The Committee on Conventions and Recommendations examines communications in private session. In principle, the Committee meets at UNESCO Headquarters twice yearly during Executive Board sessions (in Spring and Autumn). The Committee shall consist of 30 Member States of the Executive Board.
In the first instance, it examines the admissibility of the communications. There are ten conditions governing admissibility which are set out in 104 EX/Decision 3.3; if one of them is not met, no further action is taken on the communication. Thus, for a communication to be admissible, it must, inter alia, meet the following conditions:
- the communication must not be anonymous
- the communication must not be manifestly ill-founded and must appear to contain relevant evidence;
- the communication must be neither offensive nor an abuse of the right to submit communications;
- the communication must not be based exclusively on information disseminated through the mass media (the press, television, radio . . .);
- the communication must be submitted within a reasonable time limit following the facts which constitute its subject matter or within a reasonable time limit after the facts have become known;
- the communication must indicate whether an attempt has been made to exhaust available domestic remedies with regard to the facts which constitute the subject matter of the communication and the result of such an attempt, if any.
The Committee then proceeds to examine the substance of the communications. For this purpose, the representatives of the governments concerned are invited to provide information or answer questions asked by members of the Committee on either the admissibility or the merits of the communication. Since the Committee is not in any way an international tribunal, it endeavours to resolve the problem in a spirit of international cooperation, dialogue, conciliation and mutual understanding. Out of a concern for efficiency in the search for a friendly solution, the Committee works in the strictest confidentiality, which is vital to the success of its action.
Following the session during which a communication has been examined by the Committee, its author and the government concerned by it are informed of the Committee’s decisions, which are not subject to appeal. However, the Committee may agree to re-examine a communication if it receives additional information or new facts.