30 May to 1 June 2016 summary records of the fifth session of the general assembly unesco headquarters, 2 to 4 June 2014


DISTRIBUTION OF SEATS IN THE COMMITTEE PER ELECTORAL GROUP



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DISTRIBUTION OF SEATS IN THE COMMITTEE PER ELECTORAL GROUP

Document: ITH/14/5.GA/9 Rev

Resolution: 5.GA 9

[The Chairperson reprised his role]

  1. The Chairperson welcomed the Assembly to the new meeting room and thanked the ViceChairperson for his chairmanship, noting the good progress made so far, which would see the likelihood of completing the proceedings one day ahead. The Chairperson then turned to the two substantive and important items on the agenda: item 9 concerning the distribution of seats on the Committee for electoral groups, and item 10 concerning the election of members of the Committee, as well as item 11 and other business. The Chairperson informed the Assembly that it would share the discussion of the Bureau on the UNESCO audit, which was requested in 37 C/Resolution 96 of the General Conference under item 11. The Chairperson gave the floor to the Secretariat to give background information on item 9.

  2. The Secretary referred to document 9 Rev, as well as the application of three rules. The first rule was that Article 6.1 of the Convention provided that the election of States Members of the Committee would obey the principles of equitable geographic representation and rotation. The second rule was that Rule 13.2 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly provided that seats would be distributed at each session of the General Assembly ‘in proportion to the number of States Parties from each group, provided that after such distribution at least three seats have been attributed to each group’. Finally, the third rule was Resolution 3.GA 12 of the General Assembly that stated, ‘The principle of proportionality shall be rigorously applied to future elections strictly on the basis of mathematical calculation’. Thus, paragraph 4 of document 9 Rev. established the distribution of seats on a mathematical calculation based on 158 States Parties at the time of the present election, with a minimum number of three seats first attributed to electoral Group I and Group V(b). The 18 remaining seats were then apportioned to the four remaining groups, beginning with the group with the highest decimal fraction, which was Group V(a), to which six seats were assigned. The remaining 12 seats were distributed among the other three groups, beginning with the group with the second highest decimal fraction, which was Group IV, to which five seats were assigned, leaving four seats for Group III and three for Group II. The Secretary recalled that the General Assembly was called upon at each of its sessions to determine the distribution of seats, adding that it was free to adopt a different seat allocation than the one proposed in the document, providing it respected the principles of equitable geographical representation and rotation, and its own Rules of Procedure. The Secretary further explained that the proposed distribution of seats would be exactly equal to those presented in the case of universal ratification of the Convention. However, until universal ratification the proportion could change and as a result the distribution of seats among the electoral groups.

  3. The Chairperson thanked the Secretary for her presentation, adding that the election always raised questions among States Parties as ratifications increased with every Assembly and small adjustments to realign distribution were thus necessary. Of course, the closer the Assembly came to universal ratification, the more stable seat distribution would become.

  4. The delegation of Slovakia remarked that the decision on the distribution of seats was one thing, but that the number of seats to be decided minutes before the vote was another. The delegation was troubled by a voting system in which candidates were known only
    10 minutes before the election underlining that nominations for the Committee was a serious matter often decided by governments after lengthy consultations.

  5. Further to the remarks by Slovakia, the delegation of Bulgaria added that a future rethink of the announcement of new distribution of seats would avoid immense difficulties for governments in the future when deciding to present their candidacies to the Committee.

  6. The delegation of Lithuania supported colleagues from Group II, and although it understood that the decision to assign a minimum of three seats per electoral group was not decided at the present General Assembly, it wondered whether the rules might be reviewed in the future. It explained that Group II with 24 countries had three assigned seats and Group I with 20 countries also had three assigned seats, while Group III with
    29 countries had four seats. Thus, with just one ratified country in Group III an additional seat was assigned, while there were eight more countries in Group II compared to Group V(b) with the same number of seats.

  7. The delegation of Congo understood that the Secretariat was providing information on how the seat distribution had been calculated and not to open debate on what had been decided in previous sessions of the General Assembly. Thus, if States Parties disagreed with the allocation, they could request the issue be tabled for discussion at the next General Assembly but that seat allocation was fixed in the present session and could not be questioned.

  8. The delegation of Afghanistan agreed that the remarks by Congo had confirmed the timeline of the election and legal perspective, and that the General Assembly was not competent to discuss the issue. Item 9 was simply to provide information, and the delegation proposed to end the debate.

  9. The delegation of Côte d’Ivoire supported the intervention by Congo.

  10. The Chairperson was of the understanding that the concern was based on the timing of the election and that there was no suggestion of changing the agenda. The Chairperson hoped the Assembly agreed, and proposed to proceed with the next point.

  11. The Secretary fully understood and acknowledged the difficulty with regard to the timing, and proposed that in future the Secretariat place the agenda item on the number of seats at the beginning of the General Assembly with the election placed at the end. It could not, however, fix the number of seats before the Assembly’s decision because it was linked to the membership of States Parties, which could not, by definition, be decided two years prior to the General Assembly. The Secretary thus suggested placing this item immediately after the adoption of the agenda at the next General Assembly.

  12. With the general agreement, the Chairperson remarked that the intervention had been considered and that the matter was heading in a positive direction.

  13. The Chairperson repeated the allocation of the 24 seats for the following Committee: Group I – 3 seats; Group II – 3 seats; Group III – 4 seats; Group IV – 5 seats; Group V(a) – 6; and Group V(b) – 3 seats. With no further comments, the Chairperson declared Resolution 5.GA 9 adopted.

ITEM 10 OF THE AGENDA:

ELECTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE

Document: ITH/14/5.GA/10

Document: ITH/14/5.GA/INF.10 Rev.4

Resolution: 5.GA 10

  1. The Secretary introduced the next item on the election of members to the Committee. Pursuant to Article 14 of the Rules of Procedure, the Secretariat had requested
    (three months before the opening of the present session) that all States Parties indicate whether they intended to stand for election to the Committee; the provisional list of candidates was then published six weeks before the opening of the General Assembly. The list of candidates had since been revised several times (owing to withdrawals and the updates on contributions from Bureau of Financial Management) and the current version was provided in document INF.10 Rev.4. The Secretary informed the Assembly that all the candidates in the election had satisfied their obligations for 2013 and were, therefore, eligible to stand. To proceed with the election, the Secretary asked for two volunteers to act as tellers.

  2. The Chairperson noted that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Malaysia had volunteered as tellers. With no objections, the delegations were invited to join the podium.

  3. Referring to document 10 Rev.4, the Secretary read out the names of the candidates for election: Group I – France, Italy and Turkey (candidates for a single vacant seat); Group II – Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia (candidates for two vacant seats); Group III – Guatemala and Saint Lucia (candidates for a single vacant seat); Group IV – Afghanistan, India, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and Samoa (candidates for four vacant seats); Group V(a) – Botswana, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia (candidates for three vacant seats); and Group V(b) – Algeria and Mauritania (candidates for a single vacant seat).

  4. The Chairperson asked the Assembly whether it considered the list definitive.

  5. The delegation of Slovakia noted that the Assembly had adopted a decision on the redistribution of seats on the Committee, Electoral Group II, to which Slovakia belonged, with only three seats instead of four. The delegation cautioned against the use of international systems that based decisions solely on mathematical calculations, adding that this was akin to a powerful computer replacing the Assembly, which would then be a law onto itself. The role of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Rapporteur would be defunct, like a computer, simply giving results. In the spirit of cooperation, Slovakia took the decision to withdraw its candidacy. It thanked States Parties that had intended to give it their vote, adding that the logic of cooperation prevailed over competition, thus opening the way to consensus in Group II.

  6. The Chairperson congratulated Slovakia on its decision [Applause]. Returning to the election, the Chairperson explained that the Secretariat would distribute five ballots to each State Party – one for each electoral group. Each State Party should vote for all electoral groups, not only for the group of which it was a member. The candidates obtaining the greatest number of votes up to the number of seats available in each electoral group would be elected. Each ballot contained the number of all the candidates in the group, with an indication of the number of vacant seats. States Parties were invited to encircle the names of the States for which they wished to vote. The Rules of Procedure required that the name of the State Party be encircled, with the tellers disqualifying any ballot that was incorrectly marked. In the same way, States Parties should not encircle more names than the number of vacant seats per electoral group or the ballot would be considered void. Ballots should be placed and sealed in the envelope provided. The absence of a ballot in the envelope for one or more electoral groups would be considered an abstention in that electoral group. States Parties were given 10 minutes to complete their ballots and a voting booth was made available.

  7. The delegation of Palestine remarked that it had not received the bulletin for Group II.

  8. The Secretary explained that there was no ballot for Group II as a result of Slovakia’s withdrawal. Thus, there were only five electoral groups to vote for.

[The session was suspended for 10 minutes for voting]

  1. The Chairperson invited the Secretary to conduct a roll call to collect the ballots from each delegation, which was carried out in the French alphabetical order of States. On hearing their name, delegations would be invited to the podium to deposit the sealed envelope in the ballot box.

  2. The Secretary invited the States Parties to vote. The following States Parties voted: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Cyprus, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ecuador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kirghizstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lesotho, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sudan,
    Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela,
    Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

  3. The following States Parties were absent: Antigua and Barbuda, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gambia, Iraq, Jamaica, Malawi, Micronesia, Nauru, Sao Tome and Principe, Syrian Arab Republic, Swaziland, Tajikistan and Tonga.

  4. The Chairperson announced the end of the voting process and suspended the session to count the ballots.

  5. The Secretary announced that the Secretariat was conducting an online satisfaction survey on the General Assembly meetings, which she hoped delegations would complete during the break, as it would allow the Secretariat to measure their satisfaction with a view to improving its services to the governing bodies.

  6. The Chairperson declared the session adjourned for one hour.

[The session was suspended for an hour]

  1. Despite the break, the Chairperson announced that there was not enough time to count the ballots, and adjourned the session for lunch.

[Wednesday 4 June 2014, afternoon session]

  1. The Chairperson and the tellers from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Malaysia joined the podium. Announcing the results of the election, the Chairperson noted that 142 States Parties had voted, with 16 absentees. The results were as follows: in Group I Turkey was elected with 72 votes, France received 44 votes, and Italy 25 votes; in Group II Bulgaria and Hungary were elected with a clean slate; in Group III Saint Lucia was elected with 102 votes, with Guatemala receiving 39 votes; in Group IV India was elected with 135 votes, Republic of Korea was elected with 126 votes, Mongolia was elected with 102 votes and Afghanistan was elected with 97 votes, with Samoa receiving 88 votes; in Group V(a) Ethiopia was elected with 119 votes, Côte d’Ivoire was elected with 118 votes and Congo was elected with 105 votes, with Botswana receiving 59 votes; and in Group IV(b) Algeria was elected with 101 votes, with Mauritania receiving 38 votes. Thanking the two tellers and with no objections to the resolution the Chairperson declared adopted Resolution 5.GA 10. [Applause]

  2. The delegation of France congratulated the newly elected Committee members and confirmed Italy’s commitment and support to the implementation of the Convention.

  3. The delegation of Italy thanked the States Parties having voted in its favour, congratulating the newly elected members of the Committee.

  4. The delegation of the Côte d’Ivoire welcomed its election to the Committee and assured the States Parties that it would work in the interests of all.

  5. The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran recalled its commitment to and respect for cultural diversity and the promotion of intercultural dialogue, adding that this was the raison d’être in the creation of the Convention combined with the universal declaration of cultural diversity and the goals outlined in the preamble of UNESCO’s Constitution.

  6. The Chairperson thanked the Ambassador for his wise words and contribution, adding that the Assembly shared in his ideals and principles, and would work towards achieving them.

  7. The delegation of India thanked the delegations having voted for India, adding that friendship was India’s forte and that it would work with and for all the States Parties in friendship. It echoed the sentiments expressed by Iran, taking the opportunity to thank the Chairperson and the Bureau for its excellent work. As a member of the Committee, India looked forward to working towards the most optimal outcomes with all Member States.

  8. The Chairperson thanked India – one of the founders of the Convention.

  9. The delegation of Algeria warmly thanked the States Parties that supported its candidacy to the Committee, assuring the Assembly that it was committed and determined in its work to successfully implement the Convention.

  10. The Chairperson thanked the Ambassador, acknowledging him as one of the fathers of the Convention.

  11. The delegation of Guatemala began by congratulating the Chairperson on his excellent chairmanship, as well as the Secretariat for the excellent job done. It also congratulated all participants, candidates and the recently elected States Parties, adding that it was convinced their involvement would contribute towards the success of the Convention. More specifically, it congratulated Saint Lucia on its election from its own region, adding that it would continue working hand-in-hand for the success of UNESCO and the Convention. The delegation underlined the importance of the Convention and the need to strengthen the Secretariat’s technical capacities, acknowledging the excellent work they did, which benefitted all the States Parties of the Convention.

  12. The delegation of Mauritania thanked the States Parties for having supported its candidature, congratulating Algeria on its election and adding that it sought to spread the Convention more broadly so as to improve its implementation and success. The delegation also thanked the Secretariat for its praiseworthy efforts during the session.

  13. The delegation of Turkey congratulated the States Parties that had participated and those that had been elected to the Committee. It thanked the States Parties from its own Group I and those that had voted in its favour, adding that the election further invigorated its commitment to multiregionalism, solidarity and cooperation. The delegation spoke of its commitment to the goals of UNESCO in the field of intangible culture, adding that its experts and institutions would work in consultation and cooperation with the Secretariat and all Member States. It would also speak with a loud voice to ensure that the foremost goals of UNESCO in culture and education bridged civilizations, religions and communities across the different geographic regions and cultures. It would work with reinforced commitment to combat divisiveness and prove that culture overcame political differences and difficulties.

  14. The delegation of Congo thanked and congratulated the Bureau and the Secretariat for their good work during the session, and thanked the States Parties that had supported its election to the Committee. It spoke not only of its honour but also of its duty and responsibility to be able to contribute to the visibility of UNESCO in the field of intangible cultural heritage, and as such it would spare no effort to fulfil all its responsibilities.

  15. The delegation of Bulgaria began by congratulating all the States Parties that had participated in the vote, especially those that had been elected, and thanked those that had supported its candidacy. It was happy to have been elected to the Committee, and it understood that it was a role of great responsibility rather than prestige. The delegation thanked Slovakia in particular for its gesture in the noble spirit and tradition of UNESCO that sought consensus. It concluded with thanks to the Chairperson for the exemplary manner in which he conducted his work, and also the Secretariat for the excellent organization of the session.

  16. The delegation of Indonesia congratulated the Chairperson on successfully guiding the meeting that resulted in an early completion of the agenda. It also thanked the Secretariat for its considerable work, which was essential for the successful running of the meetings, and in particular Ms Cécile Duvelle and Mr Frank Proschan and their staff who worked constantly and tirelessly throughout the year. On terminating its membership to the Committee after four years of service, the delegation spoke of its honour and pleasure in having hosted the sixth session of the Committee in Bali. It also took the opportunity to express regret to the Assembly and Secretariat for any untoward remarks made during its four-year tenure. It also congratulated the new members of the Committee on their election, advising them to familiarize themselves with the Basic Texts of the Convention, as well as the decisions taken during previous committees, assemblies and advisory bodies, which would ensure success in their upcoming work. In this way, they would have a good understanding of the running of the Convention. Having attended almost all the meetings of the Convention since 2006, the delegation spoke of its belief that the work carried out was in no way a bureaucratic, academic or political activity, but rather that it had in its heart the communities and the desire to safeguard intangible cultural heritage all over the world in the spirit of furthering the noble goals of UNESCO.

  17. The Chairperson thanked Indonesia for its kind words and for its trust and belief in the work of the Convention.

  18. The delegation of Botswana congratulated the Chairperson on his able stewardship, while recognizing the efforts of the Secretariat in its effective organization of the meeting. It also wished to congratulate the elected States Parties, particularly the colleagues in Group V(a) to whom it pledged its support. The delegation thanked the States Parties that had supported its candidacy, adding that it would continue to serve and contribute towards implementing the Convention. It remained committed to the principles and objectives of the Convention and would continue to play its part in this important exercise.

  19. The delegation of Afghanistan thanked the Chairperson for his guidance, and the Secretary for her patience and hard work in organizing the session, as well as the Secretariat for its work in dealing with inscriptions. It also thanked the members of the Committee for their work and for the great responsibility they assumed. It also thanked the delegations that voted for Afghanistan, a country in distress and instability, but which was very committed to the values of UNESCO since its accession in 1948, recalling the Director-General’s courage in 2013 on her visit to Afghanistan. Afghanistan was about to become a member of the Committee for the first time but still did not yet have an inscription. The delegation sympathized with all the other delegations that had yet to accede to membership of the Committee or to have their culture inscribed on the Lists under the 2003 Convention. It hoped that there would be a kind of revolution in the approach in which UNESCO worked that would ensure that membership to the Committee in the future was not the sole privilege of those that could afford it, and that every Member State had the opportunity to join the Committee and have at least one element inscribed. It was hoped that in line with the concept of universality not a single member of UNESCO would be without an element of its intangible cultural heritage inscribed. The delegation suggested that an entire year of normal procedures be halted in order to allow every State Party to inscribe an element, and so that every Member State could feel like a fully-fledged member of UNESCO.

  20. The Chairperson was pleased that Afghanistan had eventually joined the Committee, assuring the delegation that priority was granted to countries that did not yet have any elements inscribed, thereby presenting an opportunity for Afghanistan. The Chairperson spoke of his appreciation of the work of the Afghan government to safeguard its cultural heritage under difficult circumstances.

  21. The delegation of Hungary congratulated and thanked the Chairperson and the Secretariat for its hard work. It spoke of how proud, happy and thankful it was to all the countries that had shown its overwhelming support, especially Slovakia from its own Group II for having withdrawn, which was a good example of the great ideology of consensus-building. It was of course committed to the Committee, but also to the campaign to work together to save the globe’s intangible cultural heritage. The delegation was very happy that the Convention was growing in interest in all parts of the world, which would eventually lead to a more fair and representative picture of intangible cultural heritage. It concluded by congratulating all the other candidates, adding that the experience allowed States Parties to move closer together and to learn from each other, which was probably the strongest message of all.

  22. The delegation of Republic of Korea expressed its sincere gratitude for the valuable support of States Parties. It strongly believed in the role of culture as an enabler and driver for sustainable development. The delegation spoke of intangible cultural heritage as an essential element of cultural identity, and that it was not only about respecting cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, but also about transmitting social and economic values of community. As a Committee member, it reaffirmed its commitment towards continuing its contribution to the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.

  23. The delegation of Papua and New Guinea congratulated the Chairperson for his excellent work in leading the discussions, as well as the Secretariat, adding that it looked forward to contributing more to the work of the Convention. The delegation thanked the newly elected members, who would bring with them the requisite experience, talent and commitment to the Committee. With one cultural World Heritage property, Kuk Early Agricultural Site, Papua New Guinea hoped to list two more. It was also committed to the work of the 2003 Convention, and looked forward to the support and commitment of those newly elected, and the Group IV countries in particular.

  24. The delegation of Samoa commended the Chairperson and the Secretariat for the successful conduct of the session. It also congratulated the successful candidates, wishing them the very best of luck and a successful term. It also wished to wholeheartedly thank the 88 States Parties that had voted for Samoa, adding that it was a lightweight country trying to punch above its weight, consisting of small islands in big oceans. The delegation also wished to inform the Assembly that Samoa was organizing a parallel event on intangible cultural heritage in the upcoming SIDS conference in Apia, Samoa.

  25. The delegation of Zambia added to the many voices that praised the success of the Assembly and the professional conduct that characterized the elections. It congratulated the newly elected States Parties and acknowledged the finite number of seats, but that at the end of the day, everybody was a winner. The delegation appealed to the Committee members that had been entrusted with great responsibility, that they consider the interests of the regions, especially for the Africa region, over and above any micro-interests that might exist from time to time.

  26. The delegation of Saint Lucia congratulated the way the Chairperson had conducted the meeting, and thanked all the States Parties for their commitment to the Convention and for their valuable support. The delegation was truly overwhelmed by the support it had received, and thanked Guatemala for its very elegant campaign, as well as the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC) colleagues for their support, adding that it would be at the service of all States Parties, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Committee.

  27. The delegation of Mongolia congratulated all the elected States Parties, thanking those that had extended their valuable support. It was extremely happy and proud since it was the first time that Mongolia had been elected to the Committee, adding that it would work actively with other members of the Committee in the years to come. The delegation concluded by thanking the Chairperson, Bureau and the Secretariat for their excellent work.

  28. The delegation of Egypt congratulated the newly elected States Parties to the Committee, adding that they would clearly contribute very positively to the work of the Committee. It also thanked the outgoing States Parties that had already served on the Committee, and that despite their departure the shifting rotation was in keeping with tradition – an important element of the work of the Committee and in achieving the aims of the Convention. The delegation clarified that the members of the Committee did not represent their individual countries, but all States Parties to the Convention in order to increase the importance of the Convention and to achieve tangible results. It was proud to have been among the very first countries to participate in the actual drafting stages of the Convention, as well as the proceedings of the Committee at each of its working sessions in which the spirit of cooperation prevailed so as to achieve the goals of the Convention. Moreover, Egypt was one of the first 18 countries to ratify the Convention, and it was proud that a very high number of countries had also ratified the Convention, which clearly showed how important intangible cultural heritage was to all. The delegation underscored the role of culture and the links between the different cultures, which contributed to understanding and cooperation between people, making human civilization all the richer. It also highlighted the important role of UNESCO and the Convention, and their major achievements in the field of intangible cultural heritage. The delegation hoped that UNESCO would be able to successfully navigate through the current financial crisis so that it might deliver on its message of cooperation between cultures, which brought people closer together. It, therefore, hoped that the Committee succeed in its work, and that the Culture Sector of UNESCO would be able to identify the means of progressing even further in its achievements. The delegation acknowledged the excellent work of the Secretariat, and in particular Ms Cécile Duvelle for her patience and ability to manage such complex and delicate situations, adding that success depended very much on the important and often difficult work she, together with the Secretariat, had accomplished. This was evidenced from the numerous exchanges and different documents during the meetings, which was also acknowledged by all the States Parties. The delegation also recognized the Chairperson as among the very first to also function as Chairperson of the Committee, thanking him for his wisdom and able leadership.

  29. The Chairperson thanked Egypt and recognized that it was one of the leading countries in the Convention; a role that was very much appreciated, particularly in its contribution in the Arab region as a leading expert.

  30. The delegation of Syria congratulated the newly elected States Parties, adding that despite its considerable lobbying engaging with candidates for their election, a major impediment prevented it from participating in the morning’s election. Nevertheless, it wished good luck to States Parties that had not been elected, despite their real values and commitment, in continuing their good work. The delegation spoke of Syria as a place enriched with practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and know-how for which it was called the ‘cradle of civilization’, adding that it adhered to the foundation, soul and spirit of the Convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, which it signed in 2005. The delegation appealed to States Parties to work together to strengthen support for the Convention based on mutual respect for cultural diversity and mutual appreciation towards a better world.

  31. Thanking Syria, the Chairperson shared its concern and hope that Syria, as well as all other countries going through crises, would recover soon, adding that UNESCO was always at hand to help in certain circumstances.

  32. The delegation of China congratulated the elected States Parties to the Committee, adding that it was delighted to note that many countries had shown to be enthusiastic to the cause, with the will to work for the good of the Committee and provide their expertise and sense of innovation to more fully contribute towards the success of the Convention. As an outgoing member of the Committee, China believed that the work done over the last six years was very important and significant. It highly appreciated the opportunity given to work together with other members of the Committee, and through this cooperation, States Parties had strengthened their understanding of intangible cultural heritage, and especially the role that intangible cultural heritage played in contemporary civilizations and in future sustainable development. It was confident in being able to say that China had contributed to all aspects of the implementation of the Convention, albeit it still had much to learn. Consequently, as a former member of the Committee, but still a State Party to the Convention, it would continue to support the Convention and work hard to implement it with a view towards contributing to the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage of humanity as a whole. The delegation concluded by congratulating the Chairperson and the Secretariat for their effective management in the organization of the meeting.

  33. The Chairperson thanked China for its kind words, adding that it had counted on China in the past, in the present, and would do so in the future. The Chairperson spoke of his pleasure in listening to the statements and shared thoughts and ideas on the mandate to safeguard intangible cultural heritage and the role of the Committee.

ITEM 11 OF THE AGENDA:



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