During the Intergovernmental Committee Meeting 8.COM in Baku Azerbaijan (December 2013), one of the (many) items at stake will be the reflection on the criteria and modalities for accreditation of non-governmental organizations.
Today, 156 NGOs are accredited in relation to the UNESCO 2003 Convention, an unhoped success, which runs parallel with the Convention’s ratification success. The accreditation of NGOs is up to date an ‘accreditation to provide advisory services to the Intergovernmental Committee’. Nevertheless, only a minority of NGOs delivers the stated advisory services because of the limited occasions in which the Convention appeals to the advisory services by NGOS. The unforeseen enthusiasm and large extent of NGOs registering for accreditation brings nevertheless accordingly administrative and procedural paperwork for the ICH Secretariat.
In this context the question was raised on 7.COM to possibly review the criteria for accreditation and evaluation of the NGOs.
Meanwhile, the NGOs are conscious of the benefits of their association with the Convention and engaged to introduce other aspects of reflection by formulating a NGO Forum statement for 7.COM
In this statement he NGO FORUM stressed the important roles of NGOs for cultural mediation, raising awareness, representation and advocacy. It confirmed the willingness of NGOs to contribute to the strengthening of the fundamental community participation in the implementation of the 2003 Convention, and to offer support and expertise in national and international processes for capacity building and safeguarding of ICH. Next to all this we should not forget to mention also the important effect that the status of UNESCO accreditation is empowering NGOs in their independent role acting in between heritage communities on the one hand and on the other hand states parties in which territory they are active.
In Decision 7.COM 16.be the Intergovernmental Committee expresses its regrets for the limited opportunities until now to act in advisory capacity to the committee and requested the Secretariat to report at 8.COM on the profile of the NGOS accredited and the nature of their work, and to propose an evaluation form for assessing their potential contribution to the implementation of the Convention.
It is especially on these last mentioned topics that the NGO FORUM SYMPOSIUM hopes to contribute in the context of 8.COM by bringing the diverse experience and ideas of associated NGOs in the reflections and debates.
Undoubtedly a great variety of NGOs is affiliated with the Convention. As for their positioning between governments and bearers (practitioners) of ICH, one can notice the whole spectrum from organizations tightly connected (if not equal) to bearers of ICH, through (prevailing, as it seems) cultural brokerage or mediating organizations, to organizations that function as a non-governmental counterpart of governmental bodies. Also, there are huge differences in terms of how mediation is conceived and put into practice, as well as in terms of what kind of expertise predominates – e.g. knowledge on ICH element(s) in question, management skills, proficiency in ICH program, expertise in the functioning of cultural flows beyond ICH program per se, scholarly knowledge in particular domains of ICH, etc. The scope of aims and activities also differs to a large degree – from organizations dedicated to a very specific segment of ICH to organizations covering all domains of ICH as defined in the Convention. Similarly, their cultural-territorial scope varies from very local to worldwide organizations. Which contribution brings this rich and colourful palette of NGOs to the implementation of the Convention? And how could or should NGO accreditation and management be organized to produce at best the desirable effects for the Convention’s mission of the safeguarding of ICH?
CALL FOR PAPERS
The proposed papers should address the following questions at stake:
– Which contributions NGOs (could) bring concerning ICH and the UNESCO 2003 Convention to communities, states parties and UNESCO at large on local, national and international levels?
– What are advantages and disadvantages of the great variety among NGOs for the functioning of the Convention?
– How could/should the coordination between NGOs be developed in the near future within the framework of the Convention to reach optimal results?
> It is expected that the proposed papers formulate concrete ideas, positions, propositions for the topics at stake and document as much as possible the statements with concrete examples and experiences.
> The organizing committee of the NGO Forum further recommends reading the documents of the provisional Agenda of 8.COM (which is expected by the first week of November) to integrate associated items of the 8.COM agenda in the contributions of the NGO Forum Symposium. - We also like to inform you about the published Summary of the report from the internal audit of the working methods of the UNESCO Cultural Conventions, published here.
>> Your presentation can be important to the NGO Forum. But we need for you to be 100% sure that you’ll participate in the Baku Forum (please, note that the NGO Forum has no means for financial support).
If you are interested in a presentation, we ask you to write an abstract of 200-300 words for your proposed presentation. The abstract should give a clear focus of the problem and evidence of the author’s knowledge of the issues concerned. The abstract should be sent to Jorijn Neyrinck (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 11 November 2013. Please mention in the subject of your email: ‘abstract Call For Papers NGO Forum 2013’. The abstracts will be reviewed by a Committee, composed by the working group organizing the Baku NGO Forum Symposium and Meeting on 1st of December (Dr. Ani, Urtnasan Norov, Naila Cerabasic, Ananya Bhattacharya, Joanne Orr, Jorijn Neyrinck). You will be notified about acceptance of your proposal by 18 November 2013. If your proposal is accepted, we expect a full text of no more than 4-5 pages (maximum of 2000 words) by 25 November 2013. These papers will be posted on the NGO website before the NGO Forum.
In advance, many thanks to all of those sending their abstract.