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
Thanking Mr Ahmed Skounti for his chairmanship of the previous evening’s session, the Chairperson turned to the unfinished business of draft decision 7.COM 12.c regarding the establishment of the Subsidiary Body for the 2013 cycle, with electoral Group IV having reached consensus.
The delegation of Chinaproposed Japan as member of the Subsidiary Body.
With no objections, the Chairperson declared 7.COM 12.c adopted.
ITEM 14 OF THE AGENDA:
MECHANISM FOR SHARING INFORMATION TO ENCOURAGE MULTINATIONAL NOMINATIONS
The Chairperson recalled that item 14 had not been considered at the sixth Committee session in Bali owing to a lack of time. In its Decision 5.COM 6, the Committee requested the Secretariat to propose an information-sharing mechanism that allowed States Parties to announce their intentions with regard to submitted nominations as a means of stimulating the submission of multinational nominations.
Mr Proschan recalled that during its debates in Nairobi, the Committee acknowledged that intangible cultural heritage was often shared across international borders, yet multinational nominations were much less numerous than the frequency of shared heritage would suggest. Over the years, the Committee encouraged the submission of multinational nominations to the lists, considering that such nominations exemplified the Convention’s purpose of promoting international cooperation. When looking at inscriptions on the lists, a number of elements inscribed in their own right might very well have been the subject of a multinational inscription had communication between States been different. The Committee therefore suggested that such parallel inscriptions could be avoided – and multinational inscriptions encouraged – if there were convenient means by which States Parties could announce their intention to nominate a given element so that States with shared heritage might have the opportunity to cooperate on a multinational nomination. It was recalled that only when the Committee’s working documents were circulated did a neighbouring State discover the submission of an element in which it may have been working in parallel. During the Committee discussion in Nairobi on the subject, members evoked the tentative lists of the 1972 World Heritage Convention. In Art. 11.1 of the 1972 Convention, no property may be nominated unless it has first been included in a State’s Tentative List. A similar provision echoing Art. 11.1 of the 1972 Convention was put forward for the 2003 Convention, but was finally deleted in the negotiation process. At a time when the Committee is seeking to encourage nominations from countries with no or few previous inscriptions, creating additional obligations that would lengthen the process or impede nominations from States that had not anticipated their intentions in due course could be perceived as counter-productive. The Secretariat therefore understood that a mechanism for sharing information on intended nominations should be voluntary rather than obligatory. Moreover, the system should not require complex technical treatment either by the Secretariat or the advisory bodies, since both were already burdened with the substantial work of examining nominations. The Secretariat therefore proposed an information-sharing mechanism, as outlined in paragraph 7 of document ITH/12/7.COM/14 with the following main features: i) State Parties would be invited to make known their possible intentions to submit nominations to the lists and to provide minimum information on the element, the communities, as well as complete contact information; ii) this information would be put on an online interactive form; iii) each State would remain responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the information, which would not be subject to analysis or examination; iv) the Secretariat would acknowledge receipt of the information received with copies to the Permanent Delegation and the National Commission concerned. One month after receipt, the information would be made public on the Convention website in French and English. The information would be removed from the website once the nomination is submitted for inscription or at the request of the submitting State.
The delegation of Spain was grateful for the presentation of the item, which perfectly reflected the goal of international cooperation, and it was pleased to note that information offered would be done so on a voluntary basis.
The delegation of Greece found that knowledge on the intention of neighbouring States was very helpful and would have avoided heated discussions had it been introduced earlier. The mechanism was therefore timely and the delegation recommended introducing the mechanism on an obligatory basis in a way that was not a heavy burden to States Parties, but would allow such important information to be shared.
The delegation of Indonesia supported the multinational files though wondered about a scenario in which two communities agreed on the nomination but not the two corresponding governments or vice versa. Additionally, multinational nominations should not be forced, but be allowed to happen naturally. The delegation supported the draft decision and the information-sharing on a voluntary basis.
The delegation of Uruguay endorsed Spain’s remarks on the good initiative from the Secretariat that would serve as a focal point on the progress of States Parties on their plans to inscribe elements, adding that it should remain on a voluntary basis.
The delegation of Czech Republic believed that since the Committee encouraged multinational files then it should provide the appropriate instruments, and thus supported the initiative.
The delegation of Belgiumagreed with the proposal by the Secretariat, particularly its flexible approach.
The delegation of Grenada welcomed the proposal and understood that the mechanism was not a condition for the submission of multinational files, but was simply a source of information supplied on a voluntary basis. The delegation sought confirmation that the initiative would remain an information-sharing mechanism and not a list.
The delegation of Nigeria also welcomed the initiative on a voluntary basis, since States Parties were not always ready at the same time, and hence the mechanism of extensions.
The delegation of Moroccothanked the Secretariat for its initiative and agreed that it was important to share information to encourage States Parties to work together on a voluntary basis, adding that the title of the mechanism was apt.
The delegation of Burkina Faso appreciated the Secretariat’s initiative, particularly as it had been contacted by several States Parties to cooperate on multinational files, adding that the mechanism would greatly facilitate such collaborations.
The delegation of China joined the previous speakers in welcoming the initiative, as it would facilitate multinational nominations. The delegation also wondered whether nominations to the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices would fall under the remit of the mechanism.
The Secretary explained that the intention was to include information for all three mechanisms, namely the two lists and the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices.
Thanking the Chairperson for his leadership, the delegation of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic welcomed the initiative, which was advantageous to States Parties preparing files in that they could benefit from the experience of others, adding that it agreed on the voluntary basis of the initiative.
The delegation of Turkey thanked the Secretariat for the important initiative, as it reflected the objectives of inter-cultural dialogue and cultural rapprochement embedded in the Convention and UNESCO through the submission of files on shared elements. The delegation spoke of its own experience in the multinational submission of Nowruz and agreed with the Committee’s principle of encouraging multinational files.
The delegation of Viet Namjoined in the remarks made by the Lao People's Democratic Republic, adding that it agreed on the voluntary basis of the mechanism.
The delegation of Grenada wished to see the voluntary nature of the mechanism clearly specified in paragraph 7 of document ITH/12/7.COM/14.
The Chairperson turned to paragraphs 1– 4 of the draft decision, which were duly adopted.
The delegation of Grenada wished to include reference to the information-sharing mechanism in the paragraph, which would read, ‘Decides to establish an on-line resource, the mechanism for sharing information to encourage multinational nominations as described in Document ITH/12/7.COM/14 […]’.
The Chairperson noted support for the amendment from Belgium, Peru, Greece, China, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Brazil, Indonesia and Namibia.
The delegation of China supported the amendment and wished to add ‘proposals’. The Secretary suggested including ‘files’ instead.
The Chairperson read out the amended paragraph, ‘Decides to establish an on-line resource, the mechanism for sharing information to encourage multinational files as described in Document ITH/12/7.COM/14 through which States Parties can announce their intentions to nominate elements and other States Parties may learn of opportunities for cooperation in elaborating multinational nominations’.
The delegation of Grenada proposed to spell mechanism with a capital ‘M’ to specify that it was the official title of the mechanism. It also wished to insert ‘on a voluntary basis’ between ‘can’ and ‘announce’.
With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson pronounced paragraphs 5–6 adopted.
The delegation of Uganda wished to add a paragraph before paragraph 7, which would read, ‘Further encourages all the States Parties that have agreed to submit multinational nomination files to support each other to ensure that all the criteria are fully responded’.
The Chairperson noted support from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Belgium, Namibia, Peru and Indonesia.
The delegation of Morocco thanked Uganda for its proposal, but wondered whether the draft decision was the right place because it specially referred to the information-sharing mechanism.
Having given its support for the proposal, the delegation of Burkina Faso agreed that the principle of mutual support and assistance between submitting States Parties involved in a multinational file was generally accepted and perhaps did not have to be reiterated in the decision.
The delegation of Spain concurred with the remarks by Morocco and Burkina Faso. The delegation of Greece agreed with the principle, but sought clarification on what was implied. The delegation of Czech Republic agreed with the position voiced by Burkina and Spain.
The delegation of Uganda recalled the previous discussion in which it was shown that criterion R.5 in multinational submissions was often not satisfied, which demonstrated the ineffective sharing of information.
The Chairperson agreed with the pertinence of the proposal, but the question was whether the decision was the correct place for such a provision.
The delegation of Grenadaunderstood Uganda’s proposal and suggested the following, ‘Encourages States Parties to use this mechanism to share their experience and support other States Parties for possible submission of multinational files’.
The delegation of Brazil expressed concerns on the procedure of the mechanism in that a State Party wishing to collaborate with another State Party on a multinational nomination should in any case seek consultation prior to submitting information so as to avoid any unexpected surprises. The delegation saw the benefit of creating a common platform to share information on forthcoming submissions, but that prior consultations should be actively sought and guaranteed.
The delegation of Greece supported Grenada’s proposal.
The Chairperson noted that the proposal offered a solution to Uganda’s proposal by taking into consideration the voiced concern.
The delegation of Burkina Faso wondered whether the two amendments were appropriate since the mechanism proposed by the Secretariat was a way for States Parties to announce their intention to submit a nomination. In cases of shared heritage the States Parties concerned could join forces to elaborate a multinational file, i.e. the mechanism was not a measure for ensuring the coordination of a joint nomination, which was the responsibility of the States Parties concerned. The delegation therefore supported the deletion of the two amendments.
The delegation of Morocco supported the remarks by Burkina Faso, even though it understood the rationale behind the proposals by Uganda and Grenada.
The delegations of Uganda and Grenada agreed to withdraw their proposals.
Turning to the draft decision, and with no further comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted Decision 7.COM 14.
ITEM 15 OF THE AGENDA:
TREATMENT OF CORRESPONDENCE FROM THE PUBLIC OR OTHER CONCERNED PARTIES REGARDING NOMINATIONS
The Secretary explained that the Secretariat had received correspondence in the 2010 cycle that raised concerns in a number of nominations to the Representative List. The Secretariat subsequently informed the Subsidiary Body when it met in May 2010 and it decided at that time that the letters should not be brought to the attention of the Subsidiary Body prior to it reaching a decision in order not to influence its recommendations, since decisions were solely based on the information provided in the nomination file. After the Subsidiary Body adopted its recommendations on the cases concerned, the Secretary revealed the content of the correspondence and the Subsidiary Body reconfirmed all its original decisions. It did however request that the Secretariat bring the letters to the attention of the Committee prior to the Committee’s evaluation of the nominations concerned. During the debate on the issue in Nairobi, the Committee welcomed these expressions of interest from civil society (associations or individuals), since transparency in the nomination process only benefitted the Convention. Nevertheless, the Committee expressed its opinion that such correspondence should be communicated to the States concerned in a timely manner so that they are able to respond to the concerns raised at the same time as the evaluation of the file by the Committee. By its Decision 5.COM 6, the Committee invited the Secretariat ‘to propose, for its sixth session, in light of the debate of the Committee, guidelines for the treatment of correspondence received by the Secretariat from the public or other concerned parties on nominations, and for their prior communication to the submitting States’.
The Secretary further explained that guidelines for the treatment of correspondence were outlined in the Annex to document 15 in which it proposed that upon reception of nominations (following the Secretariat’s requests for additional information), the Secretariat would make them available on the Convention website (to be replaced by revised nominations where applicable). Correspondence received up to four weeks prior to the meeting of the Subsidiary Body would immediately be sent to the Permanent Delegation of the State Party concerned for its response up to two weeks before the meeting of the Subsidiary Body. Correspondence and the response from the State Party would then be made available to the Subsidiary Body, and published on the Convention website together with the nomination concerned. The Secretariat also proposed that correspondence received after the deadline, or correspondence on an element already inscribed, would be transmitted to the Permanent Delegation of the State concerned so that any response could be communicated directly to the author of the correspondence, which would not be published. With regard to elements that were not yet nominated for inscription, the Secretariat proposed to inform the Permanent Delegation of any correspondence received, while informing its author that no such nomination had yet been received. The Secretary added that all such correspondence would be withdrawn from the website upon inscription of the element concerned.
The delegation of Brazil appreciated the draft guidelines as it met the requirements for transparency, dialogue and access to information and therefore it fully endorsed the recommendation. However, it expressed concern that some Permanent Delegations had limited personnel and therefore wished to broaden the recipients to include National Commissions as well as the responsible focal point for the nomination concerned.
The delegation of Indonesia noted that the draft decision proposed to publish nomination files on the website prior to their inscription, when according to the existing procedure such nomination files should remain confidential.
The Secretary made clear that there were no provisions specifying that nomination files should remain confidential upon receipt, as only the Committee and the General Assembly could decide on the appropriateness of the measure. The Secretary explained that all working documents, including nomination files, were made public, adding that the Convention was the first instrument to apply such a release of documents to the public domain. Consequently, other conventions, i.e. the 2005 Convention, were considering introducing the same measure. The Secretary added that UNESCO’s Legal Office had already reviewed the draft decision and that no legal impediments to its adoption had been identified.
Congratulating the Secretariat on its work, the delegation of Morocco wished to raise a point on paragraph 5 of the Annex. The Chairperson asked that the point be raised later.
The delegation of Belgium felt that the Secretariat should nevertheless be informed of all correspondence, even if it is received after the Committee’s work and the inscription of the element concerned.
The Secretary replied that the draft decision specifically referred to correspondence received by the Secretariat so that letters received on time would be shared with the State Party concerned so that it may respond in a timely manner. Letters not received on time would be shared with the Permanent Delegation. However, the Secretary agreed that should the State Party receive correspondence not initially addressed to the Secretariat, the Committee could decide that such correspondence be transmitted to the Secretariat, which would then enter the treatment process as outlined in the draft decision.
The Chairperson turned to the draft decision and paragraphs 1–3, which were duly adopted.
The delegation of Brazil proposed to include ‘National Commissions to UNESCO’ and ‘the contact person responsible for the nomination’ in each paragraph of the annex containing ‘Permanent Delegation’.
The delegation of China understood and supported the point raised by Brazil but added that National Commissions were not always responsible for the nominations, and therefore wished to add ‘duly designated authority or institution’.
The Chairperson noted the relevant point and suggested ‘the competent authorities’.
The delegation of Morocco wished to retain the reference to the ‘Permanent Delegation’ and ‘the duly designated authority’, which referred to the responsible State authority submitting the nomination file, and to delete ‘National Commission’.
The delegation of Latvia fully supported Brazil’s amendment and wished to retain the reference to the ‘National Commission’, because in many countries, the National Commission is a real forum for experts in implementing the Convention. The delegation of Grenada supported Brazil’s amendment, as amended by China. The delegation of Nicaragua believed that all the relevant bodies in the State Party should be informed, and therefore supported Brazil’s amendment, as endorsed by Grenada and Latvia. The delegation of Burkina Faso supported Brazil’s amendment, as amended by China since this would provide ample opportunities for the State Party concerned to be informed of the correspondence and therefore adequately respond. The delegation of Uganda also wished to retain the reference to ‘National Commission’. Noting the support to retain ‘National Commission’, Morocco withdrew its amendment. With no further objections, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Annex, as amended by Brazil, was adopted.
With regard to paragraph 5 of the Annex, the delegation of Morocco wished to replace ‘after inscription’ with ‘in case of inscription’.
The Chairperson noted support for the amendment proposed by Morocco from Grenada, Brazil, Belgium, Albania, Greece, Latvia, Czech Republic, Tunisia, Egypt, Burkina Faso and Nicaragua.
The delegation of Brazil clarified that the adopted amendment in paragraph 3 should be repeated in paragraphs 6 and 7 [wherever ‘Permanent Delegation’ appeared].
The delegation of Peru remarked that paragraph 5 implied that the correspondence would remain online should the element not be inscribed and suggested that it be removed from the website upon evaluation of the nomination file. The Secretary clarified that the correspondence remained online during the process of evaluation, but would be removed afterwards, regardless of whether the element is inscribed or not.
The Legal Advisersuggested replacing ‘after inscription’ with ‘after the examination of the elements’. The delegation of Burkina Faso remarked that the wording should be ‘after the examination of the nomination files’.
The Chairperson read out the amended paragraph, ‘After examination of the nomination files, correspondence and comments are removed from the website of the Convention’.
With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson pronounced adopted paragraph 5 of the annex. Paragraphs 6 and 7 of the annex were amended in line with paragraph 3, which were duly adopted.
The delegation of China wondered whether the guidelines would also apply to correspondence received with regard to the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices. The Secretary confirmed that this would also apply to this mechanism.
With no further comments or objections, the Chairperson declared adopted 7.COM 15.