無形文化遺産の保護に関する第11回政府間委員会の概要と課題無形文化遺産の保護に関する第11回政府間委員会の概要と課題 Topics of the Eleventh Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Issues Raised through Discussions
The Eleventh session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was held from 28 November to 2 December, 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During the session, 33 elements of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (hereinafter, Representative List), including Japan’s nominated element “Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals in Japan.” Another element, “Falconry, a living human heritage” is also remarkable in terms of the addition of five countries as State Parties concerned to an element on the Representative List. In total, the number of States Parties concerned became 18. As for the Representative List, while the Evaluation Body recommended 19 files to be referred back to the States Parties asking for more precise information, 15 elements were inscribed on the list. Some newly-elected Committee Members had a role to play in the inscription of such a large number of elements on the list, reversing the recommendations of the Evaluation Body. These Committee Members insisted that the information requested by the Evaluation Body was obtained at the Committee from the States Parties concerned and that the nominated elements deserved inscription on the list. However, evaluation should be made only based upon information described on the nomination files submitted by the States Parties. For this reason, such supplemental information should not be taken into consideration. It seemed that some Committee Members took the most advantage of being at the Committee, as if they could make any decision, no matter whether it is consistent with the regulations, such as the Operational Directives, or not. It is considered that the Secretariat of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Committee Members that keep distance from the above-mentioned member states should be more active in improving such a situation. After the discussion about the activity of the Evaluation Body, many States Parties, NGOs and even the Committee Members pointed out the problems of the decision-making processes of the Committee, saying, for example, that the procedure was far from the principles and that the professionalism of the Evaluation Body should be respected. This shows that many stakeholders took the discussion of this session very seriously. On the other hand, more detailed explanation by the Secretariat about criteria for inscription on the Representative List would be crucial in helping the States Parties prepare their nomination files. Highly experienced States Parties on safeguarding ICH like Japan can also support such efforts to improve the implementation of the Convention. For Japan, ICH in emergency, which was one of the agenda of the Committee, is also an important theme, as it has been affected by a series of catastrophic natural disasters in these years. It should make efforts to conduct research and disseminate research results on this topic, especially the role of ICH for resilience of communities.