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How often and for how long does the Executive Board meet?

The Executive Board meets in regular sessions at least four times during a biennium.
It holds two regular sessions per year.
It meets for two to three weeks each time.
There is a short session of the Board immediately after the General Conference. (Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 1)

When are the sessions of the Executive Board held in private?

The Board has to deal with following questions in private meetings (The Ex. Board of UNESCO, IV,48):

• nominations for the post of Director General

• appointments to the Secretariat: the Director General informs the Members of the Board with regard to certain appointments, promotions or renewals of contract and reports on the proper application of the personal management system. 

• any other matters the Board may decide to examine in private meetings.

How is the agenda determined for each session?

  1. The Chairperson of the Executive Board sends the draft provisional agenda to the Bureau to solicit comments or suggestions from Members of the Executive Board.
  2. At least 30 days before the opening of a regular session, Members will receive the provisional agenda prepared by the Chairperson which includes:
  • all questions referred to the Board by the General Conference
  • all questions proposed by:
    - the United Nations
    - Member States
    - Members of the Board
    - the Director-General
  • all questions the inclusion of which has been decided by the Board at the previous sessions
  • questions required by the Constitution, the Rules of Procedure or any other applicable Rules and Regulations

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 5)

3. Revised provisional agenda: the Chairman may prepare a revised provisional agenda to include any questions proposed between the dispatch of the provisional agenda and the opening of the session or any other necessary modifications.

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 6)

When can an item be added to the agenda?

The Board may amend or add new items to the agenda any time before the Plenary of the EXB has adopted its respective provisional or revised provisional agenda. In session, items can be added to the agenda so adopted if so decided by a majority of the Members present and voting. Unless the Board decides otherwise, such new items shall not be discussed until 48 hours after their inclusion in the agenda.

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 8 and rule 22)


How is the timetable elaborated?

  1. The Chairperson of the EXB prepares a draft provisional timetable of the items.
  2. The Chairperson of EXB sends the draft provisional timetable to the Bureau to elicit comments or suggestions from Members of the Executive Board.
  3. At least 30 days before the opening of a regular session, Members will receive the provisional timetable prepared by the Chairperson.

What is the difference between the general and thematic debates?

The general debate takes place at every session and consists of the statements of Member States of the EXB on the Programme and Budget. The thematic debate is organized at specific times to consider specific matters. It usually includes the participation of a guest speaker.

By 182 EX/Decision 27, the Executive Board invites the Chairperson of the Executive Board to continue to arrange thematic debates, ensuring that the debate has focused themes with clear objectives linked to UNESCO's programme priorities and to major forthcoming items on the Executive Board agenda.

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