Inventorying intangible cultural heritage for peace in Côte d’Ivoire

Zaouli popular music and dance of the Guro communities in Côte d’Ivoire © UNESCO Abidjan

Between 2015 and 2019, UNESCO granted emergency international assistance of US$299,972 to prepare an inventory of the intangible cultural heritage present in Côte d’Ivoire. This project, implemented by the Ivorian Cultural Heritage Office, allowed the training of more than four hundred people to prepare inventories with the community participation, to identify and inventory eight hundred ICH elements, and to support the process of revising national legislation.

The inventory enabled a national strategy initiative to safeguard ICH, aimed at creating cooperation among the various stakeholders while taking stock of the viability ICH and building capacities for its safeguarding.

The close collaboration undertaken between development actors, communities, and cultural institutions, including the Museum of Civilizations of Côte d’Ivoire and the Chambers of Kings and Traditional Chiefs, has made it possible to strengthen dialogue and social cohesion conducive to building lasting peace.

The experience of this project in Côte d’Ivoire contributed to elaborating operational principles and modalities for safeguarding ICH in emergencies as endorsed by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2019 (Decision 14.COM13).