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Issues of gender and intellectual property rights impinge and impact upon heritage studies and practices, resulting from their cross currents and dynamics that undergird the management, production, consumption, engagement and safeguarding of intangible culture for the sustainable development of mankind. Global case studies confirm the fact that an integrated balance of the twin values of gender and intellectual property rights of indigenous peoples serves to promote the development needs, objectives and best practices of the living heritage and cultural expressions of communities in the context of the 2003 UNESCO Convention.(See UNESCO(2014).Gender Equality, Heritage& Creativity; Xing Xiaosu(2015).The intellectual property protection of Intangible cultural heritage; Skrydstrup, M & Wendland W(WIPO:2006) Protecting Intangible cultural Heritage: From ethical dilemma to best practices).
It is noteworthy that in the process of pursuing the seamless implementation of the noble goals and objectives of the 2003 UNESCO Convention stakeholders have identified with unease the numerous cases of gender and intellectual property dilemmas and complaints of abuses and exploitation which, in the main, become sources of perpetual challenges for the wholesome achievement of the peaceful and sustainable development goals of living heritage among humanity.
There is, without doubt, an urgent imperative for gender balance, mainstreaming and intellectual property rights recognition within the dynamic processes of achieving the safeguarding of living heritage. Intangible Cultural heritage is both a people focused and oriented life-sustaining process of growth with identified gender and intellectual property rights violations and gaps, within and outside the frameworks of the international and national cultural conventions/instruments such as the 2003 Convention.
Living cultural expressions come as knowledge owned, mined and leveraged upon by communities which was transferred from generation to generation. Such cultural expressions and their knowledge rights need intellectual property protection for the communities to produce, manage, safeguard and achieve wholesome ethical, sustainable cultural vision of their gender and intellectual property potentials.
In the context of the search for the gender and intellectual property content, rights, values and balance while implementing the processes of safeguarding of ICH, UNESCO achieves peaceful and sustainable development goals, ideals and objectives of the 2003 Convention. The implementation of the goals and objectives of the Convention remains a work in progress with outstanding gender and intellectual property rights issues still constituting sources of disempowerment and frustration for women and indigenous communities who still live in disturbing destitution, poverty and marginalization even as mankind is saddled with the complexity of achieving the sustainable development goals.
The Gender and intellectual property rights working forum of the NGO Forum of UNESCO therefore seeks rightly to work within the context of the NGO Forum, collaborate with the UNESCO ICH Secretariat and all stakeholders to give a sustainable gender and intellectual property rights meaning, interpretation, integration and mainstreaming balance. A full implementation of the 2003 convention with these twin values embedded in the processes of recognizing, promoting and managing the safeguarding mankind ‘s living heritage will help UNESCO and ICH stakeholders in achieving the larger sustainable development goals

The gender and intellectual property working group(GI&P) of the UNESCO NGO Forum will seek to guide, identify and integrate the concepts and twin values of gender and intellectual property lacking currently in the processes of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. Secondly, it will also work with UNESCO and the NGO Forum to increase capacity and knowledge that will further research, capacity for best practices on documenting and operationalizing the frameworks of both gender and intellectual property rights as different stakeholders collaborate and work out different safeguarding practices, programs and projects towards achieving an ethical, balanced and sustainable management of community/state goals of safeguarding the living heritage of mankind.

Intangible cultural heritage of humanity are also known as traditional cultural expressions (TCEs), “expressions of folklore”, are equally expressed as know-how for cultural expressions of creating folklore, music, dance, art, designs, names, signs and symbols, performances, ceremonies, architectural forms, handicrafts and narratives, or many other artistic or cultural expressions. These cultural expressions are known as living heritage of the 2003 UNESCO convention. They define the identity, knowledge systems and personality of different communities of different cultural groups of the world. Furthermore, they are common living heritage of humanity with same core values transmitted from generation to generation and adapted to different times and climes to account for the socio-cultural, economic and and political survival of great cultures .As they are transferred from one cultural group to another different cultural group mankind comes to the height of multi-culturalism, pluralism and multi-disciplinarity. Intangible cultural heritage has assumed the new vision of serving the mankind the sweet menus of cultural peace, respect for diversity and sustainable development of all.
Gender gaps, however, disturb wholesome maximization while denial of intellectual property rights to communities deny them the involvement and participation in the full enjoyment of their creative and innovative production and distribution of their living heritage. This increases community destitution, gender discrimination and sex disempowerment. For a wholesome achievement of the UNESCO 2003 Convention we need to work towards the recognition of the gender and intellectual property rights of the community bearers, holders and other stakeholders in the identification, promotion, production, inventorying, engagement, distribution and consumption of the ICH of humanity.
Towards this end, the membership of the GI&P working group will seek to generate innovative ideas, programs and projects which will, inter alia, achieve gender and intellectual rights balance and recognition of stakeholders engaged in its dynamic safeguarding, promotion and sustainable development.

Prospective members with interests, knowledge and passion to work with the group to achieve its objectives within the vision and framework already identified to promote the implementation of the UNESCO 2003 convention should contact the Facilitator’s email address supplying the following details of name, email, institutional affiliation, with suggestions for draft agenda, programs and action plans that will identify and document the gender and intellectual property  rights/implications of the UNESCO 2003 Convention.

Members of the Gender/Intellectual Property Working Group

  • Ani Casimir (Chairman of the Working Group) –
  • Jorge Gustavo Caicedo
  • Bagagana Abubakar
  • Laurier Turgeon
  • Ravi Sahu
  • Monalisa Maharjan
  • Rafer Majid
  • Norov Urtnasan
  • Emily Drani
  • Ahmet Akcan
  • Mark Schep

Dr Ani Casimir