17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage: the importance of the intangible

​​​​​Aadopted by the General Conference of Unesco on October 17, 2003 and entered into force in 2006, the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is a treaty of the said organization whose objectives are the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage and the respect of the intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups and individuals concerned.

These objectives also relate to raising awareness at local, national and international levels of the importance of intangible cultural heritage and its mutual appreciation, in addition to international cooperation and assistance in this field.

The Unesco Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (which examines applications for inscription on the Unesco Lists, as well as proposals for programs or projects) has the function of giving advice on the best practices and make recommendations on safeguarding measures for intangible cultural heritage. It is also responsible for the implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, mainly through the development of a series of operational guidelines and a plan for the use of the resources of the Fund for the Safeguarding of Heritage intangible cultural heritage as defined in Article 25 of the Convention.

“The 2003 Convention succeeded in less than two decades in giving another dimension and reinventing the notion of heritage (…) When we talk about heritage now, we no longer think only of monuments or natural sites but also to this other fundamental heritage: that of traditions, festivals, gestures which are transmitted from generation to generation and which crystallize in social practices (…) This living conception of heritage has become almost universal with 180 States being part of the convention , which has led many countries to adopt new legislation in this area, in particular public policies that were difficult to imagine before,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of Unesco, who was speaking at the opening of the 17th session. of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The agenda

The choice of Morocco to host the 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage attests to the confidence placed by the international community in the Moroccan model in this area, which has proven itself thanks to the far-sighted vision of King Mohammed VI, said Ambassador Permanent Delegate of the Kingdom of Morocco to Unesco and Chairman of the Committee, Samir Addahre, in a statement to the media during a press conference by the organizers.

With regard to the candidatures for the representative list, which this year numbered 46, the Chairman of the Committee said that during this session, several countries had presented joint candidatures relating to a cultural expression, a practice or know-how that they share.

“The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is unique in that it does not contain an exclusivity clause, which means that if any country inscribes an element of its heritage on the list, nothing does not prevent another country, sharing the same element, from doing the same”, he explained, noting that “the philosophy of this convention is to bring countries and peoples together, not to divide them”.

Regarding the agenda of this 17th session, Addahre explained that the Committee will examine reports from States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on all that has been achieved during the year, in addition reports on good practices for the preservation of intangible heritage, the best of which will be entered in a dedicated register.

This provides for the examination of 24 reports on an element inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and 42 reports from States Parties in Europe on the implementation of the 2003 Convention and on the current state of items on the representative list. The Committee will also consider 4 nominations for the Urgent Safeguarding List, 46 nominations for the Representative List, 5 proposals for the Register of Good Practices and one request for international assistance.

Spotlight on the “halqa”

Organized by the Association of Education and Culture Meetings, as part of the 17th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, an artistic performance highlighted the place of ” halqa”, in particular, in Moroccan popular memory, and Moroccan intangible cultural heritage in general. A boon to highlight Moroccan cultural and popular heritage.

During this artistic meeting, which saw the presence of the great Moroccan storyteller Yassine Regragui (103 years old) and several Moroccan storytelling artists, the performers interpreted the folkloric character “Baba Achour”, in order to restore the role of the storyteller in the art of traditional Moroccan storytelling.

This artistic performance was also marked by the presence of the two storytelling artists “Ajuba” and “Princess Stella [surnommée l’ambassadrice des contes du Maroc -ndlr]», who gratified the public present with their artistic and folkloric creativity.

In a statement to the press, the president of the Association of Education and Culture Meetings, Najma Ghozali Tay-Tay, said that “this celebration is an opportunity to highlight the art of ‘halqa ‘ in Morocco, given that the Kingdom is one of the few countries that still preserves the art of storytelling as an inherited intangible cultural heritage”.

“The art of traditional ‘halqa’ storytelling is an important cultural heritage in Moroccan folklore,” she added, highlighting the role of Jemaa El Fna Square, which was listed by UNESCO in 2001. to the oral and intangible heritage of humanity, in the preservation of Moroccan popular cultural heritage transmitted from generation to generation.

Likewise, she also pointed out that the challenge is to know how to transmit this Moroccan folklore to the younger generations, using modern digital technology.

The 24 current member countries of the committee

Germany, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland , Czechia and Viet Nam.

Couple RK H

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.