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What is an electoral group?

In order to correct an imbalance in the geographical distribution of seats on the Board, all members of UNESCO are grouped by regional Electoral Groups. There are the following six electoral groups:

  • Group I (Western European and North American States)
  • Group II (Eastern European States)
  • Group III (Latin-American and Caribbean States)
  • Group IV (Asian and Pacific States)
  • Group V (a) (African States)
  • Group V (b) (Arab States)

The 58 Member States are elected to the EXB according to this system of regional grouping whereby each region is allocated a specific number of seats on the Board.

(The Ex. Board of UNESCO, I, 8.1;   Rules of Proc. of the GC, app. 2)

The principle of “equitable representation” is applied for the establishment of committees, working groups and drafting groups.

What is a "clean slate" and how can it be obtained?

In an election of the EXB or one of the subsidiary organs of UNESCO “clean slate” refers to the situation where the number of candidates is the same as the number of seats available for an electoral group. It may be obtained through negotiations inside electoral groups.

What are the rights of observers at the Executive Board?

With the permission of the Chairperson of the commission or committee:

  • observers of Member States and of non-Member States may address the Board on matters under discussion.
  • representatives of the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies may participate in the discussions of the Board and its subsidiary organs.
  • observers of intergovernmental or international non-governmental organizations and other qualified persons may be invited by the Board to address it on matters within their competence.
  • observers have no right to vote.

(Ex. Board, Rules of Proc., rule 30)

What are the functions and the rights of an alternate member representative to the Executive Board?

Alternates can be appointed by each Member State of the EXB. He/she shall act in the absence of its representatives in all his/her functions.

(The Ex. Board of UNESCO, I, 11.2)

How to become a Member of the Executive Board?

  • The Executive Board Members States are elected by the General Conference.
  • At least three months prior to the opening of any ordinary session of the General Conference the Director General sends a letter to ask each Member State whether it intends to stand for election to the Executive Board.
  • Subsequent candidatures shall be admissible only if they reach the Secretariat of the General Conference at least forty-eight hours before the beginning of the ballot.
  • The election of Members of the Board shall be conducted by secret ballot.

(Gen. Con., Rules of proc., app.2)

Who can join the Executive Board?

All Member States of UNESCO can join the EXB. Since the 27th session of GC (1993) the Board has consisted of Member States of UNESCO rather than of individuals in their personal capacity. Each Member State appoints one representative and may also appoint alternates.

(The Ex. Board of UNESCO, I, 11-11.1)

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