Rules of Procedure concerning recommendations to Member States and international conventions covered by the terms of Article IV, paragraph 4, of the Constitution
Adopted by the General Conference at its 5th session, and amended at its 7th, 17th, 25th, 32nd and 35th sessions (1)
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I. Scope of the present Rules of Procedure
These Rules of Procedure cover the preparation and the examination and adoption by the General Conference of :
(a) International conventions for ratification by Member States; and
(b) Recommendations in which the General Conference formulates principles and norms for the international regulation of any particular question and invites Member States to take whatever legislative or other steps may be required – in conformity with the constitutional practice of each state and the nature of the question under consideration – to apply the principles and norms aforesaid within their respective territories.
II. Inclusion in the agenda of the General Conference of proposals for the regulation of any question on an international basis
The General Conference shall make no decision on the desirability or on the substance of any proposal for the regulation of a particular question on an international basis by the adoption of an international convention or of a recommendation, unless the proposal has been specifically placed on the provisional agenda of the Conference in accordance with the present Rules of Procedure.
No new proposal for the regulation on an international basis of any question by the adoption by the General Conference of an international convention or a recommendation to Member States shall be included in the provisional agenda of the General Conference unless:
(a) It is accompanied by a preliminary study of the technical and legal aspects of the problem under consideration; and
(b) It has first been examined by the Executive Board at least ninety days before the opening of the session of the General Conference.
1. The Executive Board may communicate to the General Conference any comments it may deem necessary on proposals covered by Article 3.
2. The Board may decide to instruct the Secretariat, one or more experts or a committee of experts, to carry out a thorough study of the matters dealt with in the aforementioned proposals, and to prepare a report for communication to the General Conference.
When a proposal covered by the terms of Article 3 has been placed on the provisional agenda of the General Conference, the Director-General shall communicate to Member States, at least seventy days before the opening of the session of the Conference, a copy of the preliminary study accompanying the proposal, together with the Executive Board’s observations and decisions thereon.
III. Procedure for the first discussion by the General Conference
It shall be for the Conference to decide whether the question dealt with in the proposal should be regulated at the international level and, if so, to determine to what extent the question can be regulated and whether the method adopted should be an international convention or, alternatively, a recommendation to Member States.
1. The General Conference may, however, decide to defer to a future session the decisions mentioned in Article 6.
2. It may, in this case, instruct the Director-General to submit to a future session a report on the desirability of regulating the question dealt with in the proposal, on an international basis; on the method which should be adopted for that purpose; and on the extent to which the question can be regulated.
3. The Director-General’s report shall be communicated to Member States at least one hundred days before the opening of the session of the General Conference.
The General Conference shall take the decisions mentioned in Articles 6 and 7 by a simple majority.
The General Conference shall not vote on the adoption of a draft convention or recommendation before the ordinary session following that at which it has taken the decisions mentioned in Article 6.
IV. Preparation of drafts to be submitted to the General Conference for consideration and adoption
1. When the General Conference has taken decisions under the terms of Article 6, it shall instruct the Director-General to prepare a preliminary report setting forth the position with regard to the problem to be regulated and to the possible scope of the regulating action proposed. The preliminary report may be accompanied by the first draft of a convention or recommendation, as the case may be. Member States shall be asked to make comments and observations on that report.
2. The Director-General’s preliminary report shall reach Member States at least fourteen months before the opening of the session of the General Conference. Member States shall forward their comments and observations on the preliminary report, to reach the Director-General at least ten months before the opening of the session mentioned in the preceding sentence.
3. On the basis of the comments and observations transmitted, the Director-General shall prepare a final report containing one or more draft texts, which shall be communicated to Member States at least seven months before the opening of the session of the General Conference.
4. Unless the General Conference has decided otherwise, the Director-General’s final report shall be submitted to a special committee to be convened at least four months before the opening of the General Conference and consisting of technical and legal experts appointed by Member States. All Member States shall be invited as full participants in the special committee.
5. The special committee shall submit a draft which has its approval to Member States, with a view to its discussion at the General Conference, at least seventy days before the opening of the session of the General Conference.
V. Consideration and adoption of drafts by the General Conference
The General Conference shall consider and discuss draft texts submitted to it, and any amendments to them which may be proposed.
1. A two-thirds majority shall be required for the adoption of a convention.
2. A simple majority shall be sufficient for the adoption of a recommendation.
If, on the final vote, a draft convention does not secure the two-thirds majority required in the first paragraph of Article 12, but only a simple majority, the Conference may decide that the draft be converted into a draft recommendation to be submitted for its approval either before the end of the session or at the following session.
Two copies of any convention or recommendation adopted by the General Conference shall be authenticated by the signatures of the President of the General Conference and of the Director-General.
A certified copy of any convention or recommendation adopted by the General Conference shall be transmitted, as soon as possible, to Member States, in order that they may submit the convention or recommendation to their competent national authorities, in accordance with Article IV, paragraph 4, of the Constitution.
VI. Procedures for promoting Member States’ acceptance and application of conventions and recommendations adopted by the General Conference
1. While transmitting, pursuant to Article 15 of the present Rules, a certified copy of any convention or recommendation to Member States, the Director-General shall formally remind them of their obligation to submit the convention or recommendation in question to their competent national authorities in accordance with Article IV, paragraph 4, of the Constitution, drawing also their attention to the difference in the legal nature of conventions and recommendations.
2. The Member States shall make the text of any convention or recommendation known to the bodies, target groups and other entities interested in matters dealt with therein.
1. The Member States shall submit, by the dates specified by the General Conference, reports on the measures that they have adopted in relation to each convention in force and each recommendation adopted.
2. The General Conference may invite the Secretariat to assist the Member States in the implementation of the convention or recommendation concerned and in the preparation and follow-up of such reports.
1. The General Conference shall entrust the examination of the reports on such conventions and recommendations received from Member States to the Executive Board.
2. The Executive Board shall transmit to the General Conference the reports or, if so decided by the General Conference, the analytical summaries thereof, together with its observations or comments and any that the Director-General may make. They shall be examined by the competent subsidiary organs prior to their consideration in plenary meeting.
3. The Director-General shall regularly inform the General Conference and Executive Board with respect to the implementation of the conclusions and decisions adopted by the General Conference concerning reports on conventions and recommendations.
VII. Suspension and amendment
If there are special circumstances justifying such a course, the General Conference may decide, by a two-thirds majority, to suspend the application of the provisions of one or more articles in the present Rules of Procedure in any particular case. The Conference may not, however, suspend the application of Articles 8 and 12.
With the exception of Articles 8 and 12, these Rules may be amended by a decision of the General Conference taken by a two-thirds majority, provided that the proposal for amendment has first been placed on the agenda.
(1) See 5 C/Resolutions, pp. 133-34 and 137-39; 7 C/Resolutions, p. 109; 17 C/Resolutions,p. 114; 25 C/Resolutions, p. 194; 32 C/Resolutions, pp. 117-118; 35 C/Resolutions, p.95.