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The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage will meet from 4 to 9 December on Jeju Island (Republic of Korea) and will be chaired by H.E. Mr Byong-hyun Lee, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Korea to UNESCO.

The Committee, made up of the representatives of 24 States Parties to the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003), meets once a year. It ensures the implementation of this legal instrument, which has been ratified by 175 States who have integrated the safeguarding of intangible heritage into their national legislation. In its 14 years of existence, the Convention has led 140 safeguarding living heritage projects in 107 countries.

During this session, the Committee will discuss topics including intangible cultural heritage situations of emergency, the impact of the Convention and the use of resources from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund. Three requests for International Assistance, filed by Colombia, Uganda and Zambia, will be examined to finance projects for the safeguarding of intangible heritage.

The Committee will also decide upon six requests for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, as well as 34 requests for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

In addition, three projects have been proposed for the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices, which seeks to highlight the projects, programmes and activities which best reflect the objectives of the 2003 Convention.

For the first time, an element – Xoan singing of the Phú Thọ province (Viet Nam) – which has been inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2011, could be withdrawn and inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding features elements of living heritage whose viability is considered under threat. There are currently 47 elements inscribed on this List, which allows State Parties to the Convention to mobilize the necessary international cooperation and assistance to strengthen the transmission of these cultural practices, in agreement with the concerned communities.

The following elements have been proposed this year:

Botswana: Dikopelo folk music of Bakgatla ba Kgafela in Kgatleng District
Colombia; Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of): Colombian-Venezuelan llano work songs
Mongolia: Mongolian traditional practices of worshipping the sacred sites
Morocco: Taskiwin, martial dance of the western High Atlas
Turkey: Whistled language
United Arab Emirates: Al Azi, art of performing praise, pride and fortitude poetry

There are currently 365 elements inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It seeks to enhance visibility for the traditions and know-how of communities without recognizing standards of excellence or exclusivity.

The nominations for 2017 for the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity are:

Armenia - Kochari, traditional group dance
Azerbaijan - Dolma making and sharing tradition, a marker of cultural identity 
Bangladesh - Traditional art of Shital Pati weaving of Sylhet       
Bolivia (Plurinational State of) - Ritual journeys in La Paz during Alasita        
Bosnia and Herzegovina - Konjic woodcarving    
Bulgaria; The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Republic of Moldova; Romania - Cultural practices associated to the 1st of March     
Côte d’Ivoire - Zaouli, popular music and dance of the Guro communities in Côte d’Ivoire
Cuba - Punto
Germany - Organ craftsmanship and music
Greece - Rebetiko     
India - Kumbh Mela 
Indonesia - Pinisi, art of boatbuilding in South Sulawesi   
Iran (Islamic Republic of) - Chogān, a horse-riding game accompanied by music and storytelling      
Iran (Islamic Republic of); Azerbaijan - Art of crafting and playing with Kamantcheh/Kamancha, a bowed string musical instrument      
Ireland           - Uilleann piping
Italy - Art of Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’
Kazakhstan - Kazakh traditional Assyk games      
Kyrgyzstan - Kok boru, traditional horse game      
Lao People’s Democratic Republic - Khaen music of the Lao people    
Malawi - Nsima, culinary tradition of Malawi
Mauritius - Sega tambour of Rodrigues Island      
Netherlands - Craft of the miller operating windmills and watermills
Panama - Artisanal processes and plant fibers techniques for talcos, crinejas and pintas weaving of the pinta’o hat
Peru - Traditional system of Corongo’s water judges        
Portugal - Craftmanship of Estremoz clay figures 
Saudi Arabia - Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, female traditional interior wall decoration in Asir, Saudi Arabia       
Serbia - Kolo, traditional folk dance
Slovakia - Multipart singing of Horehronie
Slovenia - Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti
Switzerland - Basel Carnival           
Tajikistan - Falak     
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Turkey - Spring celebration, Hıdrellez
Turkmenistan - Kushtdepdi rite of singing and dancing   
Viet Nam - The art of Bài Chòi in Central Viet Nam         

The Register of Good Safeguarding Practices currently includes 17 projects. The proposals to be examined this year are:

Belgium: Remembrance education and safeguarding the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, City of Peace
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Chitalishte (Community Cultural Centre): practical experience in safeguarding the vitality of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
Uzbekistan: Margilan Crafts Development Centre, safeguarding of the atlas and adras making traditional technologies

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