of the Latin American and the Caribbean Regional Seminar
by Olivia Cadaval and Peter Seitel
American and Caribbean Seminar met in a historical context shaped by evolving
UNESCO policies on intangible cultural heritage and by political and social
change in the countries in the area, and on a global scale, by the transformation
of socialist countries, rapid technological development, and a globalizing world
economy that has led to globalization of culture. The increasing participation
of indigenous and peasant groups in cultural policy discussions is also an important
on responses to the questionnaire circulated by UNESCO about the application
of the 1989 Recommendation, the seminar defined four principal problem
- the absence of
folklore in state cultural policies and funding initiatives, the fine arts
being the sole form of culture represented in these;
- the marginalization
of cultural policy in general in the national projects of countries in the
- the privileging
of recovery and salvage of traditions over the stimulation of cultural creativity
where folklore and traditional culture are attended to at all;
- the indifference
of the mass media to traditional culture in most countries
These areas formed
the basis for discussions, which resulted in the following recommendations to
- formation of a
Regional Center on Latin American and Caribbean Traditional Culture and Folklore,
with a central office in Mexico and three regional offices, two in South America
and one in Central America, which would pursue the following work: promote
documentation of traditional culture using advanced technology; promote regional
interchange of information; create a regional information and documentation
network; call a meeting to further the conclusions drawn by the present Seminar;
create training workshops for promoters of folklore; create an annual prize
for individual or collective creators of traditional culture; declare regional
creole languages of African origin part of the intangible cultural heritage
of humanity and Bolivia’s Oruro carnival an intangible cultural heritage site;
call a meeting of experts to support the legal protection of intangible culture;
- urging Member
States to allocate a sufficient budget to carry out projects related to traditional
culture and folklore;
- improvement of
distribution of UNESCO documents and recommendations;
- promotion of the
exchange of experiences in developing national laws, projects, and agendas
to protect traditional culture
Member States included the following:
- Stimulate decentralization,
giving priority to conservation and promoting it by including traditional
culture and folklore in the education system.
- Promote and diffuse
documentation and classification of native languages.
- Guarantee conditions
necessary to the creation or maintenance of sites for expression of traditional
culture, especially traditional fiestas in danger of extinction.
- Establish legislation
to promote traditional culture in the media.
- Give prominence
to UNESCO’s “Living Human Treasures” project.
- Stimulate cultural
tourism and implement national and regional salvage and conservation policies.
- Promote laws to
protect and incentives to support traditional culture and folklore.
- Promote a permanent
dialogue with NGOs and other organizations to incorporate their experiences
into public policy.
In Bolivia work has
begun to establish a national folklore council and laws to protect traditional
expressions from plagiary and misrepresentation. The author thanks UNESCO and
collaborating organizations and looks forward to concrete projects in which
she is sure Bolivia will play an important role.