This seminar was organized in Joensuu in September 1998 on the basis of fifteen responses received by the organizing group to a questionnaire on the application of the Recommendation. Experts from fourteen countries took part in the seminar. The responses suggested that the main areas to be covered by the seminar should be:
Outline papers were delivered on four thematic areas: problems of culture, cultural heritage, new technologies, and cultural evolution.
Certain points were raised concerning a general view of life in contemporary Western Europe and the role of traditional culture and folklore within it. These points allowed for certain conclusions to be drawn that will help in the future development of both European and global heritage policies. These conclusions included the following:
Traditional culture and folklore have a great popularity today in terms of festivals, concerts, seminars, etc., and have become one of the most important features of culture today.
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 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.
Bamboo is one of the world’s oldest and most precious building materials. It has played a prominent role throughout
the tropical and sub-tropical belts of Asia, as well as in South America and Africa. In addition to its multiple uses in many aspects of life, its availability and ecological virtues, bamboo, like other sources of human inspiration, plays an important role in both oral and written traditions.
These traditions form a vital part of the cultural identity of the regions and peoples concerned, especially those in the
process of social and economic transition. To encourage the adaptation of bamboo’s traditional uses to contemporary
life, UNESCO organized this seminar in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.
A total of thirty-one participants (experts, representatives of research institutions, architects and observers) from some fifteen countries attended the seminar. They made concrete recommendations for governments of countries that produce and use bamboo, as well as for international organizations.
Japan Funds-in-Trust, $90,400
Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam)
The seminar was held in Mexico City in September 1997 with the following objectives, which were based on responses from questionnaires concerning the application of the Recommendation, submitted by eleven countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region. Experts from sixteen countries took part in the seminar:
The seminar concluded the following:
The establishment of the Center for Popular Cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean in Mexico was confirmed with two sub-centers in South America and one in Central America. It was proposed that a meeting of the cultural authorities of the region be held in Bolivia in 1999 to discuss the conclusions of this regional seminar and the application of the Recommendation in the region.
Mexico City (Mexico)
The international consultation of experts on the preservation of cultural spaces took place in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 26 to 28 June 1997. It was organized by UNESCO in cooperation with the Moroccan National Commission for UNESCO. This consultation was part of the follow-up to the Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional and Popular Culture (UNESCO, 1989) and to the work of Moroccan and international experts on expressions of popular culture in Marrakesh.
The objective of the consultation was:
In the 1970’s and 1980’s the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) organized a series of meetings concerning the intellectual property protection of folklore, as a result of which the UNESCO-WIPO Committee of Governmental Experts on the Intellectual Property Aspects of the Protection of Expressions of Folklore adopted, in Geneva in July 1982, the Model Provisions for National Laws on the Protection of Expressions of Folklore Against Illicit Exploitation and Other Prejudicial Actions.
In addition, the General Conference of UNESCO adopted at its 25th Session in 1989, the Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Cultures and Folklore, providing for measures that may be taken by the States for the identification, conservation, preservation and dissemination of folklore, its protection and the development of international cooperation.
On the basis of the above-mentioned Model Provisions and Recommendation, a number of member States of UNESCO and WIPO - particularly, developing countries - have introduced legal, administrative and other measures for the preservation and protection of folklore.
During the joint sessions of the WIPO Committee of Experts on a Possible Protocol to the Berne Convention and the WIPO Committee of Experts on a Possible Instrument for the Protection of the Rights of Performers and Producers of Phonograms, held in Geneva in February 1996, the delegations of a number of developing countries proposed that the issues of the protection of expressions of folklore should be addressed again at the international level. As a result of the discussions that followed, the Committees unanimously recommended to the Governing Bodies of WIPO that provision should be made for the organization of an international forum in order to explore issues concerning the
preservation and protection of expressions of folklore, intellectual property aspects of folklore, and the harmonization of the different reg
As this meeting is strongly linked with some of ITH Section activities and that ITH Section contributed to the publication of the report, we included it here while it hasn’t been co-organized by the section. The presentation below has been extracted from the report.
The Intergovernmental Conference on Language Policies in Africa, which was held in Harare (Zimbabwe) from 17 - 21 March 1997, was the first meeting of its kind involving language specialists attending as governmental experts and doing the preparatory work for and advising relevant government ministers from their countries who were also attending the same conference. This conference has had far greater impact than any of the previous ones on language issues in Africa, partly because of this combination within official delegations at such a high level of representation from almost all the countries on the continent, and partly because the whole conference was well focussed on coming up with something concrete at the end of the day.
All African Member States of UNESCO were invited to the conference and altogether 51 out of 54 African countries attended as follows: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
At the special invitation of UNESCO, India and Switzerland also sent delegates to the conference, while France, Germany and the United Kingdom sent official observers, as did five intergovernmental or international organisations (OAU, ACCT, AVA, British Council and UNESCO itself.).
The general aim of the Intergovernmental Conference on Language Policies in Africa (
Lacquerware originated in China approximately 3,000 years ago and spread to almost every country in east Asia. Its uses are broad, ranging from religious ritual abjects to architectural decoration, furniture, musical instruments and everyday utensils. Lacquer may be applied to a base material of wood, porcelain, bamboo, leather, paper, fabric, and even stone or metal. Although traditional techniques of lacquerware have been relatively well preserved in each country, it was thought necessary to bring the lacquerware masters of producing countries together to compare techniques and designs and to discuss common solutions for the future development of the lacquerware industry and its markets.
Twenty-two artisans and specialists from eleven countries, accompanied by a number of Myanmar artisans, participated in the workshop. An exhibition of lacquerware brought by the participating artisans was held during the
workshop. Participants also visited lacquerware workshops in Pagan and compared their respective techniques.
Japan Funds-in-trust, $76,840
As a follow up of this workshop, a publication has been made in the Memory of Peoples series in 2002.
At the request of the Vietnamese and Lao governments, UNESCO organized meetings in the respective countries. The main purpose of the meetings was to assist the Vietnamese and Lao authorities in establishing a national plan for safeguarding and promoting the intangible heritage of ethnic minorities. The population of these ethnic groups, of which there are fifty-four in Viet Nam and forty-seven in Lao PDR, is significant. In Lao PDR, for example, ethnic minorities account for almost half of the entire population, while in Viet Nam they represent approximately 10 % of the total population.
Following decades of war, at the beginning of the 1990s Viet Nam and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic re-opened to the world. An Assessment of the status of intangible cultural heritage of the ethnic minority groups is now timely and should play a significant role in the development of national cultural plans. This can be achieved by drawing on the knowledge of community members, practitioners, the experience of both international and national experts, and by developing and proposing joint projects to be carried out by national and international scientific and cultural institutions.
Fifty-eight participants (officials, experts, representatives of research institutions and private foundations and observers) from thirteen countries, together with their Vietnamese counterparts, attended the meeting in Viet Nam. Forty participants from nine countries and twenty Lao participants attended the meeting in Lao PDR. In addition to specialists on ethnic minorities, participants active in international or regional co-operation for safeguarding and promoting the intangible cultural heritage of minority groups in their own or other countries or communities also attended.
Funded jointly by the Japan Funds-in-Trust ($39,550), and the French Government ($8,000)
Vientiane (Lao People's Democratic Republic)
This was the first regional seminar on the application of the 1989 Recommendation and it was held in Strá nice in June 1995 on the basis of completed questionnaires submitted by twelve countries of the Central and Eastern European region. Experts from thirteen countries took part in the seminar.
The responses showed that, in the majority of countries in the region, preservation of traditional culture and folklore is not a priority in cultural policy although most Ministries of Culture support the work of professional institutions and civic associations in this area. Following the transformations in post-Communist states, all-round support for contemporary international mass culture emerged in reaction to the state’s previous support for folk cultures. Bodies active in protecting elements of traditional and folk culture face difficulties arising from the weak economies and ensuing lack of technical capacity in most post-Communist countries. In many states in the region, the 1989 Recommendation has become a significant instrument for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.
Other issues highlighted in the seminar include the following: