Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Decisions from the Executive Board

The decisions of the Executive Board of UNESCO at its meeting in April 2007 are available online.

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Some of the decisions are shown below:

Report by the Director-General on an improved version of the Global Action Plan to
achieve the EFA goals by 2015, and progress report on its implementation (176 EX/9;
176 EX/66 Part I)

The Executive Board,
1. Recalling 175 EX/Decision 7,
2. Having examined document 176 EX/9,
3. Reaffirming the importance of accelerating progress towards the six EFA goals and other educational development goals,
4. Welcoming the changes introduced into the Global Action Plan reflecting the specific concerns expressed by the Executive Board and the participants in the Sixth Meeting of the EFA High-Level Group held in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2006,
5. Having requested the Director-General to continue to improve and develop the Global Action Plan by reinforcing collective ownership through ongoing regular consultations among the five original EFA convening agencies so that it remains a dynamic framework for coordination, and can be expanded to include other EFA partners,
6. Taking note of the efforts made to coordinate the Global Action Plan with the United Nations reform process and the fact that the Global Action Plan will be increasingly focused on implementation at the country level, including that of the pilot countries selected in the context of the United Nations reform,
7. Further noting the welcome given to the improved version of the Global Action Plan by the Sixth Meeting of the EFA High-Level Group,
8. Welcoming the efforts to harmonize the Global Action Plan and the UNESCO National Education Support Strategy (UNESS) at the country level,
9. Further welcoming the new agreement on “Partnerships for Education” between UNESCO and the World Economic Forum,
10. Invites the Director-General to seek other partnerships of this kind;
11. Supports the Director-General in his efforts to continue working on the strategy for support to education in order to enhance the number of countries participating in the UNESCO National Education Support Strategy;
12. Invites the Director-General to submit to the Executive Board at its 179th session an initial report on the application of the Global Action Plan, including at the country level, taking into account the forthcoming EFA Global Monitoring Report and the discussions and conclusions of the meeting of the EFA High-Level Group to be held in Dakar in December 2007.

Report on UNESCO action in favour of the respect for freedom of expression and
respect for sacred beliefs and values and religious and cultural symbols (176 EX/23;
176 EX/66 Part II)

The Executive Board,
1. Recalling 33 C/Resolution 49 and 174 EX/Decision 46,
2. Having examined document 176 EX/23,
3. Takes note of the conclusions, as presented in document 176 EX/23, of the compilation and comprehensive study of all existing relevant international instruments on the subject of respect for freedom of expression and respect for sacred beliefs and values and religious and cultural symbols, as well as of the progress achieved towards the implementation of the plan of action for the dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples;
4. Recognizes the complexity and multi-dimensional character of this issue, as well as the need to strengthen UNESCO’s leadership role in advocating the promotion of dialogue among cultures, religions and peoples through an interdisciplinary and coordinated approach within UNESCO;
5. Invites the Director-General to report to it at its 179th session on the implementation of innovative modalities of action, including the Power of Peace Network, for the purpose of furthering mutual understanding, as well as respect for all people’s religious and cultural values, and for freedom of expression.

Preparation of a convention for the protection of indigenous and endangered
languages (176 EX/59; 176 EX/INF.16; 176 EX/66 Part II; 176 EX/67)

The Executive Board,
1. Having examined document 176 EX/59,
2. Considering that indigenous and vernacular languages as a whole are increasingly affected by the adverse consequences of globalization,
3. Expressing concern at the continuous displacement and extinction that often threaten many languages, year after year, throughout the world,
4. Stressing that indigenous and vernacular languages are vehicles of peoples’ cultural identity and ancestral knowledge, and constitute a vast irreplaceable heritage,
5. Further stressing that whenever there is a veiled threat of displacement or extinction of the linguistic and cultural heritage, indigenous communities and peoples which are the bearers of such heritage, at various levels, have responded actively and have voiced their protests in international fora with strong statements in support of their cultural and linguistic heritage with a view to its perpetuation,
6. Recalling that the Organization, in fulfilling its basic purpose of protecting creativity and cultural diversity throughout the world, has undertaken to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism through international standard-setting instruments such as the 2001 UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and by implementing an intersectoral strategy for the programmatic integration of indigenous languages into the Organization’s five sectors,
7. Considering that the political will of States and the implementation of regional initiatives to safeguard and revitalize languages and promote multilingualism may not suffice at the world level to guarantee the preservation and intergenerational transmission of indigenous and vernacular languages,
8. Requests the Director-General to conduct a preliminary study of the technical and legal aspects of a possible international standard-setting instrument for the protection of indigenous and endangered languages, including a study of the outcomes of the programmes implemented by UNESCO relating to this issue, and to submit such a preliminary study to the Executive Board for examination at its 179th session;
9. Invites the Director-General to convene a meeting of experts, including representatives of indigenous peoples, to assist him in the preparation of such a preliminary study, and to seek extrabudgetary funding for it.

SPECIAL PLENARY MEETING
(Monday 16 April, Tuesday 17 April and Wednesday 18 April 2007)

176 EX/Special plenary meeting/Decision
Israeli archaeological excavations at the Mughrabi ascent in the Old City of Jerusalem
(176 EX/Special Plenary Meeting/1; 176 EX/Special Plenary Meeting/INF.1; 176 EX/Special
Plenary Meeting/INF.2)

The Executive Board,
1. Recalling the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of
Armed Conflict of 1954, the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972, the inscription of the Old City of Jerusalem at the request of Jordan on the World Heritage List (1981) and on the List of World Heritage in Danger (1982), the relevant resolutions, decisions and recommendations of UNESCO, paragraph 6 of Decision 30 COM 7A.34 of the World Heritage Committee, and other conventions as appropriate,
2. Having examined the report of the technical mission sent by the Director-General from 28 February to 2 March 2007 “to study the reconstruction work and archaeological excavation at the Mughrabi ascent”,
3. Reaffirms the outstanding universal value of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem and the importance of its protection and safeguarding for the collective memory of people from different religions and cultural backgrounds, especially the peoples of the region, having regard to their history and civilization;
4. Encourages the Israeli authorities to provide the necessary details regarding the final design of the Mughrabi ascent, and affirms that the principal aim of the said design should be to maintain the authenticity and integrity of the site;
5. Encourages the Israeli authorities to cooperate with the Waqf of Jerusalem and the Jordanian authorities;
6. Encourages all Member States, authorities and institutions to cooperate constructively for the protection, safeguarding and restoration of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem;
7. Expresses its sincere thanks to the Director-General for the actions he has taken to reaffirm UNESCO’s noble mission to safeguard, preserve and restore world heritage for the sake of humanity and future generations;
8. Appreciates the concern expressed on this topic at the special plenary meeting;
9. Invites the Director-General to request the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee to convene immediately to prepare the ground for the informal meeting of the World Heritage Committee in early June, in order to ensure a substantive discussion on the follow-up to the report of the technical mission at the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee;
10. Requests the Director-General, within the framework of the World Heritage Convention, to propose to the World Heritage Committee at its forthcoming session a mechanism to ensure the proper implementation of World Heritage Committee decisions;
11. Invites the Director-General to submit to the Executive Board at its 177th session a report on the progress made in this regard.

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