Annual meeting of intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Bogota

The annual meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage will be held from 9 to 14 December in Bogota (Colombia), chaired by María Claudia López Sorzano, Secretary for Culture, Leisure and Sport of the City of Bogota. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay will be present at the opening.

The Committee, composed of representatives of 24 States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003), meets once a year. It monitors the implementation of this international legal instrument, which has been ratified by 178 States.

The Committee meeting will also be an opportunity to celebrate the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, proclaimed by the United Nations. Thus, on the sidelines of debates, a UNESCO-curated sound exhibition will showcase the link between intangible cultural heritage and indigenous languages. A debate will also be held on the safeguarding of cultural heritage and indigenous languages through education.

During six days, the members of the Committee will review recent developments in the implementation of the Convention. In that context, the Committee will examine guidelines on how best to safeguard living heritage in emergency situations. The Committee will also pursue its reflection on ways to improve the participation of non-governmental organizations in the implementation of the Convention. As part of the follow-up of elements inscribed on the intangible cultural heritage lists, the Committee will raise the case of the Carnival of Alost (Belgium), inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010.

The Committee will also have to decide on six requests for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and 41 requests for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

In addition, three projects are proposed for inclusion in the Register of Good Practices for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which currently includes twenty projects. The Committee will also examine a request for international assistance by Burkina Faso with a view to implementing a national training and communication programme for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage.

The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding identifies elements of living heritage whose sustainability is threatened. It has 59 elements inscribed to date and allows States Parties to the Convention to mobilize the international cooperation and assistance necessary to strengthen the transmission of these cultural practices in agreement with the communities concerned.

The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity currently contains 429 inscribed elements. It aims to ensure greater visibility for the cultural practices and know-how carried by communities without recognizing standards of excellence or or exclusivity.

The Convention promotes the preservation of cultural practices or living expressions inherited from generation to generation, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills necessary for traditional crafts.

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