Intervention by Ambassador Alexander Savov, Permanent delegate of Bulgaria to UNESCO

Children Drawing Contest: “Fairyland of legends, myths and tales from my homeland”
Fifth session of the General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention 2003 – 2-5 June 2014 in Paris

Intervention by Ambassador Alexander Savov,
Permanent delegate of Bulgaria to UNESCO on the Fifth session of the General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Convention 2003):
Allow me at the outset to congratulate you on your election and wish you every success in performing this important function.My delegation would like to limit its initial statement to some topics, which in our view, have a particular significance for the implementation and the future of the Convention.The increase of the ratification is a proof of the relevance of the Convention and the positive effects that its implementation could bring to communities in terms not only of safeguarding but also of increased possibilities for sustainable development.The Representative list is having undoubtedly a very positive impact upon the visibility of the Convention and in terms of raising the awareness about the importance of preserving the intangible heritage.Let me quote from the IOS report: “Other mechanisms, such as the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices and the International Assistance are underused. A better balance needs to be found between these mechanisms by (a) clarifying all misperceptions regarding the concepts and intention of the Representative List; (b) promoting and re-positioning the Urgent Safeguarding List; (c) promoting the International Assistance Program; and (d) rethinking the way best practices are identified and disseminated”.  My delegation fully shares this assessment.While there is some progress in the presentation of nominations for the Urgent Safeguarding, the report of the Secretariat show a decline in the Best Safeguarding Practices nominations. It should be acknowledged that sharing best safeguarding practices increases the capacities of countries to better implement the Convention.After 4 years of implementing the Capacity Building Program we should be satisfied of the results achieved. This was made possible because of the hard work and commitment of the Secretariat. They deserve our wholehearted thanks. And here let me go back again to the IOS report which states:” The work of the UNESCO 2003 Convention Secretariat is considered to be of high quality. Overall its services are much appreciated by State Parties, who consider the Secretariat to be professional, efficient and responsive. The Secretariat, however, lacks resources, which has put constraints on the number of nominations and proposals processed and on other activities”.  A broad network of experts has been put in place to help member states improve their safeguarding performance. My delegation is satisfied with the fact that the secretariat is broadening the scope of support to include developing materials for the area of sustainable development and gender. At the same time support for policy and legislative development should not be underestimated. It is encouraging, consequently, that capacity-building projects under development include a larger and larger place for individualized support for policy and legislative development.Category 2 regional centres have a crucial role to play in capacity building through regional cooperation and information sharing. The decision to convene   global meetings of those centres is a step in the right direction. I am pleased to inform you that the first such meeting took place last year in Bulgaria, hosted by the Regional centre in Sofia for South East Europe.My Government is fully committed to supporting the capacity building efforts and to engaging youth in the process of safeguarding. It has supported several projects and activities in those areas, including support for the capacity of the Secretariat. Those are well reflected in the relevant documents before the Assembly.Let me conclude by stressing the need to address all the challenges we face in a spirit of cooperation, sharing and dialogue. It is in this spirit that my delegation will participate in our deliberations.”