Criteria and procedures for the celebration of anniversaries

Criteria and procedures, adopted by the Executive Board at its 195th, 154th (154 EX/Decision 7.7) and 159th sessions (159 EX/Decision 7.5) and amended at its 166th (166 EX/Decision 9.3), 176th (176 EX/Decision 47) and 179th sessions (179 EX/Decision 37), for consideration of the proposals by the Member States concerning the celebration of anniversaries with which UNESCO could be associated

​1.         UNESCO is associated with the commemoration of historic events and anniversaries of eminent personalities that are celebrated by Member States and Associate Members, with the aim of giving them worldwide significance in accordance with the overall mandate of the Organization, promoting peace, understanding and rapprochement among peoples and enhancing the visibility of the Organization.

2.         For each biennium, the Director-General shall address to the National Commissions a circular letter enclosing a simple form (annexed hereto) seeking detailed and precise information on their request. The circular letter shall be sent no later than 15 September of the first year of the biennium, the deadline for nominations being 15 January of the following year.

3.         Requests shall be submitted to the Director-General by the Member States through the National Commissions for UNESCO or, where there is no National Commission, through the appropriate government channel.

4.         Each Member State might submit a maximum of two requests, one of which preferably relate to gender equality.

5.         Submissions

(a)     Requests must be submitted as soon as possible and no later than the stipulated deadline, without exception.

(b)     Requests must, wherever possible, be submitted in electronic form, with a view to moving to exclusively electronic submissions in due course.

(c)     Requests submitted after the deadline shall not be considered.

6.         The Secretariat shall acknowledge receipt of Member States' requests 30 days after the deadline.

7.         Approval of requests. When deciding upon a request, the Director-General shall take into account:

(a)     the assessment of the request made by the relevant sector(s) in accordance with the criteria set out below;

(b)     the contribution that anniversary celebrations can make to the attainment of Member States' objectives in UNESCO's fields of competence and within the framework of the major priorities set out in the Medium-Term Strategy (C/4) and Programme and Budget (C/5) approved by the General Conference; preference may be given to the celebration of anniversaries of personalities and events that may be linked to events already scheduled as part of UNESCO's priority activities during the biennium;

(c)     the need to strike an equitable balance in the distribution of anniversaries by giving priority to Africa, least developed countries (LDCs), gender equality, , developing countries, countries in transition and small island developing States (SIDS);

(d)     the need to reduce and limit anniversary celebrations to a reasonable number;

(e)     the recommendation of the intersectoral committee tasked with screening anniversary requests, which must meet the criteria set out below.

8.      Criteria for the selection of anniversaries

(i)      Each proposed anniversary must be indisputably linked to the Organization's ideals and missions in the fields of education, culture, natural sciences, social and human sciences and communication and must promote closer relations among peoples, tolerance and the ideals of peace, cultural dialogue and mutual understanding among peoples. Preference shall be given to anniversaries linked to UNESCO's current priorities and if possible to high-level events that have already been planned.

(ii)      Commemorations of the birth, independence or institutional regime of a State will not be eligible for consideration; similarly the anniversaries of military events will be excluded.

(iii)     The anniversary must concern personalities of genuinely universal stature, nominated posthumously only and events of universal scope or at least of regional significance, indisputably known outside the borders of their own country, in order to reflect the ideals, values, cultural diversity and universality of the Organization.

(iv)     The anniversary must be a fiftieth anniversary, a centenary or a multiple thereof.

(v)     Subregional, regional or international events must be already planned ​for the anniversary and for the organization of which resources must have been allocated to hold them in the Member State or group of Member States directly concerned.

(vi)     All anniversaries should preferably be proposed with the support of at least two other countries or a regional group. Any anniversary proposed involving more than one Member State must be submitted by all.

(vii)    Requests relating to works of the intangible heritage – which comprise oral traditions and expressions, performing arts, social practices and rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe and traditional craftsmanship – will not be considered because they cannot be dated in time.

9.         Consideration of requests by the governing bodies.

(a)     On the basis of proposals by the intersectoral committee, the Secretariat shall prepare a description of each anniversary selected, which shall include relevant historical and biographical information.

(b)     This document will be submitted to the Executive Board for decision at its first session in the second year of the biennium. In addition, the Secretariat shall inform the Member States of the anniversaries that it proposes to select or to strike off the list, providing, in the latter case, the relevant explanations.

(c)     The Member States concerned shall have two months, as from the end of the session of the Executive Board, to reformulate, if need be, their requests concerning anniversaries that have been rejected on the ground that they do not appear to meet the criteria adopted.

(d)     Furthermore, during the appeal period, unrepresented or under-represented Member States may submit new requests.

(e)     The Executive Board, at its session preceding the opening of the General Conference, shall take a decision on the new requests, requests that have been the subject of an appeal and/or have been reconsidered by the intersectoral committee and, after reformulation, have been deemed by the Director-General to meet the criteria adopted.

(f)      The General Conference shall decide on the list of celebrations with which the Organization could be associated during the following biennium, as adopted by the Executive Board.

10.       Implementation

(a)     Implementation of activities relating to the celebration of anniversaries is the responsibility of the applicant Member State. The request submitted to the Director-General must include information on specific scheduled implementation start and end dates, cost estimates (in United States dollars), funds pledged or expected from Member States or private institutions and the website/application to be used as a communication tool;

(b)     The Member State must plan at least one subregional, regional or international activity (regional/international conference, exhibition, multilingual communication material, event/exhibition held at UNESCO Headquarters etc.);

(c)     In implementing activities relating to the celebrations, Member States are encouraged to mobilize UNESCO networks in the country/region(s) concerned;

(d)     The results of anniversary-celebration events, linked to UNESCO's objectives and priorities and to the Organization's flagship events, will be posted on the UNESCO website. The activity reports (listing the institutional stakeholders involved in the celebration, the activities carried out, the estimated number of participants, media impact and any other measurable results in connection with the anniversary celebration) submitted after completion of each anniversary celebration by Member States will be used by the Secretariat to evaluate the impact and results of the anniversaries programme and its consistency with the objectives and priorities set by UNESCO;

(e)     The use of UNESCO's name and logo for the activities approved under the anniversaries programme, in accordance with the directives approved by the governing bodies, will raise the profile of the programme when it is carried out nationally, subregionally, regionally or interregionally, and the beneficiaries will report on the results thus achieved;

(f)      In conformity with 30 C/Resolution 58, any contribution by the Organization to these celebrations shall be financed under the Participation Programme, in accordance with rules governing that programme. Nevertheless, in order to maintain a balanced distribution of funds from the programme, such financial assistance must remain exceptional and contingent on the submission of a priority request to the Director-General, with the required support in the case of a regional request.

11.       UNESCO will be associated with the celebration of proposed anniversaries only if the applicant, when submitting written requests to the Director-General, accepts the following conditions. The applicant must:

(a)     submit requests as soon as possible and no later than the set deadline. Neither the Executive Board nor the General Conference shall consider requests submitted after the deadline; the governing bodies will thus not be required to decide on requests that have not been previously evaluated by the Secretariat in accordance with the established procedure;

(b)     bear full financial and administrative responsibility for holding the anniversary-celebration events;

(c)     submit to the Director-General, on completion of the project, a detailed activity report on the results and their usefulness to the Member State(s) and UNESCO. The report must be submitted at the latest before the submission of new requests. It is understood that no new anniversary proposals will not considered until the Member State concerned has provided all of the requisite activity reports.

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