Four Maghreb countries tabled a joint dossier on Friday with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to include Couscous in the list of intangible cultural heritage.
The dossier was submitted by the Kingdom of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania, to the UNESCO Culture Sector, in charge of Conventions and Universal Declarations, following the example of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Human Rights Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.
Earlier, a four-State agreement for the deposit of this nomination was signed by Zohour Alaoui, Ambassador-Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to UNESCO, President of the 39th General Conference of UNESCO, Abdelkader Mesdoua, Ambassador of Algeria in France, Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Ghazi Gherairi, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to UNESCO, and Mohemd Elbechir Ould El Hadj, First Counselor of the Mauritanian Delegation to UNESCO.
The nomination file is the result of a work of several months led by the experts of the four countries who managed to build a “solid dossier” for the inscription of this culinary specialty of the Maghreb, on the list of cultural heritage Intangible Heritage of UNESCO.
In a statement, Zohour Alaoui, Ambassador-Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to UNESCO, President of the 39th General Conference of UNESCO, underlined the importance and the symbolic of this candidature which concerns “the knowledge and the know-how of the practices related to the production and the consumption of the couscous “and which comes” to consecrate the tremendous wealth bequeathed the culture Berber, Amazigh not only with the countries of Maghreb but also in Africa and in the periphery Mediterranean and today in the world as a whole”.
The Ambassador-Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to UNESCO also wished to emphasize the unpublished nature of this candidature. “This is the first time that four Maghreb countries have joined forces to submit a joint dossier,” she said.
“By linking our efforts, we are protecting a fundamentally essential element for the transmission of our culture for future generations,” said Alaoui, who added “this issue reminds the people of the Maghreb of all they have in common and in common. what binds them by their culture and their history”.
The Ambassador-Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to UNESCO did not fail finally to “pay tribute to the communities of our countries, particularly to the women who have, throughout these centuries, been watching over the practice and transmission, generation after generation, of this emblematic and multisecular heritage”.
For Ghazi Gherairi, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to UNESCO, the filing of this candidacy is a moment of “great convergence” of the Maghreb countries. “This is the first joint file we are tabling, which is about an essential element of our heritage in the most meaningful sense,” he said.
Couscous, “one of the markers of our” Maghrebinity”, which extends from Mauritania to the middle of Libya, is a dish that is associated with our festivals but also with our moments of mourning. It comes in many forms “which shows not the divergence but the richness and diversity of Maghreb culture and its ability to adapt,” said the Tunisian diplomat.
And to emphasize that the filing of this candidacy devotes the first stage of a diplomatic process to its consecration, he said, saying he was convinced of the strength of the application file which is the result of excellent work conducted at the expert level.
Same optimism displayed by the coordinator of the dossier, Slimane Hachi (Algeria), who said he was “proud” of the outcome of this work achieved thanks to the enthusiasm, generosity and work of the experts of the four countries. “Today we have managed to concretize this issue that unites the Maghreb countries from Tripolitania to the Atlantic,” he said.