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Mandate and function

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What is the Executive Board?

  • The Executive Board is one of the three constitutional organs of UNESCO (the others being the General Conference and the Secretariat) and it is elected by the General Conference.
  • Acting under the authority of the General Conference the Board examines the programme of work for the Organization and corresponding budget estimates submitted to it by the Director-General.
  • It consists of 58 Member States each with a four-year term of office.
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What are the functions of the Executive Board?

The EX Board represents the General Conference, exercises the powers delegated to it, and deals with the questions with which it is entrusted. In particular, the EX Board:

  • prepares the agenda of the General Conference and examines the programme of work for UNESCO and corresponding budget estimates submitted to it by the Director-General. It submits them to the General Conference with its recommendations (Const. Article V. B. 6a)
  • makes recommendations on the admission of new States that are not members of the United Nations (Const. Article II.2)
  • makes recommendations to the General Conference vis-à-vis the appointment of the Director General (Const. Article IV.7)
  • is responsible for the execution of the programme adopted by the General Conference and, in this connection, considers the reports on activities of the Organization submitted by the Director-General (Const. Article V.B.6.b, V.B.10)
  • summons extraordinary sessions of the General Conference (Const. Article IV.D.9)
  • summons international and non-governmental conferences on education, the sciences and humanities or the dissemination of knowledge, in accordance with regulations adopted by the General Conference (Const. Article IV.B.3)
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What is the role of the President of the General Conference in the Executive Board ?

The President of the General Conference sits ex officio in an advisory capacity on the Executive Board (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 9.1)

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What is the role of the Director-General in the Executive Board?

The Director-General or his representative participates, without the right to vote, in all meetings of the EXB, its organs and its Bureau. He may formulate proposals for appropriate actions of the Board and make either oral or written statements concerning any question under consideration (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 19)

At the Plenary, the Director-General

  • reports on the execution of the programme adopted by the General Conference
  • reports on the follow-up of decisions and resolutions adopted by EXB and General Conference at previous sessions
  • presents proposals for the draft programme and budget.

 

 

Membership

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What is an electoral group?

In order to correct an imbalance in the geographical distribution of seats on the Board, all members of UNESCO are grouped by regional Electoral Groups. There are the following six electoral groups:

  • Group I (Western European and North American States)
  • Group II (Eastern European States)
  • Group III (Latin-American and Caribbean States)
  • Group IV (Asian and Pacific States)
  • Group V (a) (African States)
  • Group V (b) (Arab States)

The 58 Member States are elected to the EXB according to this system of regional grouping whereby each region is allocated a specific number of seats on the Board.

(The Ex. Board of UNESCO, I, 8.1;   Rules of Proc. of the GC, app. 2)

The principle of “equitable representation” is applied for the establishment of committees, working groups and drafting groups.

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What is a "clean slate" and how can it be obtained?

In an election of the EXB or one of the subsidiary organs of UNESCO “clean slate” refers to the situation where the number of candidates is the same as the number of seats available for an electoral group. It may be obtained through negotiations inside electoral groups.

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What are the rights of observers at the Executive Board?

With the permission of the Chairperson of the commission or committee:

  • observers of Member States and of non-Member States may address the Board on matters under discussion.
  • representatives of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies may participate in the discussions of the Board and its subsidiary organs.
  • observers of intergovernmental or international non-governmental organizations and other qualified persons may be invited by the Board to address it on matters within their competence.
  • observers have no right to vote.

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 30)

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What are the functions and the rights of an alternate member representative to the Executive Board?

Alternates can be appointed by each Member State of the EXB. He/she shall act in the absence of its representatives in all his/her functions.

(The Ex. Board of UNESCO, I, 11.2)

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How to become a Member of the Executive Board?

  • The Executive Board Members States are elected by the General Conference.
  • At least three months prior to the opening of any ordinary session of the General Conference the Director General sends a letter to ask each Member State whether it intends to stand for election to the Executive Board.
  • Subsequent candidatures shall be admissible only if they reach the Secretariat of the General Conference at least forty-eight hours before the beginning of the ballot.
  • The election of Members of the Board shall be conducted by secret ballot.

(Gen. Con., Rules of proc., app.2)

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Who can join the Executive Board?

All Member States of UNESCO can join the EXB. Since the 27th session of GC (1993) the Board has consisted of Member States of UNESCO rather than of individuals in their personal capacity. Each Member State appoints one representative and may also appoint alternates.

(The Ex. Board of UNESCO, I, 11-11.1)

Chair

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What is the role of the Chairperson?

The Chairperson:

  • declares the opening and closing of meetings
  • directs the discussions
  • ensures the observance of rules of procedures and accords the right to speak
  • rules on points of order
  • puts questions to the vote and announces decisions
  • has the right to take part in the discussions
  • represents the Board with Member States, the United Nations, the Specialized Agencies, governmental and non-governmental organizations and the Director General
  • Is ex officio a member of all organs of the Board.

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 13)

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Former Chairpersons

  • Ms Alissandra CUMMINS (Barbados), 2011-2013
  • Ms Eleonora Valentinovna MITROFANOVA (Russian Federation), 2009-2011
  • Mr Olabiyi Babalola Joseph YAÏ (Benin), 2007-2009
  • Mr Xinsheng ZHANG (China), 2005-2007
  • Mr Hans-Heinrich WREDE (Germany), 2003-2005
  • Ms Aziza BENNANI (Morocco), 2001-2003
  • Ms Sonia MENDIETA DE BADAROUX (Honduras), 1999-2001
  • Mr Christopher J. CHETSANGA (Zimbabwe), 1999
  • Mr Pál PATAKI (Hungary), 1997-1999
  • Mr Nouréini TIDJANI-SERPOS (Benin), 1995-1997
  • Ms Attiya INAYATULLAH (Pakistan), 1993-1995
  • Ms Marie BERNARD-MEUNIER (Canada), 1991-1993
  • Mr Yahya ALIYU (Nigeria), 1989-1991
  • Mr José Israel VARGAS (Brazil), 1987-1989
  • Dr Ivo MARGAN (Yugoslavia), 1985-1987
  • Mr Patrick K. SEDDOH (Ghana), 1983-1985
  • Mr Victor MASSUH (Argentina),1980-1983
  • Mr Chams Eldine EL-WAKIL (Egypt), 1978-1980
  • Mr Leonard C.J. MARTIN (United Kingdom), 1976-1978
  • Mr Hector WYNTER (Jamaica), 1974-1976
  • Mr Fûad SARRUF (Lebanon),1972-1974
  • Mr Prem N. KIRPAL (India), 1970-1972
  • Mr Gian Franco POMPEI (Italy), 1968-1970
  • Mr Antilio DELL'ORO MAINI (Argentina), 1966-1968
  • Mr Mohammed EL FASI (Morocco), 1964-1966
  • Mr Rodolfo BARON CASTRO (El Salvador), 1964
  • Mr C. Edward BEEBY (New Zealand), 1962-1964
  • Mr Mohamed AWAD (Egypt), 1960-1962
  • Sir Ben Bowen THOMAS (United Kingdom), 1958-1960
  • Mr Gholam Ali RAADI (Iran), 1958
  • Mr Vittorino VERONESE (Italy), 1956-1958
  • Mr Arcot L. MUDALIAR (India), 1954-1956
  • Sir Ronald ADAM (United Kingdom), 1952-1954
  • Mr Paulo E. de BERRÊDO DE CARNEIRO (Brazil), 1951-1952
  • Count Stefano JACINI (Italy), 1950-1951
  • Sir John MAUD (United Kingdom), 1949-1950
  • Sir Ronald W.WALKER (Australia), 1947-1948
  • Mr Victor DORE (Canada), 1946-1947
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What is the role of the Vice-Chairpersons?

The Vice-Chairs are States Members of the Executive Board, each one representing an electoral group.

In the absence of the Chairperson during a session, his/her functions are exercised in turn by the Vice-Chairpersons.

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 15)

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Elections of the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairpersons

At the opening of the session following each ordinary session of the General Conference, the Board shall elect, from among the 58 representatives of the Member States elected to the Executive Board, a Chairman. The Board shall also elect six Vice-Chairmen from among its Members. The Chairman shall be elected by secret ballot. If the Chairman finds that there is a lack of consensus regarding the election of the Vice-Chairmen, an election by secret ballot shall then be held.

The Chairman shall not be immediately re-eligible. At the end of the two-year mandate of the outgoing Chairman, a new Chairman shall be elected from among the representatives of the other Members of the Board. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 10)

Structure

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What is the role of the Plenary?

The Plenary discusses policy questions on the basis of the Director General’s written or oral reports.

Among other responsibilities, the Plenary of the EXB:

  • approves the respective provisional or revised provisional agenda
  • examines its own agenda items (for example all GC items)
  • decides on the items to be referred to the commissions, and when adopting the timetable for the session it determines the time to be allocated to them
  • approves the PX and FA agendas
  • approves the provisional timetable of work
  • approves summary records of previous sessions.

The Board adopts the entire set of draft decisions recommended by each plenary commission (PX and FA).

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When does it meet?

The Plenary usually meets during the first three days of the EXB session and reconvenes the last two days to approve decisions.

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Who are the members of the Bureau and how are they elected?

The 12 Members of the Bureau of the Executive Board are (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 14.1):

the Chairperson of the Executive Board
Mr Mohamed Sameh Amr (Egypt)

the six Vice-Chairpersons countries of each electoral group

  • Netherlands
  • Albania
  • Ecuador
  • Bangladesh
  • Angola
  • United Arab Emirates

the five Chairpersons of the permanent commissions (PX, FA) and committees (SP, CR, NGP)

  • Programme and External Relations Commission (PX)
    Chair: Mr Porfirio Thierry Muñoz Ledo (Mexico)
  • Finance and Administrative Commission (FA)
    Chair: Mr Mathew Sudders (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
  • Special Committee (SP)
    Chair: Mr Amara Camara (Guinea)
  • Committee on Non-Governmental Partners (NGP)
    Chair: Mr Narayan Gopal Malego (Nepal)
  • Committee on Conventions and Recommendations (CR)
    Chairperson: Ms Marie Chatardova (Czech Republic)

The election of the Bureau takes place at the brief session of the Board held after each ordinary session of the General Conference (The Ex. Board of UNESCO, III, 32)

 

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What is the role and function of this Bureau?

The Bureau has the role of facilitating the Board’s discussions, particularly by recommending in advance specific questions for discussions under each item of the agenda. It does not have any decision-making power.

The most important tasks of the Bureau are to:

  • assist the Chairperson in his/her functions
  • ensure a balanced distribution of agenda items among the different sessions
  • organize the work of its sessions in such a way as to ensure that the examination of the issues relating to the preparation, implementation and evaluation of the Programme and Budget and the Medium-Term Strategy takes a central place
  • study questions relating to invitations to conferences and the conclusion of agreements with international organizations or other matters which do not appear to require debate and it transmits to the Board its suggestions as to required decision.

(The Ex. Board of UNESCO, III, 33)

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Subsidiary bodies: commissions and committees

The Executive Board has five permanent subsidiary bodies:

  1. Programme and External Relations Commission (PX)
  2. Finance and Administrative Commission (FA)
  3. Special Committee (SP)
  4. Committee on Conventions and Recommendations (CR)
  5. Committee on Non-Governmental Partners (NGP)

While all members of the Board are automatically members of both the PX and FA commissions, committees have restricted membership.

 

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Elections: commissions and committees

• All Members of the Board are automatically members of both commissions (The Ex. Board of UNESCO, III, 23)

• For each committee, the Board establishes from among its Members the representatives from each electoral group. The Board lays down the specific terms of reference and number of members of its committees for each biennium (The Ex. Board of UNESCO, III, 28)

• The Chairpersons of the commissions and committees are elected, in their personal capacity, by the Board by secret ballot from among the representatives appointed by the Members elected to the Board (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 16, 2)

• At the opening of each session and for the duration of that session, each commission and committee elects, from among the representatives of its Members, a temporary Chairperson, preferably belonging to the same electoral group as its Chairperson in order to replace the latter in the exercise of all his/her functions during his/her temporary absence (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 16, 2)

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PX and FA Commissions

The Board divides items between its commissions in accordance with the responsibilities implicit in their respective titles.

  • The PX Commission (Programme and External Relations Commission) generally considers questions relating to the programme and external relations.
    Chairperson -  Mr Porfirio Thierry Muñoz Ledo (Mexico)
  • The FA Commission (Finance and Administrative Commission) generally deals with financial and administrative questions.
    Chairperson – Mr Matthew Sudders (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

The Commissions meet simultaneously during the sessions of the Board and in a joint meeting.

At its first Plenary Meeting the Executive Board decides on the items to be referred to the commissions, and when adopting the timetable for the session it determines the time to be allotted to them.
(The Ex. Board of UNESCO, III, 23, 25 and 26)
In response to 33 C/Resolution 92, paragraph 5, concerning relations between the three organs of UNESCO, the Executive Board recommended at its 179th session “that, while maintaining the present structure and division of functions between the Programme and External Relations Commission (PX) and the Finance and Administrative Commission (FA), the Executive Board should pursue greater harmonization between the PX and FA Commissions and a more rational, efficient and less costly division of functions, leading to a more orderly, rule-based and transparent form of decision-making” (recommendation R.18 of the 179 EX/18)

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Committees

The Board lays down the specific terms of reference and number of members of its committees for each biennium. (The Ex. Board of UNESCO, III, 28) (Ex.Board, Rules of Proc., article 17)

Any Member of the Board may take part in the work of subsidiary bodies to which it does not belong. In such cases it shall not have the right to vote. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 30.5).

In addition to these Committees “the Board may also establish such temporary committees as it considers necessary for the execution of its task. The terms of reference of such committees shall be specifically defined by the Executive Board at the time of their establishment” (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 17).

 



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The Special committee (SP)

The Special committee (SP) is composed of 18 members, three from each electoral group. Its main functions are:

  • methods and machinery for evaluating the activities of UNESCO,
  • relations with the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations,
  • organization of the work of the General Conference and the Ex. Board.

In the light of recommendation R.19 (i) of 33 C/Resolution 92 concerning the report by the ad hoc working group on relations between the three organs of UNESCO, approved by the General Conference at its 33rd session and which has been appropriately implemented (179 EX/Decision 18 and 35 C/Resolution 100), the Special Committee (SP) should continue to meet only as needed and for the time necessary to fulfill the duties required of it by the Executive Board
The Chair of the Executive Board is authorized, in consultation with the Chair of the Special Committee, to identify future items that fall within the Special Committee’s terms of reference, for examination at future sessions (174 EX/Decision 20)

  • Chairperson: Mr Amara Camara (Guinea)
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The Committee on Conventions and Recommendations (CR)

The Committee on Conventions and Recommendations (CR) is composed of 30 members, five per regional group. Its mandate is to examine:

  • the periodic reports of Members States on the implementation of Conventions and Recommendations ;
  • all communications relating to cases and questions concerning the exercise of human rights in the fields of competence of UNESCO ;
  • the report of the Joint ILO-UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers ;
  • the reports of the Joint Expert Group (CR)/ECOSOC (CESCR) on the Monitoring of the Right to Education once a year.

Chairperson: Ms Marie Chatardova (Czech Republic)

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The Committee on Non-governmental Partners (NGP)

The Committee on Non-governmental Partners (NGP), composed of 23 members, four per regional group, studies:

  • general policy to pursue its dialogue with all relevant non governmental partners and the Secretariat with a view to promoting the input of those organizations to the work of UNESCO ;
  • any other matters concerning UNESCO’s cooperation with international non-governmental organizations, and, in particular, new applications for the establishment of formal relations.
  • Chairperson:  Mr Narayan Gopal Malego (Nepal)
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What rights do observers have in commissions and committees?

With the permission of the Chairperson of the commission or committee:

  • observers may address the commission on matters under discussion ;
  • any Member of the Board who is not a member of a committee may take part in the work of subsidiary bodies to which it does not belong ;
  • Observers have no right to vote.

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 30.5)

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What is a drafting group?

  • The Board frequently establishes temporary working groups and drafting groups to consider specific questions.

  • For example, a drafting group is established, on the basis of equitable geographical distribution, to prepare the draft comments of the Board on the Medium-Term Strategy (C/4) and the Draft Programme and Budget (C/5).  This group drafts the recommendations by the Executive Board on the Draft Programme and Budget (C/6) to submit to the General Conference.

Secretariat

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What is the role of the Secretariat?

The Director General shall place at the disposal of the Board a staff member who shall act as Secretary of the Board.

The Secretary of the Executive Board:

  • assists the Chairperson
  • prepares all meetings of the Board and its organs
  • attends all meetings
  • records the decisions
  • supervises the preparation of summary records
  • supervises the translation of documents and summary records
  • supervises the distribution of documents to Members of the Executive Board
  • carries out all tasks entrusted to him/her by the Chairperson of the Board
  • establishes and keeps up to date the archives of the Executive Board
  • prepares the publication of the EXB decisions.

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 20)

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Composition of the Secretariat

  • Mr Jacques RAO Secretary of the Board
  • Mr Michée DETINHO Senior Documentalist
  • Mr Alain HAZIZA Administrative Officer
  • Ms Inés MENS Head Documentalist
  • Ms Victoria MOORHEAD Senior Assistant (Chairperson of the Executive Board)
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How to contact the Secretariat

Sessions

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How often and for how long does the Executive Board meet?

The Executive Board meets in regular sessions at least four times during a biennium.
It holds two regular sessions per year.
It meets for two to three weeks each time.
There is a short session of the Board immediately after the General Conference. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 1)

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When are the sessions of the Executive Board held in private?

The Board has to deal with following questions in private meetings (The Ex. Board of UNESCO, IV,48):

• nominations for the post of Director General

• appointments to the Secretariat: the Director General informs the Members of the Board with regard to certain appointments, promotions or renewals of contract and reports on the proper application of the personal management system. 

• any other matters the Board may decide to examine in private meetings.

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How is the agenda determined for each session?

  1. The Chairperson of the Executive Board sends the draft provisional agenda to the Bureau to solicit comments or suggestions from Members of the Executive Board.
  2. At least 30 days before the opening of a regular session, Members will receive the provisional agenda prepared by the Chairperson which includes:
  • all questions referred to the Board by the General Conference
  • all questions proposed by:
    - the United Nations
    - Member States
    - Members of the Board
    - the Director-General
  • all questions the inclusion of which has been decided by the Board at the previous sessions
  • questions required by the Constitution, the Rules of Procedure or any other applicable Rules and Regulations

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 5)

3. Revised provisional agenda: the Chairman may prepare a revised provisional agenda to include any questions proposed between the dispatch of the provisional agenda and the opening of the session or any other necessary modifications.

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 6)

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When can an item be added to the agenda?

The Board may amend or add new items to the agenda any time before the Plenary of the EXB has adopted its respective provisional or revised provisional agenda. In session, items can be added to the agenda so adopted if so decided by a majority of the Members present and voting. Unless the Board decides otherwise, such new items shall not be discussed until 48 hours after their inclusion in the agenda.

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 8 and rule 22)

 

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How is the timetable elaborated?

  1. The Chairperson of the EXB prepares a draft provisional timetable of the items.
  2. The Chairperson of EXB sends the draft provisional timetable to the Bureau to elicit comments or suggestions from Members of the Executive Board.
  3. At least 30 days before the opening of a regular session, Members will receive the provisional timetable prepared by the Chairperson.
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What is the difference between the general and thematic debates?

The general debate takes place at every session and consists of the statements of Member States of the EXB on the Programme and Budget. The thematic debate is organized at specific times to consider specific matters. It usually includes the participation of a guest speaker.

By 182 EX/Decision 27, the Executive Board invites the Chairperson of the Executive Board to continue to arrange thematic debates, ensuring that the debate has focused themes with clear objectives linked to UNESCO's programme priorities and to major forthcoming items on the Executive Board agenda.

Working methods

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What is a point of order?

Points of order involve questions necessitating a ruling by the presiding officer, subject to possible appeal.

During the discussion of any matter a Member may rise to a point of order and the point of order shall be immediately decided by the Chairperson.

A point of order may relate to:

  • the manner in which the debate is conducted
  • the maintenance of order
  • the observance of the rules of procedure
  • the limit of the speeches
  • the way in which presiding officers exercise the powers conferred upon them by the rules

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 39)

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Can a non-member of the Board raise a point of order?

No. A point of order may only be raised by Members of the Board.

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What is a Draft decision (DR)

A draft decision is either a new decision relating to an item on the agenda or a draft amendment to an existing decision in a document.

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Who can present draft decisions (DR)?

They can be presented by:

  • any Member State of the Executive Board
  • Chairpersons or Vice-Chairpersons
  • a group of countries Members of the Board.
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How and when should a DR be presented?

The draft decision should be presented in relation with a document which relates to an item.

It can be presented any time before or during the session.

Unless the Board decides otherwise, it shall not discuss any items, except the reports of commissions and committees, until at least 48 hours after the distribution of the relevant documents in its working languages to Members present (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 22, 3)

The draft decision with appropriate signatures is processed by the Executive Board Secretariat and sent for translation and distribution to Board Members in the working languages of the Board.

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Who is allowed to take the floor?

All Members of the Board are allowed to ask for the floor at any moment.

With the permission of the chairperson, the floor can be taken by:

  • representatives of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies
  • observers of Member States and of non-Members States
  • observers of intergovernmental or international non-governmental organizations
  • other qualified persons invited by the Board to address it on matters under discussion.
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Does a Member have the right to reopen a debate on an item in the plenary after a decision has already been recommended by the commissions or the committees?

The Rules of Procedures establish that the Board shall adopt the entire set of draft decisions recommended by each plenary commission (PX and FA) as a whole (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 47)

However, a Member State can request that a specific decision be adopted separately and even if the draft decisions have been recommended by the subsidiary bodies, amendments can be made at this time.

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Order of speeches and time-limit

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Closing of list of speakers

During the course of a debate the Chairman may announce the list of speakers and, with the consent of the Board, declare the list closed. He may, however, accord the right of reply to a Member if a speech delivered after the list has been declared closed makes this desirable. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 33)

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Texts of proposals

At the request of any Member, supported by two other Members, discussion of any substantive motion, resolution or amendment shall be suspended until the text is circulated in the working languages to all Members present. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 34)

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Decisions involving expenditure

The Executive Board shall not take a decision involving expenditure unless it has before it a report from the Director-General on the administrative and financial implications of the proposal. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 34A)

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Withdrawal of proposals

A proposal may be withdrawn by its proposer at any time before voting on it has begun, provided that the proposal has not been amended. A proposal withdrawn may be reintroduced by any other Member. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 35)

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How is voting conducted?

Each Member of the Board shall have one vote. Voting shall normally be conducted by show of hands. In this case, if there is any doubt concerning the result of a vote, the Chairperson may take a second vote by show of hands or by roll-call (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 52)

After the Chairperson has announced the beginning of voting, no one shall interrupt the voting except on a point of order in connection with actual conduct of voting (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 49)

Types of voting:

  • Show of hands
    Voting shall normally be by show of hands. In this case, if there is any doubt concerning the result of a vote, the Chairman may take a second vote by show of hands or by roll-call. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 52)
  • Roll-call
    At the request of any Member, a vote shall be taken by roll-call; Members’ names shall be called in alphabetical order and the vote of each Member participating shall be recorded in the summary record of the meeting. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 53)
  • Secret ballot
    The nomination of a candidate for the post of Director-General shall be decided by secret ballot.
    All other elections and decisions relating to individuals shall be voted on by secret ballot whenever five or more Members shall so request or if the Chairman shall so decide. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 54)
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Simple majority

Decisions of the Board shall be taken by a simple majority of the Members present and voting, except where otherwise specified in these Rules. For the purposes of determining the majority, only Members casting an affirmative or negative vote shall be counted as ‘present and voting’; Members who abstain from voting shall be considered as not voting. (Ex. Board, Rules of Procedure, rule 50)

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Two-thirds majority

In the following cases a two-thirds majority of the Members present and voting is required:

Special procedures

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Nomination of Director-General

  • At least six months before the expiry of the term of office of the Director-General or as soon as possible in case of vacancy at any other time, the Executive Board shall invite Member States to suggest, confidentially, the names of persons who might be considered for the post of Director-General, requesting them at the same time to provide full biographical details regarding these persons.
  • The Executive Board shall consider in private meeting all the names so suggested, together with any proposed by Members of the Board, provided that no candidature shall be considered unless biographical details are available.
  • The person to be nominated by the Executive Board shall be chosen by secret ballot.
  • The Chairman of the Board shall inform the General Conference of the candidate nominated by the Board. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 58)
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Consultation regarding appointments to the Secretariat

  • The Director-General shall inform the Board of every appointment, promotion or renewal of a contract of officials at D-1 level and above that has taken place since the previous session and report on the proper application of the personnel management system.
  • The Director-General shall consult the Executive Board in private meeting at least once every two years regarding the structure of the Secretariat and, in particular, on any important changes he contemplates making in it and on any questions of policy involved in making appointments to senior posts in the Secretariat. On this occasion, the Executive Board shall review any appointments or renewals of contract, referred to in paragraph 1, which the Director-General may have made since the Board’s last private meeting for purposes of consultation. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 59)
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Special consultation by correspondence

Should the approval of the Executive Board be required for measures of exceptional urgency and importance while the Board is not in session, the Chairman may, if he judges proper, consult the Members by correspondence. The proposed measures shall be adopted if they are approved by two thirds of the Members. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 60)

Information meetings

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What is the purpose of information meetings?

As stipulated in the Annex of 155 EX/Decision 5.4, paragraph 22, information meetings are held between representatives and alternates of the States Members of the Executive Board resident at Headquarters and the Director-General to enable the Board to perform its monitoring functions, particularly on the progress of programme implementation.

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Who can participate?

The information meetings are open to all UNESCO's Member States (169 EX/Decision 4.2)

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When do they meet?

Since its inception in 1999, one information meeting was held annually, except in 2007 when the Board felt the need to hold such a meeting twice.

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How are they prepared?

  1. The Chairman fixes the date of each information meeting and sends a letter of invitation to the Board Members and Permanent Delegations of the Member States.
  2. Board Members are requested to submit written questions in advance to the Chairman of the Executive Board. A deadline is set for the submission of these questions.
  3. All questions submitted to the Chairman are forwarded to the Office of the Director-General. A consolidated list of these questions or subjects, prepared in English and French, is distributed to the Board members before the meeting. This serves as a guideline both for the Director-General's preliminary remarks and for the Board members during the meeting.
  4. The Chairman, in consultation with the Director-General, defines beforehand the procedure to be followed particularly during the question-and-answer period, to ensure a the smooth functioning of information meetings. The scenario is either distributed to the Board members before the meeting or, as it is often the case, communicated to the Board members by the Chairperson of the Board through his/her opening remarks.
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What sort of questions should be submitted?

To address the concern for a more spontaneous and dynamic dialogue during the meeting, the Member States are invited to submit questions that deal mainly with the progress made by the Secretariat in respect of decisions adopted by the Executive Board at its previous session or with items of direct relevance to its following session. They are also enjoined to raise precise, clear questions on follow-up to past Board decisions and the priorities figuring on the agenda of the following Board session.

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Is there a final report?

A report on the proceedings of the information meeting is sent to all Member States in English and French, normally a month after the meeting.

Documentation

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What are the different categories of documents of the Executive Board?

They are:

  • documents of the main series
  • information documents
  • private documents (yellow paper)
  • draft decisions (pink paper)
  • decisions
  • summary records.

All documents are posted in the official languages of the Organization as soon as the respective language versions become available. The document code is usually on the top right of the first page.

Standard abbreviations are used in the document’s code to denote certain shared attributes for common structure or a specific type of data content:

  • Number for the session, the abbreviation EX and the serial number of the document
  • The reference code EX/Decisions
  • Reference code EX/INF are published in English and French only
    Information documents intended for subsidiary bodies (EX/PX/INF)
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What are the abbreviations of documents?

Standard abbreviations are used in the document code to denote certain shared attributes, e.g. a common structure or a specific type of data content.

  • 169/EX...: The number of the session of the Executive Board
  • .../EX/... : Board document
  • .../EX/1, 2, etc: Documents in the main series of documents of the Board
  • .../EX/1: Agenda of the Board
  • .../EX/PX/... : Agenda or timetable of the Programme and External Relations Commission
  • .../EX/FA/... : Agenda or timetable of the Financial and Administrative Commission
  • .../EX/CR/... : Documents of the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations
  • .../EX/SP/... : Agenda of the Special Committee
  • .../EX/ONG/... : Agenda of the Committee on International Non-Governmental Organizations
  • .../EX/INF.1, 2, etc. : Information documents of the Board
  • .../EX/INF.1 : Timetable of the Board
  • .../EX/PLEN/DR... : Draft Decisions submitted in plenary meetings of the Board
  • .../EX/PX/DR... : Draft Decisions submitted in PX Commission
  • .../EX/FA/DR... : Draft Decisions submitted in FA Commission
  • .../EX/PX/FA/DR... : Draft Decisions submitted in PX and FA Commissions
  • .../EX/CR/DR... : Draft Decisions submitted in CR Committee
  • .../EX/SP/DR... : Draft Decisions submitted in SP Committee
  • .../EX/PRIV : Private documents of the Board
  • .../EX/Decisions : Decisions of the Board
  • .../EX/SR : Summary Records of the Board
  • .../EX/PRIV/SR : Summary records of the private sessions of the Board

General Conference documents used at the Board:

  • ...C/3 : Report of the Director-General on the activities of the Organization in the previous biennium to the General Conference
  • ...C/4 : Medium-term Strategy (six-year period)
  • ...C/5 : Programme and Budget for the biennium
  • ...C/6 : Recommendations by the Board on the Draft Programme and Budget
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When are the documents of the Executive Board distributed?

At least 30 days before the opening of the session of the Board, the following documents shall be distributed to members of the Board:

  • documents relating to items on the provisional agenda of each session
  • the proposed programme and budget to be submitted to the General Conference in its working languages (submitted for the Board’s consideration at the session before the General Conference)
    (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 22)

Unless the Board decides otherwise, it shall not discuss any items, except the reports of commissions and committees, until at least 48 hours after the distribution of the relevant documents in its working languages to Members present (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 22.3)

One month following the session, decisions adopted by the Board are issued in the six working languages (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 24)

The Director General communicates all documents and final summary records of public meetings of the Board, and the text of the decisions adopted at each session, to Member States, National Commissions, the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies immediately on publication. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 26)

 

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How many copies does the representative to the Board receive from the Secretariat of the Executive Board?

Every representative to the EXB receives one copy from the EXB’s Secretariat. When the representative lives outside Paris, the respective Delegation of that Member State also receives one copy from the EXB’s Secretariat.

It should be noted that additional copies of Board documents are distributed to Member States, including delegations and National Commissions, by UNESCO’s documentation distribution service.

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Where are documents located?

All public documents of the Executive Boardcan be found:

  • on the Executive Board website
  • UNESDOC@lerts (UNESCO documents and publications subscriptions)
  • in Office D.060 (for the documents of the latest session)
  • on the CD-Rom distributed to members of the Executive Board.

Practical information

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What privileges and immunities do the members of the Executive Board have?

Representatives of Members of the EXB and their alternates enjoy, during their stay in France on official duty, such facilities, privileges and immunities as are accorded to diplomats of equal rank belonging to foreign diplomatic missions accredited to the Government of the French Republic (The Ex. Board of UNESCO, I., 15-16)

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What are the entitlements of members of the Board?

Members of the EXB are entitled, inter alia, to the following:

The representatives and alternates appointed by Members of the Board shall not, during their term of office, accept from the Organization payment of any expenses or allowances other than those provided for in (Ex.Board, Rules of Proc., rules 61, 62 and 63). They shall not receive any fees or remuneration from the Organization during their term of office (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 64)

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Where are the cloakrooms and lockers and how do Members get access to them?

  • A cloakroom is at the disposal of representatives of Members of the Board beside Room X. Each representative keeps the key of his/her own cupboard until the end of his/her mandate.
  • A key can be obtained in office D.060.
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How can a Member obtain more information?

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