural practices with the participation of the communities concerned.
The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, now numbering 366 elements, shows the diversity of this heritage and raises awareness of its importance.
The Committee also approved the granting of financial assistance totaling US$230,000 to Cambodia for the urgent safeguarding of Chapei Dang Veng, a musical tradition which features a lute (a chapei) accompanied by the performer singing. There are only two surviving great masters of the chapei but they do not practice it actively because of their age. The safeguarding plan submitted by Cambodia, in consultation with artistic and educational organizations, includes a list of places and times when this music is practiced, the training of chapei teachers, fellowship programmes for young masters, as well as a festival.
The Committee also raised the issue of Intangible Cultural Heritage in emergencies, including both conflict and natural disasters. While recognizing the potential role of this heritage for reconciliation, the Committee called on States Parties to the Convention "to ensure that communities, groups and individuals, with specific attention to displaced persons [...], have access to instruments, objects, artefacts, cultural and natural spaces and places of memory, whose existence is necessary for the expression of intangible cultural heritage ".