The UAE includes “aflaj” and “camel race” in the Representative List of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage

A special race that takes into account the heritage conditions related to the local heritage.


The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi revealed the inclusion of both the national aflaj file submitted on behalf of the UAE, and the joint camel race file between the UAE and the Sultanate of Oman in the representative list of intangible cultural heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), during the fifteenth periodic meeting The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, which is being held virtually at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, from 14 to 19 December.

The inclusion of these two files is a culmination of the efforts made by the Ministry of Culture and Youth and the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi to introduce the national heritage of the United Arab Emirates and highlight it globally, as a rich human heritage worthy of preservation and preservation for future generations, and to promote it to UNESCO, the international sponsor of peoples' heritage.

It is noteworthy that the UAE has succeeded in registering 11 elements on the list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity adopted by UNESCO, through joint national, international, Gulf and Arab files, which strengthens the state's position as an active member in the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for the year 2003, which aims to Increase awareness of intangible heritage and ensure recognition of societies' traditions and know-how to reflect their cultural diversity.

The aflaj, which has been included in the representative list of intangible cultural heritage on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, is one of the oral traditions, knowledge and skills related to the construction and maintenance of the traditional irrigation network system in the UAE, with the aim of ensuring a fair distribution of water, while camel racing is considered a ceremonial heritage and a social practice. Linked to camels, it was listed in the name of the UAE and the sisterly Sultanate of Oman.

Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Head of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, said: “The inclusion of aflaj and camel race on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is a great achievement that strengthens the UAE’s position as an incubator for the unique and rich heritage, and highlights our pride in our national identity and our cultural heritage .. The Department of Culture is honored. Tourism - Abu Dhabi, by supporting the efforts that stand behind this achievement, as part of our continuous work to preserve and enhance the authentic cultural traditions and practices in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.

It is worth noting that the United Arab Emirates led many joint files, the most important of which is the falconry file with the participation of (24) countries distributed in all continents of the world, the Palm file with the participation of 14 Arab countries, and many Gulf files, which are the Ayyala, Al-Razfa, the Arab councils, and Al-Taghrooda, in addition to the Sadu and Al-Azi files. Thus, the UAE has included (11) elements of its cultural heritage in UNESCO, and is on the way to include Arabic calligraphy, camel footwear, and harees, in accordance with the directives of the wise leadership in preserving and preserving the national heritage for future generations.

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