Fifth session of the General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention 2003
2-5 June 2014 in Paris (France)
The fifth session of the General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Convention 2003) started yesterday on 2 June and will continue until 5 June 2014 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The General Assembly is the sovereign body of this Convention and shall meet in ordinary session every two years.
The first day of the meeting was devoted to organizational issues and to consult the reports on the work done in the last two years – 4.1. Report of the Committee to the General Assembly on its activities between June 2012 and June 2014; 4.2. Report of the Intergovernmental Committee on the 2012 and 2013 reports of States Parties on the implementation of the Convention and on the current status of all elements inscribed on the Representative List; 4.3. Report of the Secretariat on its activities between June 2012 and June 2014.
The reports noted the increasing number of new States that have ratified the 2003 Convention as between June 2012 and June 2014, 14 States have ratified the Convention. Also they reported the gradual strengthening of policies for inventorying of the intangible cultural heritage in different countries and the increasing interest in the preparation of nominations for the Lists of UNESCO. As regards the implementation of the Convention in the different Member States special emphasis was put on the development of the facilitators’ network and the overall success of the capacity-building strategy of UNESCO.
Reports were received very positively by the representatives of different countries, such as discussion participants congratulated the Secretariat for the significant volume and quality of work and expressed their support. Among the proposals were to continue and expand its policy for capacity-building at national level, to develop forms of regional cooperation and to seek new and more flexible mechanisms for safeguarding of the heritage by including wider range of organizations and institutions.
At the end of the first day several changes to the Operational Directives of the Convention 2003 were made in relation to the Criteria for inscription of elements on the Lists of UNESCO.
The second day of the meeting was devoted to discussions on proposals for amendments to the Operational Directives of the Convention 2003. The main part of the discussions was related to the proposal to create a separate assessment body (Evaluative body) of the received nominations for the Lists of UNESCO – which consolidates the previous two units – Consultative Body and Subsidiary Body. The participants supported the idea of such change, stressing the need for clear criteria for the inclusion of experts and representatives of non-governmental organizations in this assessment body, as well as the principles of selection and rotation of the members in it. The proposal for the establishment of such body was adopted, and this change was recorded in the Operational Directives.
Attention was also paid on the proposal for the change to the criteria and procedures for the accreditation of NGOs at UNESCO – a question that after a lively discussion was postponed for the next meeting of the General Assembly. ь
Other proposals for amendments in the Operational Directives – to terminological clarification in translating parts of the Convention in different languages, the use of the resources of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, and the rules and procedures for the participation of the candidate countries to the General Assembly – were greeted positively by all participants and were adopted unanimously.
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