01/10/1998 - 19/05/2024

A regional seminar was organized in Tashkent in October 1998 on the basis of completed questionnaires submitted by eight countries. A total of fourteen representatives from eight countries attended. Several main objectives of the seminar were achieved, including:

  • an analysis of the current status of traditional culture and folklore in the newly independent states of the region, with particular emphasis on the restructuring of societies during the transition from the Communist system to the democratic market economy;
  • an examination of the role of traditional and popular cultures in the process of nation-building as symbols of and references to peoples’ cultural identity, deeply rooted in their history; an assessment of the socio-cultural role of intangible heritage, particularly in relation to globalism, the cohabitation of different ethnic groups, and the growth of youth culture;
  • a formulation of recommendations on future proposals and actions for the reinforcement of the Recommendation; and
  • an exploration of the possibility of setting up a regional strategy in the field of safeguarding, legal protection, transmission, revitalization, and dissemination of the intangible cultural heritage.

Significant difficulties face the Recommendation; it has not yet been translated into the official languages of the region, and the newly independent states face major economic, political, and social problems that need to be addressed as an initial task. All participants noted that intangible cultural heritage plays an important role in nation-building and that it, therefore, remains a priority area in the cultural policy of all these states. Although all states have legislation for safeguarding this heritage, it was felt that it does not fit the needs of traditional culture and that new measures (such as copyright protection) need to be developed. Financial assistance from both public and private sectors needs to be increased and financial support given to craftsmen. The lack of computing infrastructure for archives of folklore materials was noted, as was the desire to create a computerized databank of organizations and institutions related to folklore; a UNESCO training seminar was requested to this end. The need for the training of specialists in the field of cultural management was also identified.