Traditional Arab irrigation system and camel races included in Unesco’s cultural heritage list

UAE wants to include Arabic calligraphy, camel footwear and harees in next list

A traditional Arab irrigation system and camel races have been included in Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism said on Wednesday.

The aflaj system of water channels used for farm irrigation in Al Ain was submitted as a UAE element, while the camel races were submitted jointly with Oman.

These will be awarded to the UAE at the 15th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Unesco, which is being held online from its headquarters in Paris from December 14 to 19.

To date, the UAE has successfully registered 11 cultural activities and traditions on the list.

The list helps to demonstrate the diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance. It also helps to ensure recognition of national traditions and local expertise.

“The inclusion of aflaj and camel races is a great achievement, said Mohamed Al Mubarak, chairman of the department.

"Abu Dhabi is honoured to support the great efforts behind these campaigns, as part of our extensive work to preserve the cultural traditions of the UAE."

The Emirates has led many joint submissions, including one on falconry, with the backing of 24 countries, and one on the date palm, with the participation of 14 Arab countries.

The UAE is working to include Arabic calligraphy, camel footwear and harees, a traditional food, in the next list.