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ICH NGO FORUM 8.COM – 1 December 2013

By November 26, 2013December 1st, 2013No Comments


JW Marriott Absheron Baku – Sharg Hall

11:00-13:00 Symposium
(for ICH NGO FORUM MEMBERS and open to all participants to 8.COM; State observers are welcomed)

11:00-11:05 Opening of the Symposium

11:05-11:10 Welcome Word – by Helena Drobna, Secretariat of UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of ICH

11:10-11:20 What and How at 8.COM? – by Diego Gradis (NGO Traditions pour Demain, spokesperson ICH NGO Forum)
Short orientation for NGOs to the 8.COM-Intergovernmental Committee session

11:20-11:35 NGOs & the UNESCO 2003 Convention – by Jorijn Neyrinck (NGO Tapis plein, spokesperson ICH NGO Forum)
What do we learn on NGOs from UNESCO texts, facts and figures? And what is at stake on the agenda at 8.COM concerning NGOs?

11:35-12:50 4 symposium presentations (10minutes) each followed by discussion (5-10 minutes)
• Investing in People to Safeguard ICH – Linking Culture & Development by Ananya Bhattacharya, Banglanatak, India
• Quebec Council for Intangible Heritage (worktitle) by Antoine Gauthier, Conseil québécois du patrimoine vivant, Canada
• UNESCO, internal oversight and evaluation of the 2003 convention for the safeguarding of Intangible cultural Heritage – perspectives of indigenous peoples of Africa and civil society organizations by Dr.Ani Casimir, CEPPER, Nigeria
• NGOs, the mediator of communication and information flaw between communities and the states; the case of ICCN by Sumi Nam, ICCN, Republic of Korea

12:50-13:15 plenary discussion with all speakers

13:15-15:00 Lunch

15:-17:00 Business meeting for NGO representatives

– Reports by the NGO Forum working groups on their activities, progress, needs;
– Main issues of the COM agenda concerning NGOs;
– Interventions by NGOs during 8.COM;
– Discussion and drafting of a possible 8.COM NGOstatement;

– Which next steps for the NGO Forum on the way to 9.COM?

17:00 Orientation Session for (newcoming) NGOs at the 8th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee
– By the Secretariat of the UNESCO 2003 Convention


The NGO Forum Meeting and Symposium will be held Sunday 1 December 2013 in JW Marriott Absheron Baku ( situated in the city centre, in front of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism;
The Forum will be held in the main meeting room – Sharg Hall – in order to provide direct retransmission of all the debates via webcast. Interpretation in English, French and Azeri will be provided during the NGO Forum (Azeri to encourage/support participation of local NGOs). We want to thank very much the UNESCO Secretariat and the organizers in Azerbaijan for this strong facilitation of the NGO Meeting. Participants are asked to register before 27 November 2012 with Jorijn Neyrinck (, by supplying (1)firstname,(2)lastname,(3)institution (NGO/State/Centre…) and(4) whether attending the morning session (symposium), and/or the afternoon session (business meeting for NGO representatives) orboth.

More information on the background and content of the Symposium

During the Intergovernmental Committee Meeting 8.COM in Baku Azerbaijan (December 2013), one of the (many) items at stake will be the reflection on the criteria and modalities for accreditation of non governmental organizations (item 14.b of the provisional agenda). Presently, 156 NGOs have been accredited by the General Assembly of States Parties to the UNESCO 2003 Convention, an unhoped success, which runs parallel with the Convention’s ratification success. The accreditation of NGOs is for “providing advisory services to the Intergovernmental Committee” (article 9 of the Convention).

Nevertheless, only a minority of NGOs delivers the state dadvisory services because of the limited opportunities in which the Convention appeals to the advisory services by NGOS. The unforeseen enthusiasm of NGOs registering for accreditation implies nevertheless heavy administrative and procedural paperwork for the ICH Secretariat. In this context the question was raised on 7.COM to possibly review the criteria for accreditation and evaluation of the NGOs. Meanwhile, the NGOs are conscious of the benefits for them of being associated with the Convention and committed to contribute thoughts to the work of  the IGC, like e.g. with the NGO Forum statement at 7.COM.

In this statement the NGO FORUM stressed the important role of NGOs for cultural mediation, awareness raising, representation and advocacy. It confirmed the willingness of NGOs to contribute to strengthening the community participation, central to the implementation of the 2003 Convention, and to offers upport and expertise in national and international processes for capacity building and safeguarding of ICH. Besides, should be mentioned how much the accreditation to the 2003 Convention is empowering NGOs in their independent role acting  as go between connecting heritage communities on the one hand, and State bodies, on the other hand.
In Decision 7.COM 16.b the Intergovernmental Committee expressed its regrets for the limited opportunities until now to act in advisory capacity to the IGC and requested the Secretariat to report at 8.COM on the profile of the NGOs accredited and the nature of their work and to propose an evaluation form for assessing their potential contribution to the implementation of the Convention. This is the main point of the 8.COM provisional agenda (14.b) on which the NGO FORUM SYMPOSIUM hopes to contribute to the Baku IGC session debates by bringing in the diverse experience and ideas of associated NGOs.
Undoubtedly a great variety of NGOs is affiliated with the Convention. As for their positioning between governments and bearers (practitioners) of ICH, the spectrum of NGOs is vast: from organizations tightly connected to (if not part of) bearers of ICH, to (prevailing, as it seems) cultural mediating organizations, not excluding those organizations that function as a non-governmental counter part of governmental bodies. Also, there are huge differences in terms of how mediation is conceived and put into practice, as well as in terms of what kind of expertise predominates–e.g. knowledge on ICH element(s) in question, management skills, proficiency in ICH program, expertise in the functioning of cultural flows beyond ICH program per se, scholarly knowledge in particular domains of ICH, etc. The scope of aims and activities also differs to a large degree–from organizations dedicated to a very specific segment of ICH to organizations covering all domains of ICH as defined in the Convention. Similarly, their cultural-territorial scope varies from very local to world wide organizations. Which contribution brings this rich and colourful “palette” of NGOs to the implementation of the Convention? And how could or should NGO accreditation and involvement be organized to produce at best the desirable effects for the Convention’s mission of safeguarding ICH?


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