Sixty States have already ratified the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage*At the request of the Algerian Government, it has been decided to postpone the session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage to avoid any conflict with the end of Ramadan. The Committee will therefore meet on 18 and 19 November 2006**, and consequently, with the agreement of the President of the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, it has also been decided to convene an extraordinary session of the General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention on 9 November. The General Assembly will be held at UNESCO Headquarters. It will elect six additional members to the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention held its first ordinary session from 27 to 29 June at UNESCO. Forty-four of the 45 States Parties*** attended the session. The Assembly elected its president, Mohammed Bedjaoui (Algeria), and its Rapporteur O. 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 election of 18 members of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Assembly elected the following States: 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 once the number of States Parties reaches 50. As the 50th State Party deposited its instrument of acceptance on 30 May, the Convention will come into force on for 50 States on 30 August. Hence the need to convene an extraordinary session of the General Assembly to elect the six additional Member States. During the extraordinary session of the General Assembly of 9 November, 15 new States Parties will join the ranks of those that were able to take part in the first election in June: Madagascar, Albania, Zambia, Armenia, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Morocco, France, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Honduras, Sao Tome and Principe and Argentina.
Last June, the General Assembly decided that the elections be organized on the basis of UNESCO’s six electoral groups and that seats 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. The General Assembly also decided to examine, during the upcoming session, the desirability of introducing a maximum number of seats to be attributed to each group.
The Intergovernmental Committee will thus, as of its first session, consist of the maximum number of members as stipulated by the Convention, applying an equitable geographic distribution, also in keeping with the Convention.
The 24 States Parties of the Intergovernmental Committee will be convened for their first session on 18 and 19 November 2006 in Algiers.
* 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.
** Correction of Press Release No.2006-84
*** 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, Republic of Moldova, Jordan, Slovakia, Belgium, Turkey.