IHP Intergovernmental Council Rules of Procedure

Approved by the IHP Council at its first session and modified in accordance with the amendment of the Council's Statutes by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 21st, 23rd and 28th sessions. The IHP Council amended article 26 on 'secret ballot' at its 14th session

I. Memberships

(1) The Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme (hereinafter called the "Council") is composed of 36 Member States of UNESCO, elected by the General Conference in accordance with Article II of the Statutes of the Council.

(2) Each State member of the Council shall notify the Secretariat of UNESCO of the names of the designated representatives as well as of the advisers and experts.

II. Sessions

1. Date and Place

(1) The first session of the Council shall be convened by the Director-General of UNESCO. The place and date of that session shall be communicated in advance to all interested Member States and organizations.

(2) Other sessions shall be convened by the Secretariat of the Council in accordance with the instructions of the Bureau of the Council.

(3) The Council shall normally meet at the Headquarters of UNESCO. It may meet elsewhere if so decided by a majority of the members.

III. Agenda

2. Provisional agenda

(1) The provisional agenda of the first session of the Council shall be prepared by the Director-General of UNESCO.

(2) The provisional agenda of the following sessions of the council shall be prepared by the Secretariat of the Council in consultation with the members of the Bureau.

(3) The provisional agenda shall be communicated to the members of the Council at least two months before the opening of each session.

(4) The provisional agenda shall be communicated at the same time to Member States and Associate Members of UNESCO which are not members of the Council as well as to the United Nations, FAO, WHO, WMO, the IAEA and ICSU.

(5) The provisional agenda of a session of the Council shall include:

- all items previously decided by the Council;
- all items proposed by Member States of the Council;
- all items proposed by the United Nations or by its agencies;
- all items proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO.

 

3. Adoption of the agenda

At the beginning of each session, the Council shall adopt the agenda for that session.

4. Amendments, deletions and new items

The Council may, during a session, modify the order of items of the agenda or add or delete items. A majority of two-thirds shall be required for the addition or deletion of items during a session.

IV. Officers

5. Election of chairperson and vice-chairpersons

(1) At the beginning of its first session, following a session of the General Conference at which elections to the Council have been held, the Council shall elect a chairperson and four vice-chairpersons. These, with the chairperson of the previous Bureau, who shall be an ex-officio member, shall constitute the Council's Bureau. The composition of the Bureau so formed shall reflect an equitable geographical distribution.

The members of the Bureau who are representatives of Member States of UNESCO shall remain in office until a new Bureau has been elected.

(2) Members of the Bureau are eligible for re-election.

6. General powers of the chairperson

(1) In addition to exercising the powers conferred upon him/her elsewhere by these rules, the chairperson shall have the following powers: He/she shall declare the opening and closing of meetings, direct the discussions, ensure the observance of these rules, accord the right to speak, put questions to the vote and announce decisions. He/she shall rule on points of order and subject to these rules shall control the proceedings and maintenance of order.

(2) If the chairperson ceases to represent a State member of the Council or is so incapacitated that he/she can no longer hold office, a vice-chairperson shall become chairperson for the unexpired portion of the term of office. If such vice-chairperson also ceases to represent a State member of the Council or is so incapacitated that he/she can no longer hold office, another vice-chairperson shall become chairperson for the unexpired portion of the term of office.

7. Functions of the vice-chairpersons

In the absence of the chairperson during a session his functions shall be exercised in turn by the vice-chairpersons.

V. Committees and working groups

8. Committees

(1) Committees set up by the Council in accordance with Article V, paragraphs 1 and 2, of the Statutes of the Council shall meet in accordance with the decisions of the Council or of the Bureau.

(2) These committees shall elect their own chairperson, vice-chairpersons and, if necessary, their own rapporteur.

(3) These rules of procedure shall also apply to meetings of committees unless the Council decides otherwise.

9. Working groups

(1) Working groups set up by the Council in accordance with Article V, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the Statutes of the Council shall meet in accordance with the decisions of the Council or the Bureau.

(2) These working groups shall elect their own chairperson, vice-chairpersons and if necessary their own rapporteur.

VI. Secretariat

10. Secretariat

(1) The Director-General shall place at the disposal of the Council such members of the Secretariat of UNESCO as may be necessary as well as other means required for its operation.

(2) The Director-General or his/her representative may make oral as well as written statements to the Council, its committees and working groups and to the Bureau concerning any question under consideration.

VII. Languages

11. Working languages

English, French, Spanish and Russian shall be the working languages of the Council.

12. Use of other languages

Any representative may make a speech in a language other than the working languages currently in use for a particular session of the Council or of a Committee on the condition that he/she provides a text for the interpretation of his/her speech into one or other of the said working languages.

VIII. Reports and documents

13. Reports

(1) The Secretariat shall submit a report to each session of the Council.

(2) The Council shall submit reports on its activities to each ordinary session of the General Conference of UNESCO.

(3) Copies of these reports shall be circulated by the Director-General of UNESCO in accordance with Article XI of the Statutes of the Council.

14. Working Documents

The working documents of each session of the Council shall, as a rule, be communicated to the members one month before the opening of each session.

IX. Meetings

15. Quorum

(1) A simple majority of the States which are members of the Council shall constitute a quorum.

(2) At meetings of subsidiary bodies of the Council a quorum shall be constituted by a simple majority of the States which are members of the Council and which are members of the body in question.

16. Publicity of meetings

All meetings of the Council shall be open to the public unless the Council decides otherwise.

X. Conduct of business

17. Right to speak

Experts and observers may, with the authorization of the chairperson, make oral or written statements before the Council and its committees.

18. Order of speeches

The chairperson shall call upon speakers in the order in which they have expressed the desire to speak.

19. Time limit on speeches

The Council may limit the time to be allowed to each speaker.

20. Points of order

During the discussion on any matter, a representative may at any time raise a point of order and the point of order shall be forthwith decided by the chairperson. Any representative may appeal against the ruling of the chairperson which can only be overruled by a majority of the members present and voting. A representative may not in raising a point of order speak on the substance of the matter under discussion.

21. Suspension, adjournment, closure

Any representative may, at any time, propose the suspension, adjournment or closure of a meeting or of a debate. Such a motion shall be put to the vote immediately. The order of priority of such motions shall be as follows:
(a) suspension of the meeting;
(b) adjournment of the meeting;
(c) adjournment of the debate on the item under discussion;
(d) closure of the debate on the item under discussion.

XI. Voting

22. Voting rights

Each Member State which is a member of the council shall have one vote.

23. Simple majority

(1) Unless otherwise provided in these rules, decisions shall be taken by a simple majority of members present and voting.

(2) For the purpose of these rules, the phrase "members present and voting" means members casting an affirmative or negative vote. Members who abstain from voting are considered as not voting.

24. Show of hands and roll call

Voting shall normally be by show of hands, except that any member may request a roll call. The vote and abstention of each member participating in the roll call shall be inserted in the report.

25. Voting on amendments

(1) When an amendment to a proposal is moved the amendment shall be voted on first.

(2) When two or more amendments to a proposal are moved, the Council shall first vote on the amendment deemed by the chairperson to be the furthest removed from the original proposal and then on the amendment next furthest therefrom, and so on, until all amendments have been put to a vote. If one or more amendments are adopted, the amended proposal shall then be voted on. If no amendment is adopted, the proposal shall be put to the vote in its original form.

(3) A motion is considered an amendment to a proposal if it adds to, deletes from or revises part of that proposal.

26. Secret ballot

(As amended by the IHP Council at its 14th session in June 2000)

(1) All elections shall be decided by secret ballot unless, in the absence of objections, the Council decides otherwise.

(2) a. Before the voting begins, the Chairperson shall appoint two tellers to scrutinize the votes cast.

b. When the counting of the votes is completed and the tellers have reported to the Chairperson, he/she shall announce the results of the ballot bearing in mind that the voting will be recorded as follows:

i. From the total number of Members of the Council will be deducted:
- the number of Members absent, if any;
- the number of blank ballots, if any;
- the number of invalid ballots, if any.

ii. The remaining number will constitute the number of votes cast. The majority required will be more than half that number.

iii. Those receiving a number of votes in favor, equal or superior to the majority required shall be declared elected.

(3) a. When a single elective place is to be filled, any candidate obtaining in the first ballot an absolute majority (i.e. more than half) of the votes cast shall be declared elected.

b. If no candidate obtains absolute majority in the first ballot, a second ballot shall be taken, restricted to the two candidates who obtained the most votes in the first ballot. The candidate obtaining a majority of the votes cast shall be declared elected.

(4) When two or more elective places are to be filled at one time under the same condition, those candidates obtaining in the first ballot an absolute majority of the votes cast shall be declared elected. If the number of candidates obtaining such a majority is less than the number of places to be filled, there shall be additional ballots to fill the remaining places, the voting being restricted to the candidates obtaining the greatest number of votes in the previous ballot, to a number not exceeding twice the number of places remaining to be filled.

(5) If necessary, in order to determine the candidates to participate in a restricted ballot, an eliminating ballot may be taken restricted to the candidates having obtained the same number of votes in the previous ballot.

(6) If, in the final ballot or an eliminating ballot, two or more candidates obtain the same number of votes, the Chairperson shall decide between them by drawing lots.

27. Equally divided votes

If a vote is equally divided on matters other than elections, the proposal shall be registered as rejected.

XII. Special procedures

28. Special consultation by correspondence

Should the approval of the Council be required for measures of exceptional urgency and importance while the Council is not in session, the chairperson may, by means of the Secretariat, consult the members by correspondence. The proposed measures shall be adopted if it is approved by two-thirds of the members.

  XIII. Amendment

29. Amendment

These rules of procedure, except where they reproduce provisions of the Council Statutes or decisions of the General Conference, may be amended by a decision of the Council taken by a simple majority of the members present and voting, provided the proposal for amendment has been placed on the agenda.

30. Suspension

Suspension of any of these rules shall require a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting.

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