Committee on Conventions and Recommendations of the Executive Board
The Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs serves as the Secretariat of the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations of the Executive Board at each of its sessions.
Background - Terms of reference - Composition
It was in 1965, at its 70th session, that the Executive Board, ‘having noted resolution 16.1, adopted by the General Conference at its 13th session, on the plan prepared by the Director-General concerning the submission of periodic reports by Member States on their implementation of the Convention and Recommendation against Discrimination in Education’ decided that ‘the reports submitted by governments shall be … examined by a … special committee of the Executive Board …’ (70 EX/Decision 5.2.1).
At its 71st session the Board decided, in order to implement the above-mentioned decision, to set up ‘a Special Committee … to examine the reports of Member States on the implementation of the Convention and Recommendation against Discrimination in Education’ (71 EX/Decision 3.2).
This Committee was set up anew by the Board at its 75th session, as the ‘Special Committee on Discrimination in Education’ (75 EX/Decision 6.II).
At its 77th session, under item 8.3 of its agenda, entitled ‘Procedure for handling communications on individual cases involving human rights in education, science and culture’, the Board, having decided on the procedure to be followed, requested ‘the Director-General, in accordance with the said procedure, to bring the communications in question to the notice of the Special Committee on Discrimination in Education’ and decided ‘to extend the terms of reference of the Committee for this purpose’ (77 EX/Decision 8.3).
The General Conference, at its 15th session (1968), invited the Board: firstly, ‘to extend the term of office of its Special Committee on Discrimination’ (15 C/Resolution 29.1) and, secondly, ‘to make appropriate arrangements for reports by Member States on the implementation of conventions or recommendations to be examined by a subsidiary organ of the Board, such as the Present Special Committee on Discrimination in Education …’ (15 C/Resolution 12.2).
The Executive Board, at its 81st session, taking account of the above-mentioned 15 C/Resolution 29.1 again set up its Committee (81 EX/Decision 6.II).
At its 82nd session, under item 4.2.4 ‘Implementation of the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers’, the Board, being of the opinion that its Committee on Discrimination in Education could be given the task of examining the report of the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the application of this Recommendation, decided, when entrusting it with this task, to change the name of the Committee to ‘Committee on Conventions and Recommendations in Education’ (82 EX/Decision 4.2.4).
The Committee was subsequently re-established without a break, at the same time as the other subsidiary organs of the Board, at the Board’s first session after the end of the General Conference.
It should be mentioned that at its 104th session the Board decided that the Committee would henceforth be designated ‘Committee on Conventions and Recommendations’.
Finally, at the 122nd session, this Committee became a permanent Committee of the Board (see 122 EX/Decision 3.6 and 123 EX/Decision 4).
Terms of reference
At its 173rd session (October 2005) the Executive Board, having established its Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, gave it the following terms of reference:
‘The Executive Board,
1. Recalling 98 EX/Decision 9.6 (II), whereby it defined, in paragraph 12, the terms of reference of the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations in Education, namely:
(a) to examine periodic reports by Member States on their implementation of the Convention and Recommendation against Discrimination in Education;
(b) to examine communications addressed to UNESCO in connection with specific cases alleging a violation of human rights in education, science and culture;
(c) to examine the report of the Joint ILO-UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers*;
(d) to examine the reports of the Joint Expert Group (CR)/ECOSOC (CESCR) on the Monitoring of the Right to Education once a year;
2. Recalling also 104 EX/Decision 3.3, whereby it decided that the Committee would thenceforth be designated “the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations” and established the conditions and procedures for consideration of communications received by the Organization concerning cases and questions of violations of human rights within UNESCO’s fields of competence,
3. Renews the terms of reference mentioned above and decides that the Committee will also consider all questions entrusted to the Executive Board concerning the implementation of UNESCO’s standard-setting instruments, in accordance with Article 18.1 of the Rules of Procedure concerning recommendations to Member States and international conventions.’
The Committee is thus entrusted with two tasks:
(1) to consider all questions relating to the implementation of UNESCO’s standard-setting instruments that are entrusted to the Executive Board by the General Conference, including Member States’ periodic reports on the implementation of Conventions and Recommendations (1st aspect of the terms of reference);
(2) to examine communications relating to cases and questions concerning the exercise of human rights in UNESCO’s fields of competence (2nd aspect of the terms of reference).
Mr. Davidson HEPBURN (Bahamas)
Serbia and Montenegro
United States of America
* Now the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel