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Invitation to October 4, 24: Official presentation of the certificate

© Jaime Acuña

April 2024

The official presentation of the certificate by UNESCO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take place on October 4, 2024 at 6 p.m. as part of the midwifery congress of the BfHD (Bund freiberuflicher Hebammen Deutschlands e.V.) at the Bürgerzentrum Engelshof in Cologne.

First World Summit of Midwives in Colombia in November 2024

© Jaime Acuña

March 2024

The First World Summit of Midwives will take place from 21 October to 1 November 2024 in Santiago de Cali, Colombia.

The Colombian Minister of Culture, Juan David Correa, is leading the organisation of the First World Summit of Midwives in coordination with the Association of United Midwives of the Pacific (ASOPARUPA).
The First World Summit of Midwives will take place within the framework of the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 16).

All eight nations that prepared the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage application will be invited to celebrate this great success.

International Women's Day 2024: exchange, celebrate, inform!

February 2024

The motto of International Women's Day 2024 is: exchange, celebrate, inform.

8th of March is an important day to draw attention to what has already been achieved in the realisation of gender equality - and what has unfortunately not yet been achieved!

We have not yet reached our goal on the road to equality. Women are more affected by conflicts - as the current crises show us. But without the potential and talents of women, there will be no social progress.

Our board member Lisa von Reiche, together with the midwife outpatient clinic and the RheinSiegBonn midwife centre, will be on site at the Stadthaus in Bonn to exchange ideas, celebrate and provide information! Participation is free and there will be lots of surprises.

Midwifery inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

December 2023

On Wednesday, December 6, at its meeting in Kasane, Botswana, the Intergovernmental Committee of the 2003 UNESCO Convention decided to inscribe the "Midwifery: Knowledge, Skills and Practices" on the "Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity". The nomination was submitted by Colombia, Cyprus, Germany, the Kyrgyz Republic, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Slovenia and Togo.

> To the live stream of the recognition including the moving speech by our midwife colleague Liceth Quinones from Colombia (contribution at approx. 5.38.15)

Midwifery as a cultural practice

Midwifery includes knowledge and skills promoting the well-being of women, babies, children and families. Midwives ensure continuity of care and support during the natural processes of pregnancy, childbirth and after birth. They use evidence-based research, intuition, as well as empirical and traditional knowledge. Midwifery guarantees fundamental human rights, especially for women. Midwifery can be exercised by people regardless of their gender. However, the majority of the practitioners have been and are women.

Besides their medical and anatomical knowledge, midwives rely on the senses touching, smelling, feeling and observing. Their skills and knowledge have been safeguarded, further developed and passed on by the communities through numerous generations. Nowadays, the transmission takes place in formal, non-formal and informal education settings. Furthermore, midwifery entails specific cultural practices, vocabulary, celebrations and rituals, such as cutting the umbilical cord. 

An inscription based on community initiatives

Midwives are the main bearers and practitioners, who often form groups or associations. They initiated the inscription. Other networks promote the transmission of skills and knowledge, such as academic institutions or organizations for childbirth, breastfeeding, women's rights and family planning. In addition to an extensive international consultation process to develop the file, communities and groups concerned were also involved as broadly as possible at the national level.

UNESCO nomination for midwifery is imminent

December 2023

The nomination is on the agenda between Tuesday 5 and Thursday 7 December and can be followed via lifestream

The UNESCO International Committee will decide in Botswana whether midwifery will be recognised worldwide as an intangible cultural asset.
The necessary positive preliminary decision was made on 7 November:
Midwifery, with its knowledge, skills and practices, is to be inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The States Parties praise the well-prepared dossier and video, in which gender equality, traditional knowledge, health care for women and living heritage for the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals are presented.
The States Parties also praise this dossier as a good example of multinational cooperation.

Independent Evaluation Body fully recommends the nomination of midwifery

November 2023

Good news! The independent Evaluation Body fully recommends the nomination of midwifery for inscription into the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity!
The Intergovernmental Committee will therefore most likely make the inscription at its meeting in Botswana in early December.

In particular, the Evaluation Body “commends the States Parties for a well-prepared file and video that highlights gender equality, traditional knowledge, healthcare for women, and the contribution of living heritage to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Further, the Evaluation Body “commends the States Parties for a file that can serve as a good example for multinational files, involving countries from across 5 out of the 6 Electoral Groups”.

'Midwifes' - an excellent documentary film

November 2023

Two midwives, one Buddhist and one Muslim, defy the strict ethnic division and work side by side in a makeshift clinic in western Myanmar to provide medical assistance to the Rohingya in Rakhine state.
In 2016, tensions escalate in Myanmar's most westerly state. In response to attacks by Rohingya rebels, the military launched "ethnic cleansing": Villages are razed to the ground, tens of thousands of Rohingya are killed and a million people flee.
Director Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing grew up in the area herself. As a child, it seemed to her that Buddhists and Muslims lived peacefully side by side. When she learnt of the flare-up of conflict, she returned to her homeland and made her remarkable documentary debut about six turbulent years in Rakhine State in Myanmar, following the two midwives as they work and face the challenges they face every day and their struggle for the happiness that always comes when a birth is successful and a child is born.

The film will be shown in many German cinemas, current dates:
Fri, 17.11., Berlin, Heinrich Böll Foundation, film and discussion with the director
Sun, 19 Nov, Berlin, Eva Lichtspiele
Tue, 21 Nov, Aachen, Apollo
Sun, 19.11., Darmstadt, Rex Cinema

270 years of midwifery in Slovenia and the commemoration of May 5 - International Day of Midwives

September 2023

This year we are celebrating 270 years of midwifery in Slovenia, which was started by Maria Theresa in 1753 with the establishment of the first school for midwives. An important milestone not only from the point of view of midwifery education, but also education in the Slovenian language. Adequately trained midwives were important not only for women giving birth at home, but for the whole society, as they have always worked in favor of families, women, children and everyone who needed help and support. To mark this anniversary, a ceremony was organized on May 4, 2023 at 12:00 in front of the old midwifery school in Ljubljana, where we remembered the beginnings of midwifery education in Slovenian, talked about important personalities who have marked midwifery throughout the centuries and up to today, the way midwives are educated and their operation at all levels of health care. A commemorative plaque was also unveiled for this purpose.

In order to draw attention to the importance of midwifery and midwives today, we held an open day in all maternity hospitals on May 5, and the day was also covered by the media. In this way, we wanted to approach the entire society and give validity to midwifery and the midwifery profession also from the point of view of midwives' actions, as the greatest defenders of women, families and children, for a better life and contribution to society. Raising the awareness of society about midwifery and the work of midwives is important, because society and its needs change all the time, but the common point remains the same, i.e. the care of women, family and children, or in other words, the presence of midwives remains from birth to death.

The Chamber-Association, at the Congress of Health and Midwifery Care at the celebratory academy on May 12, 2023, awarded the highest awards to individuals who, in their professional activities, contributed to the development of the profession. In this way, she also awarded a lifetime achievement award to a colleague who, throughout her professional career, was noted as an outstanding defender of midwifery and focused her efforts on the education of midwives until her retirement. All of us who are aware of the importance of the development of the profession, the necessary changes that are important for the entire society, were extremely honored by this recognition. With all this, we must not forget the entry of midwifery into the intangible cultural heritage on home soil, as well as the nomination of midwifery to the UNESCO list.

Saša Matko, midwife, Nurses and Midwives Association, Slovenia

270 years of midwifery in Slovenia and the commemoration of May 5 - International Day of Midwives

Activities on International Midwifery Day in Nigeria

July 2023

Nursing World Nigeria joined the global community to celebrate International Day of midwives, being a day dedicated to honor the invaluable contribution of midwives to maternal and child health.

  • As part of activities to commemorate the 2023 IDM, the national association of Nigeria nurses and midwives led by the national president carried out a medical outreach at internally displaced persons (IDP) Camp at Wusa, Abuja. The outreach displayed compassion, care and respect for humanity which are core values of nurses and midwives, the action was well appreciated by the people as they felt a sense of belonging.
  • The day was equally celebrated with a press conference tagged: “Midwives and Women’s Mental Health”. Emphasis was laid on the critical role of midwives in promoting maternal Mental health and well-being during pregnancy, Child birth and postpartum which include emotional support, counselling amongst others areas.
  • Nursing World Nigeria also recognized and appreciated all midwives and nurses in Nigeria for their Unwavering commitment, Compassion and dedication to providing quality care to Women and New borns.
Activities on International Midwifery Day in Nigeria

Activities for the International Day of Midwives in Colombia

July 2023

On 5 May, the I World Pre-Summit of Traditional Midwives was held in the city of Buenaventura, a place for dialogue and knowledge sharing among the bearers of this cultural element. The aim of this meeting, promoted by midwives from the Pacific, is to contribute in a participatory way to the work plan for the protection of this intangible heritage and to dialogue with other traditional peasant and indigenous midwives in order to improve the living and working conditions of traditional midwives.

The work of traditional midwives is recognised internationally by institutions and agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which defines midwifery as the care of women and children during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.
This knowledge is developed through observation and daily experimentation and forms a system of traditional medicine that has endured through the generations.

Activities for the International Day of Midwives in Colombia

Upcoming online meeting

June 2023

a brief information and update meeting of our international group on our application to UNESCO for the Midwifery Knowledge, Skills and Practices Element will be held on Monday, June 26, to discuss possible steps to prepare for the Committee's decision and to report on further activities.

The Intergovernmental Committee will make a decision on this application at its meeting in Botswana in early December 2023. The evaluation panel will publish its recommendation about a month beforehand.

International Day of Midwives in Cyprus

June 2023

The Midwives Committee in Cyprus celebrated Midwifery Day with the title: "Evidence-based midwifery care", inspired by the theme of this year's International Midwifery Day "Together again: from evidence to reality".

The activities started already on 28 April with a conference on the theme and ended on 12 May with a memorial ceremony for all midwives and nurses in Cyprus.

USA announces return to UNESCO

June 2023

The announced return of the USA to the UN Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Communication Organization is welcomed by President of the German Commission for UNESCO, Maria Böhmer:
"This is extremely confident news. I take great pleasure in the decision that the United States of America will return to UNESCO in July... this is an important signal for strong multilateralism in difficult times."

WHO/Europe, UNFPA and partners commit to take measures to advance midwifery

May 2023

Midwives provide essential care in spite of challenges.

WHO/Europe and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia have launched the first-ever report on the state of the midwifery workforce in eastern Europe and central Asia. 

“The state of the midwifery workforce in eastern Europe and central Asia” shows that midwifery is vital to the provision of high-quality maternal and newborn care for all women and newborns in all countries, and that it can avert two thirds of maternal and newborn deaths. 

Award-winning documentary "among us women - birth in Megendi"

January 2023

The touching and multiple award-winning documentary among us women (birth in Megendi) can be seen in the ZDF-Mediathek (german) and at numerous film festivals, dates of current film screenings with a birthstorytelling café can be found here.

To make a concrete difference for women, professionals and families in Europe, you can watch the film together with friends, family or colleagues in the ZDF-Mediathek (german) and then share your experiences in a private birthstorytelling café.

> Impact Campaign for Midwifery Training (english)
The film team and the birthcafé campaign would like to use this offer to bring midwives in training and in the profession into the conversation.

Midwifery nominated for international UNESCO list

April 2022

Eight countries from four continents have nominated midwifery for the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Germany joins Kyrgyzstan, Colombia, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Slovenia, Togo and Cyprus in the application.

Midwifery has been on the national list of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2016 - now the significance of midwives for life and becoming is also to receive the necessary recognition worldwide.

The relevant committee of the UN organization is expected to decide on the applications at the end of 2023.

Blog introduces midwifery worldwide

February 2022

Katharina Tolle presents our initiative in her blog on 

We are very happy about that: thank you very much! 

> see the blog

Nigeria is part of the process now!

November 2021

We welcome Nigeria as a new partner of our international team – beside Germany, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Togo and Cyprus!

Our website now in 4 languages

July 2021

We are pleased that (almost) all of the content on our website has now been translated into 3 languages: English, French and Spanish.
We look forward to new comments in the guest book!

Film premiere of the application film “The Midwife”

Video Still Midwifery

January 2021

The International Year of Midwives and Caregivers begins with a special event for us:

The short film, with which we want to invite other countries to apply for the inclusion of midwives in the UNESCO list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, has been completed and was presented to the public on 28 January.

There was already a lot of positive feedback in the guestbook!

The film was made with the kind support of dm.
Thank you very much for that!

Nomination process starts!

January 2021

The official nomination process is started with a kick-off meeting. The following seven countries want to jointly write and submit the application: Germany, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Togo and Cyprus. There still is potential for additional countries to join. The multinational group now meets regularly online to coordinate its work.

ICM publishes translation of “Competencies for Midwifery”

December 2020

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has published the publication “Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice” in German. It sets out the minimum requirements, the knowledge, skills and professional behaviour required of a person to be able to use the term midwife as defined by the ICM.

Competencies for midwifery (DE)

Adobe Acrobat Dokument 2.2 MB

Nomination process in preparation


During the year, our preparatory group met for several virtual working meetings to prepare for the nomination process. This included translating the content of this website, which is now available in English and French. If you are interested in the translated content please contact us by email!

Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice

October 2019

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has published an update of the wonderful poster “Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice”. It shows in a vivid way the 4 areas of competence of midwifery work, which work together holistically.

Essential Competences for Midwifery Practice EN
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 456.6 KB

Participation in the Lagois Photo Competition

March 2019

The Midwives for Germany Association took part in the 2019 Lagois Photo Competition "Immaterial Cultural Heritage" and submitted wonderful pictures of the work of midwives! The photos were published in the exhibition’s resulting photo book.

The coveted first prize was won by photographer Chiara Dazi for her photo reportage "Wandertage" about travelling crafts-women undertaking the traditional journey/(wo)man’s journey.


Midwifery nominated for international UNESCO list

March 2018

The German Commission for UNESCO has decided to nominate midwifery as Intangible Cultural Heritage for the international UNESCO list. With this nomination, the expert committee aims to draw attention to the "very valuable skills of midwives".

The UNESCO Commission announced the decision last Friday. The German proposal will be officially submitted in March 2019, and the decision on its acceptance will be made at the end of 2020.

UNESCO: Midwifery is Intangible Cultural Heritage

In 2016, midwifery was included in the German National Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Midwifery is one of the oldest practices in the world. Its inclusion in the German National Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO emphasizes the historical importance of the work of midwives, and at the same time points to the current significance of the practice.

Award in Berlin

On May 29th, 2017 in Berlin, the German Commission for UNESCO honoured the sponsor groups of the new entries in the German National Intangible Cultural Heritage List with an award ceremony.


Lisa von Reiche

+49 (0)177 757 25720
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We would like to thank you for your support of the project!