In pursuance of decision 5.6.2 adopted by the Executive Board of Unesco at its 116th Session (Spring 1983), a decision of which the General Conference took note at its twenty-second session (October 1983), the Director-General convened the Second Committee of Governmental Experts on the Safeguarding of Folklore at Unesco Headquarters from 14 to 18 January 1985.
The Committee, whose terms of reference were to carry out a thorough study of the possible range and scope of general regulations concerning the safeguarding of folklore, analysed the various aspects involved in the safeguarding of folklore and adopted certain possible solutions as the conclusions of its proceedings.
The Committee also discussed the nature of the instrument that might be drawn up, should the General Conference of Unesco decide that the adoption of such an instrument was advisable, and the role that Unesco might play in facilitating the safeguarding of folklore.
With regard to the nature of possible international regulations, the Committee was of the opinion that these should not take the form of an international convention. On the other hand, there was unanimous agreement that they might take the form of an international recommendation, this being a flexible instrument whereby the General Conference formulates principles that it invites Member States to adopt in the form of a national law or in some other way.
This Second Committee of Governmental Experts was convened by the Director-General in pursuance of decision 5.6.2 adopted by the Executive Board at its 116th session, a decision of which the General Conference took note at its twenty-second session. The aim of this meeting was to carry out a thorough study of the possible range and scope of general international regulations concerning the safeguarding of folklore. Representatives from 41 Member States participated in the proceedings, and experts from six Member States and from two non-Member States attended the meeting in the capacity of observers.
During this meeting, the need to identify, preserve and protect folklore from the risks of being forgotten, distorted, impaired, caricatured or pillaged, since folklore is an integral part of the heritage, and of the cultural identity of the various peoples, was recognized by a wide majority. Several delegations stressed the value of the safeguarding of folklore and its importance for certain States.
Reference was made on several occasions to the threatened loss and disappearance of certain elements of folklore, particularly in the face of modem communication technologies which facilitate the importation of foreign cultures, thus replacing local cultural traditions and promoting the hegemony of imported cultures.
Most delegations underscored the need for an international instrument of some description for the preservation of folklore. Some delegations, however, expressed reservations as to the advisability of adopting a legally binding instrument. It was stated that although it would be premature to adopt an international instrument at that stage, that was the ultimate goal, while attention was also drawn to the prime importance of taking measures at national, rather than international, level.
A ‘Group of Experts on the International Protection of Expressions of Folklore by Intellectual Property,’ convened jointly by the Secretariat of Unesco and the International Bureau of WIPO in accordance with the decisions adopted by the General Conference of Unesco at its twenty-second session (October-November, 1983) and the Governing Bodies of WIPO at their fourteenth series of meetings in October 1983, met at Unesco Headquarters in Paris from 10 to 14 December 1984.
The Group of Experts, which was asked to consider the need for a specific international regulation on the international protection of expressions of folklore by intellectual property and the contents of an appropriate draft, deliberated upon that need and discussed, article by article, the draft treaty, formulated and presented by the Secretariats for consideration of the Group of Experts.
In conclusion, the Group of Experts noted that the Secretariats shall further explore various aspects of a treaty for the intellectual property type protection of expressions of folklore and shall prepare a revised text, in the light of the observations made, and the advice given by the participants, also considering possible alternative means of implementing the protection. The Secretariats shall communicate this report to the Executive Committee of the Berne Union and to the Intergovernmental Committee of the Universal Copyright Convention, and shall report on the present meeting to the respective governing bodies of Unesco and WIPO.
The Meeting of Experts to draw up a future programme of the Non-Physical Heritage was convened by the Director-General of Unesco, on the advice of the Member States in order to discuss the plans for the recently created subprogramme on Non-Physical Heritage. The purpose of the Meeting was to give shape to current concerns of Member States on inventorying, collecting, studying promoting and, above all, protecting the world’s Non-Physical Heritage from erosion and distortion. The Meeting took place from 28 to 30 November 1984 at Unesco’s Headquarters in Paris. The task of the Meeting was to adopt a working definition of Non-Physical Heritage or popular cultural traditions, to discuss methodologies for inventorying, collection and safeguarding and to establish an order of priority for future Unesco actions in this important area.
In pursuance of Resolution 15.1 adopted by the General Conference of Unesco at its twenty-second session and the decision taken by the Governing Bodies of WIPO at the fourteenth series of their meetings in 1983, the Directors General of Unesco and WIPO convened a Regional Committee of Experts on Means of Implementation in the Arab States of Model Provisions on Intellectual Property Aspects of Protection of Expressions of Folklore which met, at the invitation of the Government of Qatar, in Doha from October 8 to 10, 1984.
The purpose of the meeting was to consider the text of the Model Provisions for National Laws on the Protection of Expressions of Folklore Against Illicit Exploitation and Other Prejudicial Actions, adopted by the Committee of Governmental Experts convened by the Directors General of Unesco and WIPO in Geneva from June 28 to July 2, 1982, and to make suggestions on the means of implementation of the said text in the Arab States.
Experts from seven Arab countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia) participated in the meeting. Two intergovernmental organizations, the Arab Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States were represented in an observer capacity.
The Working Group on the Intellectual Property Aspects of Folklore Protection that had met in Geneva from 7 to 9 January 1980 had recommended that both Secretariats endeavour to inventory possible ways and means of protecting folklore at the regional level.
In order to give effect to that recommendation, and in accordance with the approved programmes and budgets of Unesco and WIPO for 1981-1983 and 1982-1983 respectively, these two organizations convened three Committees of Experts on the means of implementation at the regional level of model provisions of national legislation on the intellectual property aspects of folklore protection.
These regional Committees of Experts met in Bogotá (14 to 16 October 1981), New Delhi (31 January to 2 February 1983) and Dakar (23 to 25 February 1983).
Their reports were presented to the Intergovernmental Committee of the Universal Copyright Convention at this meeting.
The Director-General reports to the General Conference on the work carried out by the Secretariat in pursuance of 21 C/Resolution 5/03, adopted by the Conference at its last session, and informs it of the decisions taken by the Executive Board on this subject.