How is the agenda determined for each session?
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
How is the timetable elaborated?
- The Chairperson of the EXB prepares a draft provisional timetable of the items.
- The Chairperson of EXB sends the draft provisional timetable to the Bureau to elicit comments or suggestions from Members of the Executive Board.
- At least 30 days before the opening of a regular session, Members will receive the provisional timetable prepared by the Chairperson.
Point of order
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Conduct of business
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.
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.
Order of speeches and time-limit
- Order of speeches
The Chairman shall call upon speakers in the order in which they signify their wish to speak.
(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 31)
- Time-limit on speeches
The Board may limit the time to be allowed to each speaker. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 32)
- Order of speeches
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
- Show of hands
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)
In the following cases a two-thirds majority of the Members present and voting is required:
- reconsideration of proposals (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 45);
- consultation by correspondence (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 60);
- amendment of Rules of Procedure (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 66);
- suspension of Rules of Procedure (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 67);
- establishment, before each session of the General Conference, of the list of States not Members of UNESCO which are to be invited to send observers to that session. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 51)
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)
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)
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)