ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EVALUATION BODY FOR THE 2015 CYCLE
930.The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Bureau had met in the morning, noting that the Committee was behind schedule. The Chairperson appealed to Members to focus on the essence of the debates. He recalled the election for the new Evaluation Body in which Group V(a) resulted in an equal number of votes for Mr John Moogi Omare and Mr Sidi Traore. The Committee was therefore obliged to conduct a new vote to decide between the two candidates by following the same procedure as yesterday. The Chairperson invited the two tellers to join the podium, and gave Members five minutes to decide on their candidate before casting their vote.
931.Following the five minute pause, the Chairperson invited the Secretary to make the roll call to collect the ballots from each Committee Member.
932.The Secretary noted that the following Members had voted: Afghanistan, Algeria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Hungary, India, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Peru, Republic of Korea, Saint Lucia, Tunisia, Turkey, and Uruguay.
933.The Chairperson proceeded to the item 5.a, while the votes were counted.
934.ITEM 5.a OF THE AGENDA (Cont.):
EXAMINATION OF THE REPORTS OF STATES PARTIES ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION AND ON THE CURRENT STATUS OF ELEMENTS INSCRIBED ON THE REPRESENTATIVE LIST OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
Decision 9.COM 5.a
935.The Chairperson recalled that the debate on this item had commenced on the first day of the present session, but was suspended in order to allow time for discussions to take place between the States Parties concerned, which unfortunately were unsuccessful. The Chairperson remarked that the Committee should consider how this situation could be avoided in the future, adding that the periodic reports should not be a source of tension between States Parties. It was the Committee’s responsibility to do its utmost to prevent these tensions and situations. It was noted that the Secretariat would propose a mechanism in this regard. The Chairperson recalled that during the initial debate on Monday, the Committee had raised some questions, inviting the Secretary to respond.
936.The Secretary recalled that the debate on Monday had raised two main issues, namely, that States Parties were unable to submit their periodic reports on time, as required by the Convention, and that something had to be done to remedy this situation. The Secretary attempted to examine the possible reasons why this might be so. She surmised that the communication channels might be ineffective. The Secretary explained that notification letters were sent by the Secretariat 12 months before the reports were due to the Permanent Delegations of the States Parties concerned who were tasked to send the letters to the persons responsible for drafting the reports. However, occasionally the letters did not reach the desired recipient or bureau. It was recalled that a few years ago these letters were sent to the ministries in charge of relations with UNESCO, often ministries of education, but the problem of transmission was the same. For the time being, she did see any solution. Another impediment to the reporting process lay in the fact that it required a significant investment in time and resources, and that in a number of cases, there were insufficiently trained human resources to respond to the questions in the report. On top of which, States Parties wished to provide a rich and detailed account of their work in implementing the Convention in the presentation of their report to the Committee, even though the Committee was not judging their work but only sought to be informed on the State Party’s progress. Hence, the reluctance of States Parties to respond. Capacity-building was expected to improve this situation, but it was a long-term solution. In addition, States Parties had trouble understanding the requirements in the form. Consequently, the Secretariat had devised an aide-mémoire, similar to those for nominations, to facilitate the process. The Secretariat also provided assistance in the form of individualized feedback to help States Parties understand how they could improve their reports. With regard to the second issue, namely, how could the Committee help to encourage States Parties to submit their reports on time, it was noted that the Committee, in its decisions, encouraged States to submit their reports in a timely manner, but that the results were rather modest. The Committee could also impose conditions, for example, propose that States Parties could not submit nominations if they had not submitted their reports, as an incentive. It had been suggested at one point that category 2 centres might be able to help States Parties prepare their reports, whose role was quite clear for example in the World Heritage regional reports. At the level of the individual State reports, it was agreed that perhaps category 2 centres could help and provide support, but still, it remained a national responsibility.
937.On the issue of tensions caused by some reports, the Secretary explained that it was the first time this year that the Secretariat had received correspondence from one State Party concerning a periodic report of another State Party. It was noted that there was nothing in the current texts or in Committee decisions to guide the Secretariat on how to react, unlike for nominations to the Lists that had a mechanism in place to deal with such correspondence. The Secretary recalled that the Committee adopted its Decision 7.COM 15 in Paris in 2012 that provided the procedure for treating correspondence: i) correspondence is received; ii) it is transmitted to the submitting State concerned by the correspondence; and iii) the submitting State responds. All the correspondence is made available to the advisory bodies, as well as the Committee, if it received within specific deadlines. This would then lead the Committee and the advisory body to make a judgment on the nomination based on the potential problems it posed, not only for the submitting States but to the communities, civil society associations, and so on. However, this mechanism did not exist for periodic reports. The Secretariat therefore proposed to include a paragraph in the draft decision, which would provide a dedicated mechanism for treating and processing correspondence of this nature for the Committee’s next session, while applying mutatis mutandis the current procedure in place for nominations in case further correspondence was received on other periodic reports during the year.
938.Noting that the Committee had already debated the reports, the Chairperson proposed to go directly to the adoption of the draft decision, starting with the proposal by the Secretariat.
939.The Secretary presented the amendment in a new paragraph 5, which read: ‘Decides to apply to periodic reports, mutatis mutandis, the guidelines for the treatment of correspondence from the public or other concerned parties with regard to nominations, as found in Decision 7.COM 15, and further requests the Secretariat to propose for its examination at its tenth session guidelines specifically applicable to periodic reports.’
941.The Chairperson proposed to adopt the amendment by the Secretary, followed by the adoption of the draft decision as a whole.
942.The delegation of Turkey had a proposal to be added at the end of the decision, which read: ‘Requests the States Parties to work with the Secretariat to cleanse their documents from language inconsistent with the UN and Convention terminology and invites all States Parties to meticulously pursue this principle in their future work and resubmit their periodic reports if it is not submitted in accordance with this principle.’
943.The delegation of Latvia wished to return to one aspect of the general debate in the new paragraph 14, and which specifically concerned paragraph 97 on page 27 of the overview document, to delete the word ‘disadvantaged’ with regard to urban communities. It added that raising awareness of intangible cultural heritage was an issue not only for rural development but also for urban environments, and thus would be glad if the Committee could leave this conclusion more open to all kinds of urban communities.
944.The delegation of Belgium also submitted an amendment in paragraph 7, now the new paragraph 8, to enlarge the idea of communities, groups and if applicable individuals.
945.The Chairperson wished to begin with the amendment by Turkey, which the Secretary read out, as previously cited.
946.The delegation of Greece expressed its full agreement with the amendment by Turkey, but it had a reservation in the use of the word ‘cleanse’, which had negative connotations, and suggested using ‘withdraw’ instead.
947.The delegation of Afghanistan supported the proposal by Turkey. However, it wished to include the notion of ‘the spirit’, which would read, ‘language inconsistent with the spirit of the UN and Convention terminology’, as it was the spirit, aims and objectives that were important.
948.The delegation of Brazil associated with the remarks by Greece and Afghanistan, adding that it also had a problem with ‘cleanse’. It also suggested different wording to the proposed text, which would read: ‘Requests States Parties to work with the Secretariat in order to remove from their periodic reports any language inconsistent with UN resolutions and the spirit of the 2003 Convention.’ The delegation proposed the use of ‘spirit’ in the context of the spirit of the Convention. It also asked the Secretary whether it was necessary that States Parties ‘resubmit their periodic reports’, suggesting instead to delete this part of the sentence, as it appeared too harsh, unless the Secretary thought otherwise.
949.The delegation of Côte d’Ivoire followed the same direction as Brazil, questioning whether this principle would be applied to future reports or applied retroactively. With regard to the text, ‘pursue this principle in their future work and resubmit their periodic reports if it is not submitted in accordance with this principle’, the delegation believed that this principle must apply to future reports and not be retroactive.
950.The Chairperson concurred that this would only apply to future submissions.
951.The delegation of Algeria supported the proposal by Brazil to delete the last part of the sentence, adding that if States Parties worked beforehand with the Secretariat, the periodic reports should not contain any elements that were not in the spirit of the Convention.
952.The delegation of the Republic of Korea joined the two previous amendments.
953.The delegation of Turkey agreed with the pertinent amendment by Brazil.
954.The Secretarypresented the amended text, which read: ‘Requests States Parties to work with the Secretariat in order to remove from their periodic reports any language inconsistent with UN resolutions and the spirit of the 2003 Convention, and invites all States Parties to meticulously pursue this principle in their future work.’
955.The delegation of Brazil asked Turkey for its reasoning behind the use of ‘UN resolutions’, adding that it was not certain that this was the correct terminology, suggesting that it might be UN Charter or UN principles.
956.The delegation of Afghanistan felt that ‘UN resolutions’ was too precise, as it was not certain whether they conformed to the general spirit, and suggested replacing it with ‘UN statutes’. At the same time, the delegation found ‘and the spirit of the Convention’ to be repetitive, as this was contained in the mention of ‘Convention’, adding that it had proposed the use of ‘spirit’ earlier in relation to the United Nations, not the Convention.
957.The delegation of Turkey replied that it wished to make reference to established UN terminology, but would accept resolutions.
958.The Secretary presented the revised amendment, which read: ‘Requests States Parties to work with the Secretariat in order to remove from their periodic reports any language inconsistent with UN resolutions and the spirit of the 2003 Convention, and invites all States Parties to meticulously pursue this principle in their future work.’ Returning to the question posed by Brazil, the Secretary explained that by applying this principle, the Secretariat should be able to successfully resolve these issues when they occurred, but if they persisted, it would nonetheless bring them to the attention of the Committee.
959.The delegation of Latvia remarked that as this paragraph concerned future periodic reports, the word ‘remove’ could replace ‘avoid’, as the State Party would avoid inappropriate wording even before writing its report, and as such would not need to remove such wording.
960.The Chairperson turned to the latest amendment proposed by Latvia for adoption.
961.The delegation of Turkey agreed with the first part of the amended paragraph, but it was still in favour of resubmitting the periodic reports.
962.The delegation of Côte d’Ivoire remarked that with the amendment by Latvia, States Parties would be required to work with the Secretariat to avoid incompatible language in their periodic reports.
963.The Secretary presented the revised amendment, which read: ‘Requests States Parties to work with the Secretariat in order to avoid in their periodic reports any language inconsistent with UN resolutions and the 2003 Convention, and invites all States Parties to meticulously pursue this principle in their future work.’ It was noted that Turkey wished to maintain the text, ‘and resubmit their periodic reports if it is not submitted in accordance with this principle’, whereas Brazil proposed its deletion.
964.The delegation of Turkey did not agree with Latvia’s suggested wording ‘avoid’, as it changed the context of the paragraph entirely.
965.The Chairperson understood that Turkey agreed to Brazil’s proposal to delete the last part of the sentence, and to maintain ‘remove’, which was duly adopted.
966.The delegation of Turkey clearly stated that it wished to maintain ‘resubmit’.
967.The Secretary noted that the adopted decision had deleted ‘avoid’, proposed by Latvia, and maintained ‘remove’, proposed by Turkey.
968.The delegation of Greece wished to retain the last part of the sentence deleted by Brazil, because the submitting State Party should always keep in mind to draft the reports in line with UN resolutions and the principles of the Convention and its language, which were already known to the States Parties. Thus, if a State Party submitted a report that was incompatible with this principle, then it would have to revise and resubmit it.
969.Considering the Secretary’s response, the delegation of Brazil felt that it was a matter of employing a lighter tone in the paragraph, particularly as working with the Secretariat would help remove any inconsistent language from the periodic reports. Thus, it was enough to invite States Parties to pursue this principle in their future work, as the Secretariat examined the periodic reports, with the State Party effectively resubmitting its report. Otherwise, ‘invites all States Parties to meticulously pursue’ should be deleted, and after the ‘2003 Convention’, it should read, ‘requests all States Parties to resubmit their periodic reports if it’s not submitted [...]’. The delegation explained that there were two approaches: either the Committee invited States Parties to pursue this principle, or it requested States Parties to resubmit their periodic reports. Moreover, the delegation felt that the latter approach might create problems in the future as it opened a way for States Parties to start questioning each other’s reports, more than would be desirable. Thus, it preferred a lighter language that was more in line with the spirit of the Convention, dialogue and cooperation. In addition, if Members States wished to keep ‘resubmit’, then it should be consistent in that it ‘requests States Parties to resubmit’, and not ‘invites all States Parties’.
970.The delegation of Afghanistan spoke of its concern that the Committee in its own resolution appeared to reproach States Parties of not respecting the spirit of the United Nations, which in its opinion was conflictual and inelegant. The delegation believed that the proposal by Latvia, in the use of ‘avoid’ was more appropriate in a legal sense, and less confrontational than ‘remove’, even though the result was the same. The delegation explained that ‘avoid’ implied that the State Party should not undertake in the first place, while ‘remove’ suggested that the State Party first wrote inappropriate text before removing it. The objective was to avoid employing conflictual terminologies from the outset, which might create tension. It therefore supported ‘avoid’, not least because ‘removes’ imposed additional work on the Secretariat, in addition to the unnecessary negotiations that would follow. Moreover, States Parties represented governments and State entities at international level, and they recognized the meaning behind resolutions. It was noted that Algeria also supported the proposal by Brazil.
971.The delegation of Turkey understood perfectly the essence of being elegant, but being fair at an inter-State level on a UN platform was also very important. The delegation explained that it was not against any State Party or side, but rather it was trying to continue in the same vein of success that had been achieved with the help of the Secretariat in the spirit of collaboration and mutual adaptation. It commended all the States Parties, countries and neighbours that had made very special efforts to accommodate each other to bring about qualitative, positive change. The delegation further explained that it was maintaining the solid position of the Organization and at a high level of mutual accommodation vis-à-vis other practices. It therefore proposed to insert an additional word ‘retroactively’, so that it would read, ‘to remove from their periodic reports retroactively’, considering it an elegant contribution in line with the suggestion by Afghanistan.
972.The delegation of Egypt remarked that it preferred ‘UN Charter’ instead of ‘resolutions’, as it considered that States Parties abide by the Charter of the United Nations.
973.The delegation of Brazil remarked that the Committee could not adopt a decision that would be retroactive, not only would it create a precedent but was likely to be unacceptable in juridical terms. Understanding that Turkey sought stronger language, the delegation suggested ‘invites and further requests all States Parties to pursue meticulously’, though it insisted that it was uncomfortable in accepting the idea of resubmitting periodic reports, as it did not want to open a Pandora’s box where a State questioned another State’s report, forcing it to resubmit, creating tension and crisis rather than dialogue and cooperation.
974.The delegation of Saint Lucia remarked that there was a lot of merit in the remarks made by Brazil and Afghanistan, adding that these were periodic reports, meaning that they would be resubmitted again. They would thus go through the mechanism that was proposed by the Secretariat in paragraph 5, as well as the paragraph in question. Consequently, with the different cycles of periodic reporting, as States Parties reported more than once, the reports would be submitted through these mechanisms and thus not contain any language that is inconsistent with the UN Charter and the spirit of the Convention.
975.The delegation of Tunisia spoke of the need to use language that respected the spirit and Charter of the United Nations, and thus preferred to use the term ‘avoid’ as it carried a degree of flexibility and was elegant and appropriate in this context. As for the principle of retroactivity, the delegation felt that it would raise added problems.
976.The Chairperson noted that there were several opinions on the paragraph, and suggested making a decision on the proposal by Brazil to delete the last sentence. The Chairperson sought support from the Committee.
977.The delegation of Turkey made reference to paragraph 17 of Decision 8.COM 6.8, which reminds States Parties to take particular care in their periodic reports to avoid characterizing the practices and actions within other States, including expressions that might inadvertently diminish mutual respect among communities or impede intercultural dialogue. The delegation remarked that this was a starting point for those reports submitted that inadvertently contained language inconsistent with UN terminology and the Convention. It believed that the Committee had a legal decision on which to act and, accordingly, any reports containing inconsistent language could be resubmitted.
978.The Chairperson thanked Turkey for its opinion, reiterating that he sought support for the proposal by Brazil to delete the last sentence proposed by Turkey, asking the Members to raise their nameplates.
979.The delegation of Saint Lucia asked the Chairperson to repeat his request.
980.Repeating the request, the Secretary sought support for the deletion of the paragraph on resubmitting periodic reports that were not submitted in accordance with this principle.
981.The Chairperson noted that there was strong support for the deletion of the sentence.
982.The delegation of Turkey requested a vote count, adding that there was not a majority in favour of the deletion.
983.The Chairperson remarked that it was not in a voting procedure, but that Turkey could request a vote under the Rules of Procedure.
984.The delegation of Turkey sought a vote on the issue.
985.The delegation of Brazil felt that in this case the Committee should respect Turkey, adding that it had nothing against the idea of counting the Members of the Committee in favour of or against the amendment.
986.The Chairperson agreed and asked to see who was in favour of the proposal by Brazil to delete the paragraph.
987.The Secretary counted the following Members who were in favour of the proposal by Brazil. For: Afghanistan, Algeria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Saint Lucia, Latvia, Tunisia, Uganda, Peru and Uruguay. Against: Turkey, Greece and Kyrgyzstan. Abstentions: India, Hungary and Mongolia. Thus, 15 Members were for the deletion, with 3 against, and 3 abstentions.
988.As a result of the vote, the Chairperson pronounced the final sentence deleted.
989.The Chairperson turned to the proposal by Latvia to replace ‘remove’ with ‘avoid’ in the amendment by Brazil. For the sake of transparency, the Chairperson asked that the same voting procedure be applied.
990.The Secretary counted the following Members who were in favour of the proposal by Latvia: For: Afghanistan, Algeria, Belgium, Côte d’Ivoire, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia, Saint Lucia, Republic of Korea, and Peru. Against: Congo, Greece, Uganda, and Turkey. Abstentions: Bulgaria, Brazil, Ethiopia, Hungary, India, Nigeria, Namibia, Mongolia, and Uruguay. Thus, 10 Members were in favour, with 4 against, and 9 abstentions.
991.As a result of the vote, the Chairperson pronounced adopted the proposal by Latvia. He then turned to the proposal by Egypt to replace ‘UN resolutions’ with ‘UN Charter’, and suggest avoiding a vote, as this amendment was of a different nature. The Chairperson asked whether any Members of the Committee opposed the proposal.
992.The delegation of Algeria wished to return to the use of the word ‘retroactively’, adding that since ‘remove’ had been deleted; there was no need to retain ‘retroactively’.
993.The Chairperson recalled that Brazil also called for the deletion of the word ‘retroactively’, adding that this decision would be taken following the decision of the use of ‘UN Charter’ in place of ‘UN resolutions’. With no objections, the decision to use UN Charter was adopted. The Chairperson then moved to the question of ‘retroactivity’.
994.The delegation of Côte d’Ivoire supported the proposal by Brazil, adding that ‘retroactively’ was redundant with the deletion of the final sentence.
995.For the sake of transparency, the Chairperson called for a vote on this proposal, asking the Committee Members to show its support for the deletion of ‘retroactivity’.
996.The Secretary noted the following Members of the Committee in favour of deleting ‘retroactively’. For: Afghanistan, Algeria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mongolia, Latvia, Tunisia, Saint Lucia, Republic of Korea, Peru, and Uruguay. Against: Turkey. Abstentions: Kyrgyzstan, India, Hungary, and Greece. Thus, 16 Members were in favour, with 1 against, and 4 abstentions.
997.As a result of the vote, the Chairperson deleted ‘retroactively’ from the paragraph.
998.The Secretary returned to the paragraph, noting a slight divergence in the beginning of the second sentence. The paragraph currently read as follows, ‘Requests States Parties to work with the Secretariat in order to avoid in their periodic reports any language inconsistent with the UN Charter and the 2003 Convention’, then either ‘further requests’ or ‘invites’ ‘all States Parties to meticulously pursue this principle in their future work’.
999.The delegation of Afghanistan wished to replace ‘and’ with ‘as well as’ between ‘UN Charter’ and the ‘Convention’, adding that it was better legal language.
1000.The Chairperson noted the remark.
1001.The delegation of Côte d’Ivoire wondered whether it was worth repeating ‘States Parties’ twice and suggested replacing the second ‘invites the States Parties’ with ‘invites them’.
1002.Noting the remark, the Chairperson turned to the final issue between ‘requests’ and ‘invites’, seeking consensus with the word ‘invite’. With no objections to the adoption of the decision as a whole, Chairperson declared adopted Decision 9.COM 5.a.