1 Dec 2022

Els Raiers, Intangible Heritage of Humanity

Els Raiers are already Intangible Heritage of Humanity! At the 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, held this morning in Rabat, the joint candidacy of the Timber Rafting (Spain, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Poland, the country leading the candidacy). The evaluation body has considered that the nomination satisfies sufficient criteria to be a World Heritage Site and has highlighted this declaration as an example that encompasses different countries.

The Association of the Raiers de la Noguera Pallaresa will celebrate the declaration in a joint act with the La Pobla de Segur City Council on Saturday, December 3, in what will be the new space of the Museum of the Raiers of La Pobla. The central act will be a live chat with connections to Rabat (Morocco) and deferred guests from members of raier associations from around the world.

In Rabat, the committee has given value to aspects such as the fact that this ancient trade was used to transport wood, goods and people from the Middle Ages until the beginning of this century. Also that the knowledge that involved it, such as the lifestyle that the raiers led for months or the techniques to build rais have been passed from generation orally and also from campus, youth escorts, festivals and workshops around the world.

The committee believes that raiers foster cohesion and social collaboration among participating communities, which is open to all ages, genders, and social and cultural backgrounds. In addition, the protection of water and ecological systems and the sustainable use of wood are deeply rooted in the practice and exchange of experiencies that enrich heritage and promote common values and cultural exchange across borders.

Raier’s trade around the world was based on the relationship between people and nature. The committe highlights the importance of wood as a raw material and sustainable uses. Also that the practice includes the construction of boats, the transport of logs and the knowledge of nature, as well as teams of professionals with various roles, including foremen, brake manufacturers, watchmen and rowers. Futhermore, this trade was formerly exclusively related to men and that the roles have evolved and that today women participate in the tradition.

Finally, it highlights the past and current efforts of the raier associations to guarantee their viability.

The possible application began to be discussed in 2010 at the annual general assembly of the International Association of Raiers. At the end of October, the UNESCO Evaluation body meeting in Paris recommended the joint candidacy of the Timber Rafting (Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Poland, the country that leads the candidacy) to register and enter the list of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity.