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Building peace in the minds of men and women

Memory of the World

Comprehensive Review

In 2015, the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of the Memory of the World (MoW) Programme initiated a review of the MoW Programme. On 6 April 2018, the Chair of the IAC submitted to UNESCO, after approval by the IAC, three documents arising out of this IAC-led review. These documents were placed online prior to the 204th session of the Executive Board. It was made clear that they did not constitute the official documentation for that particular session. During the 204th session, the proposed draft action plan for the comprehensive review of the MoW Programme was presented, pursuant to Decision 202 EX/15. Subsequently, in its Decision 204 EX/8, the Executive Board invited the Director-General to submit to its 205th session an updated action plan, taking into account the discussions during the 204th session. The three IAC-led review documents, which will serve as the primary basis for the comprehensive review, can be accessed by clicking on the links below:

In responding to Member States’ request for greater participation in the comprehensive review process, the MoW Secretariat organized two information sessions on 9 July and 5 September 2018, where the updated action plan was presented and suggestions made for its improvement. The MoW Secretariat took onboard the suggestions made by Member States. Presentations made during the information meetings can be accessed below:

An additional request by Member States was for the Secretariat to make available the responses collected from Member States (through their National Commissions for UNESCO) and other stakeholders during the IAC-led review. Below follow two such compilations, for the information of Member States:

Following the adoption of the Action Plan for the Comprehensive Review adopted by the 205th session of the Executive Board, Action Step 1 of the Action Plan: ‘Further consultation of Member States’ was launched in November 2018. The Member States were invited to fill in an online questionnaire containing 3 key questions and based on the IAC-review documents (Draft revised General Guidelines, Draft revised Statutes of IAC, Draft Code of Ethics). The UNESCO MoW Secretariat presented the preliminary results of the survey at an information meeting on 30 January 2019.

Three procedural meetings have so far been held, including a preparatory meeting organized by the UNESCO Secretariat on 7 December 2018, at which the draft terms of reference were presented and modifications suggested for subsequent deliberation. On 22 January, another meeting was organized, where the six Vice-Chairs representing UNESCO electoral groups were confirmed for leadership of the Working Group. These are Greece, Lithuania, Uruguay, Myanmar, Ghana and Algeria. A subsequent meeting, held on 30 January 2019, ratified the two Co-Chairs of the Working Group as follows :

H.E. Mr Ferit Hoxha - Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Albania and H.E. Mr Mounir Anastas - Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Palestine.

During the meeting of 14 February 2019 the Open Ended Working Group adopted its terms of reference, thus defining its mandate and working modalities.

Experts designated by Member States participated in a joint meeting on 1 April 2019 with members of the Memory of the World (MoW) International Advisory Committee (IAC). Download the agenda and the presentations from Jan Bos and David Fricker. Subsequently, the Chairperson of the IAC, Dr Abdulla M. Alraisi, addressed this letter to the Co-Chairs of the open-ended working group set up to examine the most appropriate legal framework for the MoW Programme as part of the comprehensive review.

At its last meeting, held on 10 September 2019, the co-chairs undertook to prepare a report on the deliberations held. The report can be accessed here

At its 207th session, where the co-chairs’ report was referenced in the consolidated report on the comprehensive review presented by the UNESCO Secretariat, the Executive Board decided to establish a limited participant working group (LPWG) as an extension to the open-ended working group until June 2020, with the same terms of reference and co-chairs as the open-ended working group, and invited the co-chairs to take the necessary measures to expedite its deliberations on the remaining issues. Since its creation, the LPWG has organized six meetings during which time the working group has further worked on the General Guidelines and the Statutes of the IAC in preparation for submission to the 211th session of the Executive Board, where the two documents are expected to be approved as an operational framework for the MoW Programme. The documents can be accessed as follows:

The working group consisted of 32 members