United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Director-General meets members of the subsidiary body of the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

On Friday 15 May 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura held an informal meeting with members of the subsidiary body* of the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) established to examine nominations to the Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Recalling his joy at the adoption of the Convention by the 32nd session of the General Conference in 2003, Mr Matsuura expressed his deep appreciation for the excellent work that the group had carried out in recent months in critically evaluating each of the 111 nominations submitted for consideration. This signified the advent of the third phase of the Convention’s life – the examination of the first candidatures for inscription on the Representative List, which will take place at the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Committee in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from 28 September to 2 October 2009.

While the high number of candidatures received demonstrated the esteem in which States Parties held the Convention, Mr Matsuura said he believed that the Committee had a duty to ensure that the List was truly representative of the intangible heritage of humanity. Drawing on the example of the World Heritage List, under which more than half of the sites are in one geo-political region, the Director-General expressed his hope that the Committee would reflect further on this issue and develop mechanisms to avoid a similar situation arising under the 2003 Convention. Members of the group responded warmly to Mr Matsuura’s comments about the need to ensure credibility and paid tribute to his role in creating the Convention.

* Chaired by Ms Kristin Kuutma, Chairperson of the Estonian National Commission to UNESCO, the subsidiary body is comprised of intangible heritage experts from Estonia, Kenya, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. It was established by the Intergovernmental Committee at its third session in Istanbul, Turkey, in November 2008 in conformity with paragraph 23 the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the 2003 Convention, to assess the conformity of nominations to the List with the inscription criteria, and to make recommendations to the Committee to inscribe, or not to inscribe, the nominated element. The subsidiary body must also further provide the Committee an overview of all nomination files and a report of their examination. Not later than 1 August 2009, the Secretariat will transmit the examination reports by the subsidiary body to the Committee, which will evaluate the nominations and make its decisions at its fourth session in September-October 2009.

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Author(s): Office of the Spokesperson - Source: Flash Info N° 088-2009 -  Publication Date: 18-05-2009

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