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UNESCO unanimously agrees to register falconry as a live universal heritage of humanity

posted on 18/11/2010: 1015 views

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) announced the registration of falconry as a live human heritage among the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, thanks to the efforts led by the United Arab Emirates through coordination and cooperation with eleven Arab and foreign countries in the preparation of the international falconry dossier.

The announcement came during the meetings of the Intergovernmental Committee for Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15th to 19th November, where the UAE delegation was headed by Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, the Advisor for Culture and Heritage at the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Director General of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH).

The Committee of Experts, of the Intergovernmental Committee for Intangible Cultural Heritage, unanimously approved the registration of falconry as a live human heritage among the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at UNESCO.

Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of ADACH, said the United Arab Emirates has achieved a great success in preserving the elements of intangible heritage, stressing ADACH aims to "complete the falconry file - in cooperation with several government bodies and in coordination with many countries as a model of the common international human heritage between the world's countries - meet the directions of our wise leadership represented by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to support all international efforts that contribute to the protection of human heritage and provide the bases for cooperation between different peoples and civilizations, as part of a strategy to maintain the inherent cultural heritage of Abu Dhabi." Al Mazrouei stressed that the UAE, under the guidance of the honourable leadership, "has spared no effort in supporting conservation projects on heritage, especially falconry which is an important part of our culture and ancient history." "Our nation still continues its tireless efforts to support UNESCO's plans and programs to preserve the cultural heritage and human patrimony of mankind," said Al Mazrouei.

He stressed that through this unique achievement of its kind in the Arab states, falconry got the best and most universal recognition a human cultural heritage by fulfilling all the international conditions and standards to consider one of the cultural elements as an inherent and distinct heritage that expresses the pride of the countries, groups and people in it as one of their indispensible components of their culture and identity.

"This decision culminates today sustained effort and continued work that has lasted for five years thanks to intensive efforts by ADACH and the Emirates Falconers Club; and the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, and the cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and a number of authorities," he said.

He pointed out that the registration project of falconry at UNESCO adopted by ADACH, is only one of the heritage projects that represent a unique model of coexistence and civil and cultural integration between the peoples of the world.

"The success of this model is a success of the UAE and ours in ADACH in making the Abu Dhabi an important cultural hub and parallel to its well-known international economic importance. UAE contributions extend to contribute to the world's cultural development," he added.

The United Arab Emirates has begun its interest in safeguarding falconry as a human heritage since 1976, when Abu Dhabi organized the first international conference for the preservation and conservation of falconry, under the guidance of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as part of his internationally-known interest in inherent Arab heritage, values, customs and identity.

The UAE interest in heritage in general, and in falconry heritage in particular, is seen as one of the effective means that contribute to building bridges between peoples and promoting ways of rapprochement dialogue between contemporary human cultures, starting from the UAE leadership's vision in these fields.

The Committee of Experts had described the international file submitted by the UAE in coordination and cooperation with 11 Arab and foreign countries as the best international file submitted so far. It is comparable in terms of scientific objectivity, quality and accuracy of information and the excellent files put forward last year by other countries to register elements of their heritage in the representative list of intangible heritage of the UNESCO.

The Committee of Experts is entrusted with the evaluation of the files submitted by the states to register their heritage at the UNESCO.

The Committee praised the falconry file and described it as being based on a huge field work, scientific study and thorough documentation that may help many countries in the future to take advantage of this rich experience. It recommended other states to take the falconry file as an example.

The file is shared by 11 countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Mongolia, Morocco, Qatar, Republic of Korea, and Saudi Arabia, Spain and Syria in addition to the UAE.

The UAE took responsibility for coordinating efforts and compiling documents, films, images and literature support for the file. All this was built on a huge field work that also included reading and careful analysis of Arab and foreign articles, books and other publications dealing with falconry, in addition to extensive interviews with the most famous falconers in the UAE.

The Intangible Heritage Department at ADACH and the Emirates Falconers Club organised four conferences, forums and meetings in Abu Dhabi with the participation of falconers and those interested in heritage besides culture officials in the twelve countries participating in the file. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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