The UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, meeting in Rabat from November 28 to December 3, under the chairmanship of Morocco, inscribed 47 additional elements on the Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage, at the initiative of 60 country, announced the UN organization based in Paris.
At the end of the debates, the Member States of the Committee proceeded to the inscription of 47 new elements including: 4 elements on the List of intangible heritage requiring urgent safeguarding measures; 39 elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity; 4 items in the Register of Good Practices for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage, UNESCO said in a statement.
Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, congratulated “the States which made these proposals, the members of the Committee for the quality of the debates, Morocco for its welcome and the 180 States which bring this UNESCO Convention to life”. , recalling that “this living heritage plays an essential role in bringing people together and increasing peace in the minds of men”.
A third of these new inscriptions concern practices related to the protection of the environment: these are often ancestral farming techniques, concerned with the sustainable use of resources, as well as rituals and festive events that celebrate nature.
These elements remind us that ancestral knowledge is also decisive in responding to the new challenges of this century, such as climate change, notes the UN organization.
The Committee also allocated $305,000 from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund to a safeguarding project submitted by Malawi.
Finally, the Committee decided unanimously to remove the Ducasse d’Ath from the element “Giants and processional dragons of Belgium and France”, which was inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity.
The members of the Committee justified this decision by the presence in the procession of the Ducasse d’Ath “of a chained black character called ‘the Savage’, reflecting a racist and discriminatory nature in contradiction with the founding principles of UNESCO and with the requirement of mutual respect provided for in Article 2 of the Convention”.
UNESCO, as the United Nations Organization in charge of Culture, ensures the safeguarding and transmission of intangible cultural heritage, that is to say traditional knowledge, arts and know-how.
In 2003, it created a dedicated instrument: the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, ratified by 180 States. This Convention has already resulted in the inscription of more than 600 elements throughout the world.