The Committee’s competence in this sphere dates back to the 15th session (1968) of the General Conference, which decided (15 C/Resolution 12.2) to entrust the examination of the implementation of conventions or recommendations to a subsidiary organ of the Executive Board.
The Committee’s terms of reference, however, covered only the examination of those reports expressly entrusted to it. For instance, at its 71st session (1965) the Executive Board required the Committee to examine periodic reports relating to the implementation of the Convention and Recommendation on Discrimination in Education; at its 82nd session (1969) the report of the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers; at its 105th session (1978) reports on the implementation of the Convention and Recommendation on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Export, Import and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
It should be noted, in this connection, that only periodic reports were submitted to the Committee for examination, the initial special reports Member States were required to submit at the first ordinary session of the General Conference following the adoption of the Convention or Recommendation in question being examined by the Legal Committee of the General Conference.
At its 32nd session, the General Conference, by 32 C/Resolution 77, decided that henceforth it would entrust to the Executive Board, and in particular to the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, the examination of the reports that it requested from Member States on conventions and recommendations. Accordingly, the distinction between periodic reports and special reports no longer exists. The reports adopted by the Committee following its examination will be submitted to the General Conference with the reports of Member Sates or (if so decided by the General Conference) the analytical summaries thereof, together with the Executive Board’s comments.
In the framework of the strengthening of the first feature of the Committee’s mandate, the Executive Board adopted at its 177th session a Specific multi-stage procedure for the monitoring of the implementation of UNESCO Conventions and recommendations for which no specific institutional mechanism is provided (177 EX/Decision 35 I). At that very same session, the Board also adopted framework guidelines for the preparation of reports on the implementation of conventions for whose monitoring the CR Committee is responsible (177 EX/Decision 35 II), et that would apply to the three conventions that were still being monitored regularly, namely::
- the Convention against Discrimination in Education (Paris, 14 December 1960)
- the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Paris, 14 November 1970)
- the Convention on Technical and Vocational Education (Paris, 10 November 1989).
In addition, at its 34th session (2007), the General Conference, in 34 C/Resolution 87, decided that of UNESCO’s 31 recommendations, the Executive Board would primarily monitor the following 11 recommendations :
- Recommendation against Discrimination in Education (14 December 1960)
- Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (5 October 1966)
- Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Cooperation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (19 November 1974)
- Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers (20 November 1974)
- Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education (26 November 1976)
- Revised Recommendation concerning the International Standardization of Educational Statistics (27 November 1978)
- Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist (27 October 1980)
- Recommendation on the Recognition of Studies and Qualifications in Higher Education (13 November 1993)
- Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel (11 November 1997)
- Revised Recommendation concerning Technical and Vocational Education (2 November 2001)
- Recommendation concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace (15 October 2003).
By 162 EX/Decision 5.4 (October 2001), the Executive Board established the Joint Expert Group UNESCO (CR)/ECOSOC (CESCR) on the monitoring of the right to education. It is composed of two representatives of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) nominated by its Chairperson and two representatives of the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations (CR) nominated by the Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO in consultation with the Chairperson of CR. By 171 EX/Decision 27, paragraph 5 (d), of the Executive Board, the reports of the Joint Expert Group are examined once a year. The terms of reference of the Joint Expert Group are to:
(a) formulate practical suggestions for strengthening the growing collaboration between UNESCO (CR) and ECOSOC (CESCR) for the purpose of monitoring and promoting the right to education in all its dimensions;
(b) suggest specific measures for cooperative action by the two bodies with a view to imparting synergy to the follow-up to the Dakar Framework for Action within the United Nations system;
(c) consider the possibilities for reducing the reporting burden on States in relation to the right to education and identify ways in which arrangements could be both streamlined and made more effective;
(d) advise on right to education indicators.