Over fifty UNESCO Member States already parties to Convention for safeguarding intangible heritageAn extraordinary session of the General Assembly of the States Parties to the International Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage* will be held on 17 October at UNESCO Headquarters. It will elect an additional six members of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage to take into account that the number of States Parties has now passed the 50-mark.
The General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention held its first ordinary session from 27 to 29 June at UNESCO. Forty-five States Parties** were able to participate. The Assembly elected its president, Mohammed Bedjaoui (Algeria), and its Rapporteur Faruk Loğoğlu (Turkey), as well as four vice-presidents (from Brazil, Ethiopia, India and Romania). It also adopted its Rules of Procedure and decided how to organize the elections of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. It then elected 18 Member States to the Committee: Algeria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Estonia, Gabon, Hungary, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Romania, Senegal, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam.
Under article 5.2 of the Convention, the Committee must comprise 24 members when the number of States Parties reaches 50. The Convention comes into force in each State three months after its instrument of ratification has been deposited with UNESCO, and the 50th State deposited its instrument of ratification on 30 May. The Convention will therefore enter into force in 50 States Parties on 30 August, hence the scheduling of an extraordinary session of the General Assembly to elect the six additional States to the Intergovernmental Committee.
All States Parties to the Convention are again invited to attend the extraordinary session of the General Assembly on 17 October. Ten new States Parties will join the 45 that participated in the first election in June: Madagascar, Albania, Zambia, Armenia, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Morocco, France and Côte d’Ivoire.
The General Assembly decided to organize the election on the basis of UNESCO’s six electoral groups. Seats will be distributed among these groups in proportion to the number of States Parties to the Convention in each group, given that in a committee of 24 members, each group will occupy at least three seats.
As of its first meeting, the Intergovernmental Committee will therefore be composed of the maximum number of members stipulated by the Convention, adhering as closely as possible to the equitable geographic distribution the Convention calls for.
The 24 States Members of the Intergovernmental Committee will be invited to hold their first session in Algiers on 21 and 22 October 2006.
* The International Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted in October 2003 by UNESCO’s General Conference, entered into force on 20 April 2006, three months after the 30th instrument of ratification had been deposited.
** They were the following countries: Algeria, Mauritius, Japan, Gabon, Panama, China, Central African Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Republic of Korea, Seychelles, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates, Mali, Mongolia, Croatia, Egypt, Oman, Dominica, India, Viet Nam, Peru, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nigeria, Iceland, Mexico, Senegal, Romania, Estonia, Luxembourg, Nicaragua, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Hungary, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Slovakia, Republic of Moldova, Belgium, Turkey.