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Evaluation Criteria

A product that is granted the 'Award of Excellence' meets the highest level of craft excellence and is distinguished as a benchmark for craft production. An international panel of experts, nominated by UNESCO evaluates submissions based on meeting ALL of the following four criteria: 


Demonstrated excellence and standard–setting quality in craftsmanship: determined by the use of high quality materials, a high standard of technique and the special attention to manufacturing and finishing details.


Expression of cultural identity and traditional aesthetic values: demonstrated by a well-achieved application of aesthetic and cultural expression or traditional crafting techniques.


Innovation in design and production: demonstrated by an effective and successful blend of traditional and contemporary, or inventive and creative use of material, design, and production processes.


Marketability of the craft products with potential for the regional and/or international market: related to the functionality of the product, the safe use by potential buyers, a balanced price-quality relationship or the sustainability of production.


To be eligible and enter the evaluation, all submissions must first fulfill two pre-conditions. Products and processes must be: 


Respect for the environment in materials and production techniques:  Exemplified through the sustainable use of natural dyes, natural fibers, recycled materials and the use of materials and production processes that are environmentally friendly


Social responsibility:  The producer must affirm that no labour law or copyrights was violated and no individual or group exploited unfairly at any stage in the production of a handicraft submitted for the Award programme. 


A product which meets all of the criteria will be granted with the 'Award of Excellence'. This recognizes the highest level of craft excellence and distinguishes a product as a benchmark for craft production. 

Definition of Handicrafts  

These can be defined as products which are produced either completely by hand or with the help of tools. Mechanical tools may be used as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product. Handicrafts are made from raw materials and can be produced in unlimited numbers. Such products can be utilitarian, aesthetic, artistic, creative, culturally attached, decorative, functional, traditional, religiously and socially symbolic and significant.  

(Adapted from the definition for crafts/artisan products at the UNESCO/ ITC International Symposium on “Crafts and the International Market: Trade and Customs Codification”, Manila, Philippines, October 1997.)