Friday, 19 November 2010
Falconry is officially 'a living cultural heritage'
At a Meeting of the Parties to the 2003 Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Nairobi this week, UNESCO has officially designated Falconry on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The submission was made by Abu Dhabi on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the Syrian Arab Republic. It is expected that Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Slovakia will be added shortly.
In its evaluation, the UNESCO Committee declared that Falconry, recognised by its community members as part of their cultural heritage, is a social tradition respecting nature and the environment, passed on from generation to generation, and providing them with a sense of belonging, continuity and identity.
Dr Nick Fox, who helped prepare the submission, said: “This is a milestone in the history of world falconry. I hope that one day soon the British government will also sign the Convention instead of waiting in the wings while our own rich British falconry cultural identity fades away. Despite Britain’s tardiness in cultural affairs, falconry is flourishing here. Up to 25,000 people keep birds of prey and find falconry a way to provide hands on contact with the natural world.”
Well done falconry! Now, who's next? Wildfowlers? Ferreters? Hunting perhaps? Many of our traditional countryside activities deserve this sort of recognition, but we've not been very good at promoting ourselves as a 'living heritage'.