Overview of 12.COM

The twelfth Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (12.COM) will be held from 4 to 9 December 2017 on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea. Let’s take a look at the program and events of 12.COM.

Official Program

On 4 December (Monday) at 9:30, the six-day meeting will officially kick off. In the morning, the agenda of 12.COM and the summary records of the eleventh session will be adopted, and the activities of the Secretariat of the 2003 Convention will be reported. After lunch, the Committee will discuss the draft plan for using the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, and States Party to the Convention will present reports on using International Assistance from the Fund.

In the morning of 5 December, the Committee will examine periodic reports of States Party on implementing the Convention as well as the current status of elements inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the draft results framework, and the draft amendments to the Operational Directives on periodic reports.

From the afternoon of 5 December to the morning of 7 December (Thursday), the Committee will review and decide upon nominations for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and on the Representative List. Forty-five requests from forty-seven countries will be examined—six nominations to the Urgent Safeguarding List, thirty-four nominations to the Representative List, and four proposals to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.

From the afternoon of 7 December to 8 December, the Committee will examine a request for removal and transfer, requests for International Assistance, and proposals for the Register. For the first time, an element—Xoan singing of the Phú Thọ province (Viet Nam)—inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List in 2011 could be transferred to the Representative List, as requested in 2015. On 9 December, the Committee will decide the venue and date of the thirteenth session before closure.

Opening and Closing Ceremonies

The opening and closing ceremonies will take place respectively on 3 December at 18:00 and on 9 December at 19:00 in Tamna Hall of the International Convention Center (ICC) Jeju. The opening ceremony will include special performances. Under the theme of “Arirang, the Eternal Promise,” performers will play Korea’s traditional Arirang and Nongak music (both inscribed on the Representative List) as well as Ogomu, a traditional five-drum dance. The performances will be presented by the art group of the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation (CHF) and National Living Human Treasures. During the evening closing ceremony on 9 December, a musical about Jeju’s culture of Haenyeo (female divers), which was added to the Representative List, will be performed. Korean table d’hôte featuring Jeju’s specialties will be offered for the farewell dinner.


A variety of events will take place on the sidelines of 12.COM to keep participants busy. ICHCAP will present photo and film exhibitions on Central Asian ICH in the lobby on the fifth floor where the main meeting hall is located. The exhibition opening event will be held on 3 December at 17:00. A traditional Korean crafts exhibition by the National Intangible Heritage Center (NIHC) will also be displayed in the lobby. The ICH NGO Forum will exhibit posters and distribute publications throughout the 12.COM period and host various events for UNESCO-accredited NGOs under the 2003 Convention. Other events include a panel exhibition on the third floor by the International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (IRCI) (4–9 Dec); a crafts exhibition by Uzbekistan (4–9 Dec); and a traditional instrument performance by Mongolia (5–6 Dec).

On 5 December (Tuesday), in particular, a variety of events and performances will take place. ICHCAP and UNESCO will host a roundtable discussion on tertiary education at the main meeting hall during the lunch hour. In the outside parking zone, a demonstration of Gijisi tug-of-War, which was inscribed on the Representative List in 2015, will be presented, allowing participants to experience it themselves. From 18:00, after the official programme of the day is finished, ICHCAP and the NGO Forum will hold a symposium on traditional medicine and launch a new book on the subject in Samda Hall.


A half-day culture tour will run from 6 to 8 December. The afternoon tour will take the participants to Jeju’s UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites. A tour to Haenyeo sites will be available on 9 December, the last day of the meeting. For any questions, visit the Tour Desk on site.
For further details about the 12.COM program, visit the UNESCO ICH site (https://ich.unesco.org/en/12com). It is hoped that all participants will engage in the meeting as pioneers of ICH safeguarding and have an unforgettable experience in Jeju.


The debates of the twelfth session of the Intergovernmental Committee will be retransmitted online.

The interpretation of proceedings serves to facilitate communication and does not constitute an authentic record of the proceedings. Only the original speech is authentic.