Algeria to host first meeting of Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural HeritageThe 24 members* of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, will hold their first meeting in Algiers on 18 and 19 November.
In charge of implementing UNESCO’s International Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003), the Committee’s first task will be to prepare operational directives for the Convention, with particular attention to assistance mechanisms and criteria for inscription.
“I am confident that if we maintain our intensive pace of work, we will certainly be ready to proceed in the Autumn of 2008 with the first inscriptions on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage,” declared Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO.
The 2003 Convention aims to safeguard a wide range of living heritage in forms such as oral traditions and expressions; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices relating to nature and the universe; and know-how linked to traditional crafts. It stipulates that support be extended to States Parties to draw inventories and establish mechanisms for international cooperation and assistance. Two Lists are established under the Convention: the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.
Once the Committee finishes finalizing the directives, possibly over several meetings, the General Assembly of States Parties will be invited to adopt them. The first inscriptions on the Lists should be carried out in the autumn of 2008.
The masterpieces of the oral and intangible cultural heritage of humanity proclaimed by UNESCO in 2001, 2003 and 2005 may be inscribed on the Representative List, provided they are located in a State that has ratified the Convention, according to a procedure that is yet to be determined. Among these masterpieces are manifestations such as the Oruro Carnival (Bolivia), the Ningyo Johruri Bunraku puppet theatre (Japan) and the Ahellil of Gourara, a poetic and musical genre emblematic of southwest Algeria.
In March 2004, Algeria became the first State to deposit its instrument of ratification of the Convention. As of 13 November 2006, 68** States ratified the Convention.
*Algeria, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, China, Estonia, France, Gabon, Hungary, India, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Romania, Senegal, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam.