Out of twenty countries, seventeen responded to the questionnaire on the Recommendation, and a seminar was held in Tokyo in February/March 1998. A total of twenty experts from nineteen Member States in the region participated.
As regards the application of the principal provisions of the Recommendation, 48% of responding countries applied the provisions on identification, 28% the provisions on conservation, 28% its provisions for dissemination, and 42% the provisions for protection of folklore. There has been a notable improvement in the regional protection of traditional culture and folklore, although a few states felt that the Recommendation should eventually be improved. Recurrent themes in the responses included:
- the need for a central coordinating agency
- the identification and collection of traditional cultural expressions
- the protection of the rights of traditional artists
- the training of professionals and artists
- increased funding
- the encouragement of communities to preserve their own cultural heritage
- revitalization of the interest of youth in traditional culture in the face of the effects of mass media
- the recruitment and training of apprentices
- control of the negative effects of tourism
The country reports indicate genuine efforts towards the safeguarding of this heritage despite setbacks and difficulties. There is also evidence of genuine concern for safeguarding, even if this is not always understood by politicians.