SECTION I – NAME AND PURPOSE
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:
serve as a forum for the exchange of information and ideas about safeguarding ICH;
act as a platform for networking and cooperation among ICH NGOs;
foster ethical principles and participation of civil society for the safeguarding of ICH;
provide resources, reports and information about safeguarding practices to UNESCO, States
Parties, communities, practitioners and other ICH stakeholders;
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;
contribute to the capacity-building programme and to experience sharing on good
safeguarding practices, including through the publication of the journal #HeritageAlive;
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.
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 GENERAL ASSEMBLY
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 Steering Committee.
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 regional groups.
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
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
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
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 COMMITTEE
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 to:
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 practices;
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 Convention;
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
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
The Steering Committee members receive no compensation other than reimbursement of reasonable
expenses, if such funds are available and so designated.
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
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
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
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
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
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 NGO Forum.
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 status:
upon the recommendation of the Working Group itself;
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;
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.
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.
These Bylaws 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 in 2017.