After five years of falconry inscription, as a living human heritage, on the UNESCO's representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) welcomed the registration of five more countries to the file, bringing the total members to 18 countries, and making it the largest inscription with UNESCO. It is anticipated, after joining these countries, that other countries will seek to participate in the file.
In its efforts towards urging other countries to join the Falconry international file, and with the aim of promoting the international participation in the falconry inscription as global heritage, on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) announced the joining of five additional states to the file: Portugal, Germany, Italy, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.
Falconry was inscribed on the list in 2010 with the UAE leading the efforts of 11 Arabic and foreign states in the submission process. The joint file was open to other countries to join. UNESCO accepted Austria and Hungary in 2012 in the inscription, bringing the total number to 13 countries.
UAE's role in the file success sets an example as one of the most successful models in upholding the joint human heritage in the world and its emphasis on the falconry tradition whose principles and practices were set by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, TCA Abu Dhabi said.
In view of the UAE interest, which is well known all over the world, in the nations’ heritage, values and identity, falconry gained the best and widest international recognition, as a cultural human heritage.
Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director-General, TCA Abu Dhabi, stressed the importance of the five countries joining the inscription, highlighting TCA Abu Dhabi’s continued support to preserving falconry, a vital part of UAE’s heritage, culture and history.
"TCA Abu Dhabi has made notable success in safeguarding intangible heritage elements. In 2010, falconry gained the widest international recognition as a human cultural heritage, meeting all the international standards, and it is now considered as one of the inherent traditional elements. We regard the joining of more countries as an achievement in safeguarding human heritage, and providing elements for cooperation between various countries and cultures, and in maintaining Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage,'' he said.
In 1976, he added, the UAE held an international conference for the preservation of falconry, as instructed by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first leader of falconry practitioners and environment protectors. The UAE is taking a lead in the international falconry inscription, cooperating and coordinating with countries that have already joined and plan to join in due course.
Succession of new countries joining the falconry file is an important indication to the UAE interest in safeguarding its intangible and tangible heritage, as well as its participation in safeguarding the human heritage. TCA Abu Dhabi has inscribed Al Ain as the first Emirati site on the World Heritage List, and added Al Ayyala, Al Sadu, Al Taghrooda, Al Harbia, Al Majlis and Gahwa (Arabic coffee) to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
This file is considered the largest on the UNESCO list for the intangible heritage in terms of the number of member countries and the number of practitioners (40,000 falconry practitioners), from 80 countries in the world. Therefore, it became a model for the most important cultural participations between the world nations. Accordingly, it is in conformity with the UAE policy to spread the culture of peace, tolerance and living together.