ICH NGO FORUM BYLAWS
SECTION I – NAME AND
The name of the organization shall be ICH NGO Forum in
English, and Forum des ONG du PCI in French.
The ICH NGO Forum is an association of NGOs accredited to the
2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (the
Convention) to act in an advisory capacity to the Intergovernmental Committee for the
Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (the Intergovernmental Committee). It
may also advise other stakeholders of the Convention and civil society at large
The ICH NGO Forum, inter alia, shall:
(a) serve as a forum for the exchange of
information and ideas about safeguarding ICH;
(b) act as a platform for networking and
cooperation among ICH NGOs;
(c) foster ethical principles and
participation of civil society for the safeguarding of ICH;
(d) provide resources, reports and
information about safeguarding practices to UNESCO, States Parties, communities,
practitioners and other ICH stakeholders;
(e) support ICH NGOs in advancing their
cooperation with governmental and intergovernmental entities (such as National
Commissions for UNESCO, regional offices of UNESCO, Category 2 centers), especially as
regards implementation of the principles of community agency and community-based,
participatory, bottom-up approaches;
(f) contribute to the capacity-building
programme and to experiencesharing on good safeguarding practices, including through the
publication of the journal #HeritageAlive;
(g) advise the Intergovernmental Committee
on specific thematic issues, and participate in reporting and monitoring on inscribed
ICH elements and safeguarding practices.
The ICH NGO Forum shall adopt its internal policies, including
a code of conduct of the ICH NGO Forum and a model code of conduct for NGOs accredited
to the Convention.
SECTION II – MEMBERSHIP
Any NGO accredited to the Convention shall be considered a
member of the ICH NGO Forum after being informed in this regard, unless it declines
membership in the ICH NGO Forum.
Each NGO accredited to the Convention shall appoint one voting
representative to the General Assembly of the ICH NGO Forum. Other members of accredited
NGOs, as well as non-accredited NGOs and any other stakeholders engaged in ICH
safeguarding may take part in ICH NGO Forum meetings and the General Assembly, but are
not eligible to vote.
SECTION III – MEETINGS AND THE
The annual meeting of ICH NGO Forum shall occur at the time
and venue of the annual session of the Intergovernmental Committee. The General Assembly
of the membership shall occur during the annual meeting at the date and time to be
determined by the Steering Committee. The Chair and/or the Vice-Chair shall preside at
the General Assembly.
Other meetings may be called by a simple majority of the
Notice of each meeting and the General Assembly shall be given
on the website of the ICH NGO Forum, http://www.ngoforum.org, and by email, not less
than four weeks prior to the meeting.
The quorum for transaction of business at the General Assembly
shall consist of 20 voting members of accredited NGOs from at least three different
A majority vote of those voting is necessary to transact any
business brought before the membership, other than the election of Steering Committee
members that is conducted by plurality vote.
The meetings will address topics of relevance to the purposes
of the ICH NGO Forum. Their programme shall be coordinated by the Steering Committee.
The General Assembly shall examine and approve the annual
report on the Forum’s programmes, services and partnerships, annual financial report,
and annual plan providing a framework for the Forum’s activities.
Each member NGO, represented by one voting delegate, shall
have the right to propose and second resolutions, to take part in discussions, approve
and amend the agenda for the General Assembly, and to vote.
Meetings and the General Assembly will be held in English
and/or French, and reports will be published in both English and French.
SECTION IV – STEERING
The Steering Committee acts as the executive body for the ICH
NGO Forum. It is responsible for implementing the policy decided by the General Assembly
of the Forum and manages its operations, finances, administration, and affairs.
Throughout the year, it oversees communication around Forum’s activities through,
amongst other means, the newsletter, website, and social media sites.
The Steering Committee’s mission is to coordinate, for the
benefit of the accredited NGOs, the activities of the Forum, including but not limited
- liaison with UNESCO Secretariat of
the Convention for collective matters dealing with civil society organizations, and
especially accredited NGOs;
- coordinate activities of the ICH
NGO Forum at the time of sessions of the Convention’s governing organs (General
Assembly of the States Parties, and Intergovernmental Committee);
- in a spirit of transparency and
good governance, develop communication around the Forum activities, including those
of the Steering Committee such as communicating minutes of its meetings within a
reasonable period of time, issuing invitations to its meetings, etc.;
- develop the network of accredited
ICH NGOs, including facilitation of dialogue, and exchange of information and best
- initiate thematic activities
through, amongst others, the organization of workshops;
- organize capacity building
activities, which may be carried out in coordination with UNESCO Secretariat of the
- coordinate dialogue and initiatives
with States Parties or other entities designed to foster financial sustainability of
collective activities of accredited NGOs;
- manage funds that have been raised
for the Forum’s activities;
- promote participation of civil
society for the safeguarding of ICH.
No less than four weeks prior to the General Assembly, the
Steering Committee shall prepare and distribute an annual report on the Forum’s
programmes, services and partnerships; annual financial report, including the sources of
funding, the use of funds, and explanation of any significant variations between
budgeted and actual revenues and expenses; and annual plan providing a framework for the
Forum’s activities that is concordant with available resources. All three documents
shall be submitted to the General Assembly for its examination and approval.
No member of the Steering Committee shall participate in
deciding a matter directly impacting her or him. Each member of the Steering Committee
shall disclose in writing all potential and actual conflicts of interest in a signed
conflict of interest statement.
Membership of the Steering Committee shall consist of seven
members serving two-year terms, with eligibility for re-election for no more than one
additional consecutive term. Their election shall be conducted on the basis of the
electoral groups of UNESCO (Western Europe and North America, Eastern Europe, Latin
America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, Arab States, Africa), each representing
an NGO with headquarters in the listed six regions, and one member representing an
international NGO (understood as NGOs active in two or more electoral groups of UNESCO).
In the absence of candidates from NGOs with headquarters in the region concerned, the
term of office of the current member will be extended until the next election for
Steering Committee members, regardless of whether she or he already served for the
maximum of two consecutive terms. The election of one member from each of three regions
occurs every year, and every two years for the international NGOs. Detailed election
rules and procedures are described in the document “ICH NGO Forum Steering Committee:
Mission and tasks of the Committee; General profile of members of the Committee and
election process” that was adopted by the General Meeting of the ICH NGO Forum in 2016
and amended in 2017.
Members of the official delegation of a State Party may not be
elected to the Steering Committee. If a member of the Steering Committee becomes a
member of official delegation of a State Party in the course of her or his service in
the Steering Committee, membership in the Steering Committee will be terminated.
The Steering Committee members receive no compensation other
than reimbursement of reasonable expenses, if such funds are available and so
All other policies and procedures regarding the election of
the Steering Committee shall be determined by the Election Board.
An Election Board, preferably composed of seven members (one
from each UNESCO electoral group and one from an international NGO), and in any case a
minimum of three members, will make a call to accredited NGOs for Steering Committee
candidatures, at least ten weeks prior to each General Assembly of the ICH NGO Forum.
The General Assembly of the ICH NGO Forum will nominate members of the Election Board
one year prior to the elections. In the absence of this Election Board, a month and a
half prior to the date of the Forum General Assembly, the Steering Committee will make a
call to all accredited NGOs for candidatures. Members of the Election Board cannot be
candidates to the Steering Committee. Each member of the Election Board will serve no
longer than three consecutive years.
The Steering Committee shall meet every month through any
shared means of telecommunication, and also during the sessions of the Convention’s
governing bodies. Meetings will be conducted in English and/or French. Minutes of each
meeting are to be produced, and made available to the member NGOs and general public,
and archived for further use. Steering Committee members must have written notice of
official meetings at least five days in advance. Meetings with the UNESCO Secretariat of
the Convention are to be held at least twice a year whenever possible.
A quorum must be attended by simple majority of members of the
Steering Committee before motions can be made or passed.
There shall be four officers of the Steering Committee,
consisting of a Chair, a Vice-Chair, a Secretary and a Treasurer. The officers, who
shall constitute the Executive Committee, shall be decided upon by the Steering
Committee during the week of their meeting at the session of the Intergovernmental
The Chair of the Steering Committee shall
serve a term of one year and cannot be renewed. The Chair is responsible for convening
Steering Committee meetings and presiding during these meetings.
The Vice-Chair will serve as Chair in the
absence of the Chair.
The Secretary shall be responsible for
keeping records of Steering Committee actions, including overseeing the taking of
minutes at all Steering Committee meetings, sending out meeting announcements,
distributing copies of minutes and the agenda to all Steering Committee members, and
assuring that ongoing ICH NGO records are maintained.
The Treasurer shall report on finances at
each Steering Committee meeting, assist in the preparation of the budget, help develop
fundraising plans, disburse funds and sign checks, and make financial information
available to Steering Committee members, ICH NGO membership and the public.
Resignation from the Steering Committee must be in writing and
received by the Secretary. If an accredited NGO notifies the Steering Committee that the
person serving on the Committee no longer represents their organization, the person is
no longer eligible to a Steering Committee member. A Steering Committee member shall be
dropped for excess absences from the Steering Committee meetings if she or he has three
unexcused absences from the meetings in a year.
Vacancies occurring on the Steering Committee may be filled at
any time by appointment of the Chair with approval of two-thirds of the Steering
Committee. The person filling the vacant position must be from an NGO active in the same
region as the person who vacated the position (from an NGO with headquarters in the
region concerned, an NGO with headquarters elsewhere but with main activities situated
in the region concerned, or an international NGO active in the region concerned). The
appointment will be until the next election for Steering Committee members.
SECTION V – WORKING GROUPS
There shall be provision for Working Groups organized around
areas of ICH interests, policies, practices and research. Working Groups may, in
coordination with the Steering Committee, organize workshops and other programmes, issue
reports, produce recommendations for ICH policies and good safeguarding practices, and
produce other types of publications and dedicated pages for the ICH NGO website.
Participation in a Working Group will be open to anyone
attending the meetings of ICH NGO Forum.
The Working Groups shall be listed on the website of the ICH
New Working Groups may be recognized by signed petition of
five or more accredited NGOs submitted to and confirmed by the Steering Committee.
Each Working Group shall select a Chair who will convene
meetings, serve as the representative to the Steering Committee, and submit annual
reports of the Working Group’s activities and finances to the Steering Committee and
general membership. Each Working Group may define its Chair’s terms of office, embodying
a principle of rotation. A person can simultaneously serve as a Chair in no more than
one Working Group.
The Steering Committee may revoke a Working Group’s official
(a) upon the recommendation of the Working
(b) upon the recommendation of the majority
of the Steering Committee, which shall show cause that the Working Group has been
conducted in a manner contrary to the purposes of the ICH NGO Forum;
(c) if the Working Group neither meets at
the annual meeting during the session of the Intergovernmental Committee for two
consecutive years, nor provides any report testifying to activities conducted through
any shared means of telecommunication.
SECTION VI – AMENDMENTS
These Bylaws may be amended when necessary by a two-thirds
majority of designated representatives of accredited NGOs present at the General
Assembly of the ICH NGO Forum.
were adopted by the General Meeting of the ICH NGO Forum in Bogotá on 11 December 2019,
incorporating the previous official document – “ICH NGO Forum Steering Committee: Mission
and tasks of the Committee; General profile of members of the Committee and election
process” – that was adopted by the General Meeting of the ICH NGO Forum in 2016 and amended