As an observer, the delegation of Norway thanked the Chairperson for his permission to allow Norway to make a statement. Having listened to the deliberations, the delegation wished to congratulate the Committee for its impressively thorough and hard work. However, it expressed increasing concerns on the recurrent tendency for the Committee to seek more positive conclusions than those of the advisory bodies. Though it had the right to do so with justified reason, the delegation believed that it was not always possible to understand why the Committee contradicted the findings of the advisory bodies, particularly as the Committee faced challenges regarding the consistency of some of its decisions. The delegation believed that an analysis of the cases in which the Committee had disagreed with decisions by the independent experts or the Subsidiary Body should be undertaken, adding that this was a necessary exercise of learning that should be carried out without delay. The analysis would subsequently be presented at the next Committee meeting. The delegation reiterated the need for further capacity-building, adding that the strategy was both timely and appropriate and would help States Parties complete nomination files in a proper manner.
The Chairperson turned to the four issues concerning the 2013, 2014 and 2015 cycles, namely i) the establishment of the Consultative Body; ii) the establishment of the Subsidiary Body; iii) the creation of a system of rotation for the members of the Consultative Body; and iv) the number of files to be treated in 2014 and 2015. The Chairperson recalled that points iii) and iv) were a consequence of the amendments to the Operational Directives adopted by the General Assembly in June 2012, reminding the Committee that the Consultative Body was first introduced in the 2011 cycle on an experimental basis. Pleased with the results, the Committee in 2011 considered that the experiment had been successful and recommended to the General Assembly that the Consultative Body be entrusted with those duties on a more sustained basis. The Committee also recommended in its Decision 6.COM 15 that ‘the mandate of the members of the Consultative Body be extended to a maximum of four years, and its composition be renewed by one quarter each year’, which was adopted by the General Assembly as paragraph 26 of the Operational Directives. Thus, out of the twelve members of the Consultative Body, three new members would be renewed each year. Currently, six of the members had served two years while six had served one year.
The representative of the Secretary, Mr Proschan, explained that although appearing complicated, the Committee would not have to repeat the process once the system of rotation has been instituted. Additionally, the system facilitated the selection of candidates in that future committees would only need to select three out of six candidates rather than twelve out of 24 candidates. He recalled that the Consultative Body was composed of six accredited non-governmental organizations and six independent experts who were appointed each year by the Committee in line with the principle of equitable geographic representation and the various domains of intangible cultural heritage, i.e. each electoral group comprised one NGO and one expert. Mr Proschan reminded the Committee that half the current members had already served for one year, while half had served for two years. In 2011, electoral groups V(a) and V(b) had chosen to retain both their previous members, while electoral groups III and IV chose to replace both of their previous members, and groups I and II retained one member and replaced the other. The Committee’s task was now to only replace a quarter of the members, i.e. three out of the twelve incumbent members so that the system would institute a four-year membership. The Consultative Body would thus benefit from continuity in its recommendations by having members with greater experience, while new members would come with new perspectives. In the same way, it was also considered beneficial that each electoral group have one experienced member and one newer member in each cycle, rather than having both members from the same electoral group replaced in the same year. The Committee therefore had to assign three seats for this year, for terms continuing until 2016.
Mr Proschan drew attention to the table in paragraph 7 of the working document in which the blue seats were those filled in both 2011 and 2012 by the same person, and the yellow seats were those newly filled in 2012 whose incumbents had therefore only served one year. Thus, all of the six blue seats must be renewed this year, next year or the following year. To avoid the situation of having both members from an electoral group replaced in the same year or in two successive years, it was suggested that the blue seats for electoral groups V(a) and V(b) be replaced with one experienced and one novice member among either the NGO representative or the expert renewed this year. The Committee would also need to decide how to assign the six yellow seats, while keeping in mind the desirability that both members from the same electoral group are not renewed in the same year or successive years. Two methods were thus suggested: i) to follow the example of the Convention in the system of rotation for the Committee itself by choosing lots for those members serving a two-year term rather than a four-year term; or ii) the Committee might wish to undertake negotiations with regard to one or more of the seats. Mr Proschan remarked that some electoral groups had already concluded their negotiations, while others had yet to consult, and suggested that the electoral groups be given an opportunity to either propose a recommendation or to proceed with the system of lots. In either case, the issue was not simply to decide on the three renewed seats, but to put in place a system that will roll automatically in the years to come.
The Chairpersonwished to hear the respective positions of the electoral groups.
Speaking on behalf of Electoral Group II, the delegation of Azerbaijan sought to keep the NGO and expert for this year to be renewed in 2013. Mr Proschan understood that the expert would be replaced in 2013, while the NGO would be replaced in 2014.
Speaking on behalf of Electoral Group III, the delegation of Grenada supported the option of consultations among regional groups rather than the drawing of lots, adding that its independent expert would be changed this year, while the NGO would be replaced in 2014.
Mr Proschan explained that for Electoral Group IV, both positions could be filled in any of the years.
Speaking on behalf of Electoral Group V(a), the delegation of Madagascar announced that the NGO would be replaced in 2012, while the expert would be replaced in 2014.
Speaking on behalf of Electoral Group IV, the delegation of Kyrgyzstanannounced that the expert would be replaced in 2013, while the NGO would be replaced in 2015.
Speaking on behalf of Electoral Group V(b), the delegation of Morocco announced that it wished to retain the NGO for this year.
Mr Proschan summarized that in next agenda item on the establishment of the Consultative Body for the 2013 cycle, the three seats would be renewed as follows: Group V(a), an NGO; Group V(b), an expert; and Group III, an expert. In 2013, the Secretariat will propose two candidate NGOs for Group I, two candidate experts for Group II, and two candidate experts for Group IV. In 2014, the seats to be filled include: the expert seat in Group V(a), the NGO seat for Group V(b), and the NGO seat for Group III. In 2015, the seats to be filled include the expert seat in Group I, the NGO seat for Group II, and the NGO seat for Group IV.
Noting that the slots had been filled, the Chairperson moved to the adoption of the draft decision on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. With no objections to paragraphs 1–4, they were duly adopted. Thus, the Decision_7.COM_12.a_.___ITEM_12.b_OF_THE_AGENDA'>Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 12.a.
ITEM 12.b OF THE AGENDA:
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CONSULTATIVE BODY FOR THE 2013 CYCLE (PARAGRAPH 26 OF THE OPERATIONAL DIRECTIVES) AND ADOPTION OF ITS TERMS OF REFERENCE
Decision 7.COM 12.b
The Chairperson then moved to item 12.b, and the establishment of the Consultative Body.
Mr Proschan introduced the item as having two components: i) the terms of reference of the Consultative Body; and ii) the designation of its members. He explained that the terms of reference as presented closely resembled the terms of reference adopted in 2011, with the difference that it shall cease to exist following submission of the Consultative Body’s report to the eighth session of the Committee in 2013. Mr Proschan suggested debating and adopting the terms of reference before moving on to the appointment of members of the Consultative Body.
With no comments or objections, the Chairperson pronounced adopted the terms of reference for the Consultative Body, then moved to the second part of the item.
Turning to the appointment of the twelve members of the new Consultative Body, Mr Proschan referred to the three seats to be renewed and the nine seats to be filled through reappointment of the incumbents as decided upon in Decision 7.COM 12.a under item 12.a, which meant that the Committee no longer had to select 12 candidates from the 24 candidates proposed. With regard to the three seats the Committee decided to renew this year, Annex II of the working document presented the names of the candidate experts and accredited NGOs, together with a brief description of their respective competence and their expert domain(s). Links to a detailed CV of the individual experts and a link to the webpage of the NGOs were also made available [The names of the candidates were subsequently added to the document].
[5-minute pause forconsultations among electoral groups]
The Chairperson turned to the draft decision on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. With no comments or objections, paragraphs 1-5 were duly adopted. Thus, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 12.b.
ITEM 12.c OF THE AGENDA:
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODY FOR THE 2013 CYCLE (PARAGRAPH 29 OF THE OPERATIONAL DIRECTIVES) AND ADOPTION OF ITS TERMS OF REFERENCE
Decision 7.COM 12.c
The Chairperson introduced the next item on the establishment of the Subsidiary Body for 2013, adding that the Committee had to examine the terms of reference, which largely repeated the language of the previous decision in this regard. It would then identify the members in a second step. For information, the Chairperson recalled the composition of the body in 2012: Group I – Spain, Group II – Croatia, Group III – Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Group IV – Islamic Republic of Iran, Group V(a) – Burkina Faso, and Group V(b) – Morocco. As the Subsidiary Body would complete its work before the fifth session of the General Assembly in June 2014, all the current members of the Committee were eligible for selection.
Mr Proschan remarked that it was the fourth time the Committee would establish a Subsidiary Body, adding that its first task was to adopt its terms of reference and designate six members. The terms of reference presented to the Committee in working document 12.c were exactly those adopted in Bali, except that ‘evaluation’ replaced ‘examination’, as a result of the revised Operational Directives approved by the General Assembly in 2012.
With no comments or objections, the Chairperson pronounced adopted the terms of reference as presented, and then turned to the election of the new members.
Electoral Group I proposed Spain.
Electoral Group II proposed to the Czech Republic.
Electoral Group III proposed Peru.
Electoral Group V(a) proposed Nigeria.
Electoral Group V(b) proposed Morocco.
The delegation of China requested a suspension of the item in order to consult further. The Chairperson made known his displeasure as delegations had been urged to consult on the issue prior to the item. He suspended the item and turned to item 12.d.
ITEM 12.d OF THE AGENDA:
NUMBER OF FILES THAT CAN BE TREATED IN THE 2014 AND 2015 CYCLES
Decision 7.COM 12.d
The Chairperson recalled that the fourth session of the General Assembly amended the Operational Directives to put in place a new provision recognizing the limited capacities of the Committee, its advisory bodies and the Secretariat. In accordance with paragraph 33 of the Operational Directives12, the Committee had to determine the number of files to be treated in the 2014 and 2015 cycles, while considering the other important tasks of the different organs of the Convention.
The Secretary explained that Committee had to determine a global ceiling for all four mechanisms, including nomination files to the Urgent Safeguarding List, the Representative List, the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices, and international assistance requests greater than US$25,000. The number would govern files submitted in March 2013 for the 2014 cycle [for inscription in 2014], and in March 2014 for the 2015 cycle [inscription in 2015]. The Secretary remarked that this provision was stipulated in the Operational Directives so as to allow States Parties to anticipate what it could reasonably expect in the following two cycles. The Secretary drew attention to the table in paragraph 3 of the working document, which showed the recent experience for 2011 and 2012, and that anticipated for 2013. For example, the year in which States Parties would be required to submit a periodic report [six years following its ratification of the Convention] is known, as well as the year of the submission of reports on elements in the Urgent Safeguarding List [four years following inscription]. Information as yet unknown include the number of nominations submitted by the 31 March 2013 deadline, which would be subject to an order of priority as given in the Operational Directives. The Secretary explained that the number of files to be processed for the 2013 cycle, which began in 31 March 2012, had already been established in Bali, adding that 61 files had been processed for the 2013 cycle. This figure represented one file per State Party, and in addition certain priority States Parties had two files processed in this same cycle. The Secretary called, in setting the ceiling around 60 files, for some flexibility in order to accommodate to the extend possible the principle of one-file-per-State, as well as the priority status granted to States Parties with no prior inscriptions; she remarked that with such number of files, the Secretariat could unfortunately hardly provide an extensive feedback on the nominations, contrary to what had been the case in previous cycles, even though this feedback seemed to be very much appreciated by submitting States; she invited submitting States Parties to carefully refer to previous decisions of the Committee and reports from previous years before submitting files so that they sufficiently satisfy the requirements in terms of quality, while the Secretariat would comment only on technical issues. The Secretary also remarked on the additional tasks as a result of a higher number of submitted periodic reports, as well as the limited capacity of the Secretariat that rendered it difficult for the Secretariat to realistically treat more than the 61 files proposed.
The Chairperson remarked on the reality of the situation and the need to be practical and pragmatic so as to achieve the goals and objectives in a proper manner. He spoke of the work of the Convention as consisting of business other than inscriptions, such as the important periodic reports, adding that the advisory bodies’ reports on which to assess decisions was equally important and should be carefully studied. The Chairperson opened the floor to the Committee and observers for comment.
The delegation of Burkina Faso remarked on the Secretariat’s proposal as largely reflecting the sentiment of the Committee, adding that it was unnecessary to return to the discussions in Nairobi or Bali on the ceiling, adding that the Committee was well aware of the reality and thus it supported the proposal.
The Chairperson concurred with the observation that the subject of the ceiling had been debated at length during the previous Committee sessions.
The delegation of Indonesia agreed that the proposal by the Secretariat did indeed present the reality and facts, as the system was already pushed to the limit, and it was important to maintain credibility. The delegation therefore endorsed the proposal.
The delegation of Morocco also recalled the extensive debate on the ceiling, and concurred with the remarks by Indonesia on the limited capacity of the system even though wider representation of elements on the Representative List was desirable. With regard to the increasing number of periodic reports [47 in the next cycle] the delegation wondered how best to glean lessons learned from the reports on issues such as safeguarding and capacity-building so as to improve the implementation of the Convention.
The delegation of Grenadaconcurred with the remarks made, and supported the proposal.
The delegation of Latvia described the quality of debate as important and a guiding principle when making decisions, and therefore supported the Secretariat’s proposal.
The delegation of Japansupported the Secretariat’s proposal, which reflected the given situation and the previous discussions on the subject.
The Chairperson noted the unanimous support and the delegations’ appreciation of the hard work that had gone into ensuring consistently successful meetings.
The delegation of Spain also agreed with the rationale of the draft decision, but wished to suggest that improvements be made on the instructions given in the nomination form, which would help States Parties in completing and improving their nomination forms and thus increase the number of files that could be treated.
The Chairperson turned to the draft decision. With no changes to the paragraphs, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 12.d.
ITEM 13.a OF THE AGENDA:
REFLECTION ON THE EXPERIENCE GAINED IN IMPLEMENTING THE REFERRAL OPTION OF THE REPRESENTATIVE LIST OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
Decision 7.COM 13.a
Recalling that the first of the four reflections was requested by the General Assembly in June 2012, the Chairperson remarked that any or all of them could lead to proposed amendments to the Operational Directives for examination by the General Assembly at its fifth session. Thus, the Committee was not requested to examine concrete proposals, but rather to discuss whether it wished to see specific amendments at its next session. The Chairperson emphasized that the Committee was not under any obligation to propose a revision of the Operational Directives, but could instead decide that the Committee had sufficiently reflected.
Drawing attention to the working document 13.a, but also the report of the Subsidiary Body, the Secretary recalled that the referral option had initially been proposed by the first Subsidiary Body in 2009 that already ‘regretted that the Operational Directives did not provide for a deferral of evaluation, as such a decision would spare the submitting State Party the four year delay required before being permitted to re-submit an element if the Committee decided not to inscribe it’ (Document ITH/09/4.COM/ CONF.209/INF.6). At its fourth session in Abu Dhabi in 2009, the Committee recommended amending the Operational Directives that provided, ‘After evaluation the Committee decides whether an element shall or shall not be inscribed on the Representative List, or whether to refer the nomination to the submitting State’. Paragraph 3613 of the Operational Directives was later adopted with minor amends by the General Assembly in 2010. It was important to note that the referral option was available only to the Representative List because it was the sole mechanism imposing a four-year waiting period before resubmission (in paragraph 37 of the Operational Directives). By 2011, the Subsidiary Body could apply the rule and recommend a referral, with the first decision on referrals taken at the Committee’s sixth session in Bali. The Subsidiary Body report highlighted the mixed feelings among members on receiving referral recommendations as Committee members in 2011 and then having to evaluate the referred files resubmitted in 2012.
The Secretary remarked that the resubmission of referred files brought about its own specific problems from those already encountered with the resubmission of withdrawn files – a provision that allows a submitting State to withdraw its file at any time during the evaluation process and before the Committee’s examination. The Secretary explained that referred files would have already been evaluated by the Subsidiary Body with some of the criteria already deemed satisfied, while withdrawn files would not have been scrutinised by the Committee and thus not be subject to a decision. Thus, the Subsidiary Body was free to review the resubmitted file that had previously been withdrawn in its entirety, which was not necessarily the case for referred files since some of the criteria was said by the Committee to have already been satisfied. It was noted that the Subsidiary Body had evaluated 8 resubmissions (after withdrawal) in 2010, and 8 in 2011. There were no such files in 2012, but 3 in 2013; 4 withdrawn files were still in the backlog. As pointed out by several of the subsidiary bodies, the fact that the interpretation of criteria evolved and improved meant that there was a need to balance predictability and coherency in the decisions, i.e. as the criteria evolved so too would the documentary evidence that the criteria were still satisfied a couple of years later. The Secretary explained that the issue of consistency from year to year for resubmitted files was therefore a broader issue than the referral itself owing to the more stringent requirements to meet the criteria. The Secretary cited as an example the recently recommended minimum number of words in the nomination form. The question was whether the previously satisfied criteria could now be rejected based on a technicality.
The Secretary also highlighted the second major problem, which was how to distinguish a ‘no’ from a ‘refer’ recommendation so that ‘refer’ was not considered a ‘polite’ or ‘soft’ no, i.e. the question was whether it served the interests of the submitting States or the Committee. Another issue concerned the problem of consistency between the Representative List (with the referral option) and the Urgent Safeguarding List (with no referral option), since it was noted that there were more options provided to files for the Representative List than the Urgent Safeguarding List, even though greater consideration was sought for the Urgent Safeguarding List and less for the Representative List. The result was that there were now two different standards of evaluation for the two lists. The Secretary surmised that should the Committee consider that it wished to retain the referral option, then a clearer distinction could be made between a ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘refer’, or it could adopt the referral option for the Urgent Safeguarding List or remove the four-year waiting period. Thus document 13.a proposed two options: i) to continue reflecting on the issue; or ii) to draft specific Operational Directives reflecting the comments and recommendations during the debate for examination at the Committee’s eighth session for adoption by the General Assembly in 2014.
The Chairperson thanked the Secretary for her explanation of the complicated subject.
The delegation of Spain believed that the document prepared by the Secretariat reflected all the elements of the debates so far, and also that further reflection was required. Hence, the delegation supported Option A.
The delegation of Greece spoke of its concern with regard to the voting procedures conducted yesterday in which the Committee encountered a confusing situation that saw a decision with 11 favourable votes rejected (since 13 votes were apparently required), while in the same session a decision was adopted with 9 favourable votes (since there were only 5 votes against). The delegation found that the inconsistent voting process was a blow to the credibility of the Committee and violated the principle of equal treatment by fuelling discriminating practices. The delegation had requested the Chairperson of the Bureau to rectify the situation, but the request was declined, adding that it hoped that the regrettable decision experienced by Greece would not happen again and suggested that the voting rules be incorporated into the Rules of Procedure. The Committee should agree that when a decision could not be reached through consensus, then a formal vote should take place, which would prevent such conflicting situations from reoccurring.
Thanking Greece for its intervention and recommendation, the Chairperson concurred that the Bureau members had earlier listened and discussed Greece’s concern, believing that Greece’s experience should better guide the working of the Committee and strengthen the recommendations made.
The delegation of Nigeria recommended the introduction of a ceiling on the number of referrals, suggesting that the 4-year rule before re-submission be aligned with the Urgent Safeguarding List, as suggested by the Secretariat.
The delegation of Belgiumendorsed the remarks by Greece, adding that there should be greater clarity in the procedures. Referring to paragraph 8 of decision 7.COM 11, the delegation explained that the Subsidiary Body was asked to only apply the referral option in exceptional cases. The delegation emphasized the importance of capacity-building so as to improve the nomination, particularly with regard to the new nomination form. The delegation therefore sought a reflection in the eighth Committee session with regard to this point, and therefore supported Option A.
The delegation of Latvia believed that the referral was a good option from three perspectives: i) in the case of a submitting State presenting a nomination file for the first time and therefore lacking experience; ii) when technical gaps in the nomination required clarification; and iii) for the purpose of public relations that allowed the submitting State to better communicate with the media, while avoiding terms such as ‘rejected’ and ‘not supported’, which were inappropriate when speaking of intangible cultural heritage. The delegation noted that submitting States tended to view referrals as negative decisions, and not as an opportunity to consider the advice so as to clarify aspects of the nomination file.
The delegation of Burkina Faso remarked that the referral was an opportunity to clarify minor technical questions that could be quickly rectified, but that it had been applied in such a way that it had lost its purpose and was considered more as a polite No, rendering it open to different interpretations. The question was whether the option should be maintained.
Referring to the points raised by the Secretary, notably whether the referral should be applied to the Urgent Safeguarding List, the delegation of Czech Republic believed that the mechanisms could not be applied in the latter because they were quite different, for example, the information required on safeguarding measures in U.3 was more extensive. With regard to the second issue raised, the delegation did not believe that the Subsidiary Body should have unlimited possibilities to refer the files for additional information and suggested that referrals be limited to one or two. The third point concerning whether only the sections covered by the referral and not the entire file be revisited, the delegation found the issue more complicated as the criteria were markedly different, with some criteria requiring an in-depth examination of the other criteria at the same time, for example, in the case of evidence of community participation, which could not be determined hastily.
The delegation of Brazil remarked that the four criteria in the Representative List and the Urgent Safeguarding List were essentially the same and that greater consistency should be sought with regard to the two mechanisms. The delegation found that paragraph 37, pertaining to the 4-year delay, unnecessarily differentiated the two lists. Moreover, the referral option would not be required if paragraph 37 were to be deleted. Thus, the delegation favoured a reflection on concrete proposals and thus supported Option B.
The delegation of Morocco remarked that the reflection on the referral was additional proof of the Committee’s concern to constantly strive to improve the procedures in the implementation of the Convention. The delegation wished to highlight two important and differentiating aspects. Firstly, the absence of technical details in the nomination form, notably in R.4 and R.5, which were easy to rectify as they concerned the submission of physical evidence. However, the interpretation and justification provided by the submitting States, notably in the first three criteria, represented a different dimension of the nomination and was the likely cause of the uncertainty, as observed during the debates.
Referring to the recommendation by the Subsidiary Body that the referral be applied only to technical issues, the delegation of Grenada reiterated that the referral should not be a polite No, since it only opened the possibility of reversing decisions. The delegation agreed with Brazil that greater consistency was needed between the two mechanisms and it suggested a recommendation to the General Assembly to delete paragraph 37, and thus it favoured Option B. The delegation also agreed with Greece that the Committee’s working methodology should be clear and transparent.
The delegation of Japan found the referral to be a good tool that facilitated the work of the States Parties, and as a new initiative deserved further reflection, though concrete and clear guidance was required. The delegation believed that both Option A and Option B could be combined such that the Committee could continue its reflection in both directions, while requesting the Secretariat to propose concrete draft amendments.
The delegation of Belgium supported the remarks by Japan in that the two options provided were not exclusive.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee whose comments would strengthen the Convention, surmising that the referral itself was not the source of the problem but rather the States Parties’ interpretation of the option. Returning to paragraph 5 of the draft decision and the options provided, the Chairperson noted that there was support for Option B and support to adopt both options. The Chairperson noted support for the latter from Indonesia, Grenada, Belgium, Czech Republic, Peru, Latvia, Uganda, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Morocco, Tunisia and Azerbaijan. Noting a consensus to adopt both options, the Chairperson turned to paragraphs 1–4 of the draft decision, which were duly adopted. As a result of the consensus in paragraph 5, two separate paragraphs (corresponding to the two proposed options) were proposed.
The delegation of Belgium proposed to add ‘eighth session’ in conformity with paragraph 8 of Decision 7.COM 11, which would help determine whether the referral option functioned correctly. With regard to Option B, the delegation remarked that the timing was such that the Secretariat had already to reflect on the eighth session should the Committee wish to draft amendments to the General Assembly, which had to be reflected in the decision.
The Chairperson then turned to the proposed amendment in paragraph 5, which would read: ‘Decides to continue its reflection on the experience gained in implementing the referral option at its eighth session in conformity with paragraph 8 of Decision 7.COM 11 and invites the Subsidiary Body to address this topic in its 2013 report to the Committee’. The Chairperson noted support for the amendment from Grenada, Peru, Azerbaijan, Albania, Nicaragua, Czech Republic, Kyrgyzstan and Latvia. With no objections to amended paragraph 5 and paragraph 6, they were duly adopted.
With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 13.a.
Before leaving the podium, the Chairperson took the opportunity to thank the interpreters.
[The Vice-Chairperson from Morocco took over from the Chairperson]