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2022 WHC

 
 
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Author Zoe
Partaker
#106 | Posted: 7 Mar 2022 03:48 
Astraftis:
don't understand why keeping it in Russia would be a "mockery of innocent Ukrainian victi

Because holding an event in a country that is currently invading another is basically saying you ignore that and pretend life is normal, when it clearly isn't. You cannot separate military actions from cultural events as they all lead to the same guy at the top.

Author Astraftis
Partaker
#107 | Posted: 7 Mar 2022 08:54 
Zoe:
Because holding an event in a country that is currently invading another is basically saying you ignore that and pretend life is normal, when it clearly isn't. You cannot separate military actions from cultural events as they all lead to the same guy at the top.

Yes, that's why I agree that it should not be held there, also because of the institutional links. Still the two kinds of events should be considered distinct, in my opinion. Anyway, my concern is mostly with the choice of words to express that concept, which, in that statement as in many other circumstances recently, I find unnecessarily rhetoric, but that might be just me.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#108 | Posted: 19 Mar 2022 13:40 
"Together with the EU Culture Ministers, Ukrainian Culture and Information Policy Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko has called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to change the place of the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee from Russia's Kazan to Lviv."
https://www.ukrinform.net/amp/rubric-society/3433805-eu-culture-ministers-call-on-unesco-to-move-session-of-world-heritage-committee-from-russia-to-lviv.html

Author tsunami
Partaker
#109 | Posted: 21 Mar 2022 17:09 

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#110 | Posted: 24 Mar 2022 23:19 
Lithuanian culture minister sees 'no point' in attending UNESCO session in Russia

https://www.baltictimes.com/lithuanian_culture_minister_sees__no_point__in_attending_unesco_session_in_russia/

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#111 | Posted: 25 Mar 2022 19:02 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I see that Europa Nostra ("the leading citizens' movement to protect and celebrate Europe's cultural and natural heritage") has joined the growing band of countries (UK back on March 1) and organisations to call for the removal of this year's 2022 WHC from Kazan - it is also recognises that Russia couldn't continue to chair the meeting wherever it was held - "2022 Session of the World Heritage Committee cannot be chaired by Russia and cannot take place in Kazan"

Europa Nostra calls upon the 21 delegates making up the WHC to "ask one of its Vice Chairs to take over the chairmanship of this year's session of the World Heritage Committee and to relocate this session to Paris, at the headquarters of UNESCO, or any other suitable alternative location". However, It still isn't clear how, constitutionally, such changes could be brought about - can the WHC convene itself as seems to be suggested by Europa Nostra (presumably the Russian chair wouldn't call it for this purpose!!). Or can UNESCO determine by itself the meeting and chairing arrangements for the WHC? I have looked at the "Rules of Procedure" for the WHC and, whilst there is nothing specific relating to this situation, it does appear that the WHC can hold an "extraordinary session at the request of at least two-thirds of the States members". Perhaps that would be a way for the WHC to determine by itself that there should be a change in location and chair - via such a session held at short notice in Paris?

UNESCO held a special meeting of its Executive Board in Paris on 15/16 March to "examine all the consequences of the current situation in Ukraine, in the different aspects of UNESCO's mandate". The draft minutes are here and they include NO discussion concerning the WHC. A motion which, inter alia, "Deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation, with the involvement of Belarus, against Ukraine in violation of Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter" was passed. It is interesting to note the voting pattern of the 58 members of the Executive board regarding this motion -
"In favour: Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Chile, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay.
Against: Russian Federation.
Abstentions: Angola, Armenia, Brazil, China, Congo, Egypt, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam.
Absent: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Togo."


The current WHC consists of - Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Zambia. So, it includes a few who have taken the "abstention" route in other UN forums - but not enough one would have thought to prevent a 2/3rds majority in calling for an extraordinary session or in reaching a decision to move location and chair at such a meeting? Of course - if it were to go ahead in Kazan many countries will refuse to attend and it will be a farce - so some mechanism needs to be found to avoid this.

Meanwhile........back in Moscow, Putin seems to be getting a bit annoyed at everything Russian being "cancelled"!

On which point - I note that, at the scheduled full UNESCO Executive meeting to be held in Paris between 30 March and 13 April (which of course could provide another forum for reaching a decison re the WHC), the predetermined draft agenda foresees discussion on "Additional Item 25. Proclamation of the World Russian Language Day. Item proposed by the Russian Federation" !!!! The Russian argument might be that they are currently engaged in trying to increase the areas of the World with Russian as an official language.......

Author elsslots
Admin
#112 | Posted: 29 Mar 2022 04:00 
When do we expect the AB evaluations to be published? The WHC (wherever the meeting will be held) is rather early this year, 19-30 June.
So early May?

Author elsslots
Admin
#113 | Posted: 31 Mar 2022 09:51 
Moving this to the more appropriate spot here:
winterkjm:
An elaboration on the politics and mechanisms for re-locating the World Heritage Conference outside Kazan, Russia.

https://observer.com/2022/03/despite-ukraine-invasion-unesco-meeting-still-scheduled-in-russia/


Author winterkjm
Partaker
#114 | Posted: 4 Apr 2022 16:20 
The question at this point must be, will the committee even take a vote?

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2022/04/01/unesco-world-heritage-meeting-kazan-russia

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#115 | Posted: 7 Apr 2022 15:51 | Edited by: Solivagant 
It appears that the only "constitutional" way by which the WHC can be removed from Kazan (but even then it isn't clear if the chair can be "taken" if not voluntrialy relinquished) is that either
a. A 2/3rds majority of the WHC vote for it in a special meeting called by one of them
or
b. The WHC Bureau agrees to it. It isn't clear to me whether this would require a simple majority of the Bureau or even a unanimous vote -the latter would seem unlikely to occur with Russia charing the committee!

What are the chances of either of these happening given the current composition of the 2 groups and the current political stance being taken by those countries??Today there has been a full meeting of the UN Assembly which decided to expel the Russian Federation from the Human Rights Council. To do that it needed a 2/3rds majority. It achieved that with the 193 members voting as folows
Yes (i.e "Expel") - 93
No - 24 (Alg, Belarus, Boliv, Burun, CAR, Chi, Congo, Cub, DPRK, Erit, Eth, Gab, Iran, Kaz, Kyr, Lao, Mali, Nicar, Russ, Syr, Taj, Uzb, Viet, Zimb)
Abstain - 58 (G Biss, Ang, Bah, Bangla, Barbad, Belize, Bhu. Bot, Bra, Brunei, C Ver, Cambod, Camer, Egy, El Sal, Eswat, Gamb, Gha, Guy, India. Indon. Iraq, Jor, Ken, Kuw, Lesot, Madag. Malay, Mald. Mex. Mongol, Moz, Namib, Nep, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pak, Qat, St Kitt, St Vinc, Saudi, Seneg, Sing, S Afr, S Sud, Sri L, Sud, Surin, Thai, Tog, Trinidad, Tun. Uga, UAE, Tanzan, Vanuat, Yemen
Didn't vote - 18 (Afg, Arm, Azer, Ben, B Fas, Dji, Equ G, Guin, Leb, Maurit, Moroc, Rwa, S Tome, Sol Isl, Somal, Turkmen, Venez, Zamb)

I have taken the voting decision on this matter of those 21 States on the WHC and assumed a similar stance on the matter of the WHC location. With this result -
Yes - 6 (Arg, Bel, Bul, Gr, It, Jap)
No - 2 (Eth, Rus)
Abstain - 11 (Egy, India, Mald, Mex, Nicar, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, St Vinc, Saudi. S Afr)
Didn't Vote - 2 (Zam, Rwa)

If we look at the 7 members of the Bureau the voting figures are
Yes - 2 (Italy, Argentina)
No - 1 (Russia)
Abstain - 4 ( India, Saudi, S Africa & Thailand)
Didn't vote - 0

So - with "abstentions" and "not presents" not counting in the 2/3rds calculations (as per the "Operational Guidelines) - if every country on the WHC stuck to its current position as per the today's General Assembly vote, a 2/3rds majority to move the WHC could be achieved 6 to 2!!! One could indeed imagine that a number of countries on the WHC would simply be "absent" to avoid having to commit themselves. There is also the aspect of "Secret ballot" which, as we have seen when it comes to voting on inscriptions and delistings enables countries to achieve a desired end without any public commitment. One might think that a number of the "abstentions" and "didn't shows" might realise that it would generally be better for "World Heritage" in the long run if the meeting could be moved without them having to be seen to play a part in doing so!!! If the meeting does go ahead in Kazan then we could have the converse situation - with none of the "Yes" voting countries turning up - thereby leaving the decisions to be made by a "rump" WHC. Not a "good result" for the "World Heritage Convention" etc one would have thought, placing it firmly into the "political arena" and with any decisions made at the meeting always having a "negative aura" about them..

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#116 | Posted: 8 Apr 2022 13:40 | Edited by: Solivagant 
"An open letter from 46 countries party to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention on the location and chair of the 45th World Heritage Committee"
Dated and published Thurs 7 April 2022, sent to the 21 members of the WHC - and written, rather surprisingly, on the headed notepaper of the "United Kingdom Delegation to UNESCO" and signed by Laura Davies the UK permanent representative to UNESCO. It states
".................Given these circumstances, the signatories of this letter, all States Parties to the 1972 Convention, will not travel to Kazan or to a 45th session of the World Heritage Committee hosted in any other country if chaired by Russia. However, we believe firmly that the important work of listing and protecting World Heritage should continue, despite the Russian offensive in Ukraine, and we do not therefore want to see the 45th session postponed. This is a particularly important meeting of the Committee, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Convention, and which should launch a whole new focus on heritage in Africa in particular. These are important discussions that should take place in conditions that allow all States Parties to give them due focus and attention. We look to you as our elected representatives on the World Heritage Committee to consider these arguments as you take forward your responsibilities on behalf of the Convention. Yours ever, Laura Davies"

I do not fully understand why or how but it would appear that UK has "taken the lead" in getting this document accepted by 46 countries and has sent it to the WHC on behalf of them all asking for the actions stated.
Particularly interesting is the listed 46 countries
"On behalf of the following 46 countries, States Party to the 1972 World Heritage Convention. 1 Afghanistan, 2 Albania, 3 Andorra, 4 Australia, 5 Austria, 6 Canada, 7 Colombia, 8 Croatia, 9 Cyprus, 10 Czech Republic, 11 Denmark, 12 Ecuador, 13 Estonia, 14 Finland, 15 France, 16 Georgia, 17 Germany, 18 Hungary, 19 Iceland, 20 Ireland, 21 Latvia, 22 Lithuania, 23 Luxembourg, 24 Malta, 25 Moldova, 26 Monaco, 27 Montenegro, 28 Netherlands, 29 New Zealand, 30 Nigeria, 31 North Macedonia, 32 Norway, 33 Peru, 34 Poland, 35 Portugal, 36 Republic of Korea, 37 Romania, 38 Saint Kitts & Nevis. 39 San Marino, 40 Slovakia, 41 Slovenia, 42 Spain, 43 Sweden, 45 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 44 Ukraine, 46 United States of America"
Further to my post above, this list of signatories contains none who voted against the expulsion of Russia from the Human Rights Council but it DOES include (at least by my quick count?) 1 which abstained - Nigeria and 1 which didn't vote -Afghanistan. Otherwise it is solidly made up of those who voted for the expulsion.
So - there are no great "surprises" among the signatories, but at least the WHC now has to answer a formal request - or been seen publicly to ignore it and thus accept that at least 46 countries will not be at Kazan! It also covers the issue of the Chairperson and notably appeals particularly to the self interest of the African countries. Many of these have, hitherto, been very reluctant openly to criticise Russia so, perhaps the inclusion of Nigeria among the signatories is an important signal! On the other hand it might be asked why "only" 46 countries could be persuaded to join in!!! (and those include Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, St Kitts, Luxembourg and a fair number of other "small" states)

The "Open Letter is here in full.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#117 | Posted: 9 Apr 2022 12:07 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Hindustan News Hub report from 3 hours ago that "The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has stated that its 45th session will not take place in Kazan in June, as originally planned. The event is not going to be postponed, but the new venue has not been announced yet, Public reports."
As the Community will know from the past, Indian news agencies' record of accuracy on WHS matters isn't wonderful! Strange that only they have the "news" (I have searched more widely).....but this may reflect the "source" of the "leak" - India is of course on the WHC and is also "Rapporteur" of the Bureau so would be involved in whichever "route" were adopted by the WHC to resolve this issue. UNESCO has no "offical" news release yet on the matter. If true it must surely be followed up by other News Agencies very soon? The report certainly differentiates the "decision" from the Open letter of Thursday - "Earlier it became known that 46 UNESCO member states refuse to participate in the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee due to the fact that it is chaired by the Russian Federation." so a "muddle" on that doesn't seem to be the case...? If there was some sort of "Bureau" or "WHC" meeting yesterday or today (Virtual or with UNESCO Ambassadors in Paris?) that could explain the timing of the "Open letter" on Thursday to put extra pressure on the WHC. But Saturday seems a strange day and, if Friday why no UNESCO announcement? The replacement venue must surely be Paris - even if Ukraine has offered to do so!!!

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#118 | Posted: 11 Apr 2022 15:52 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Solivagant:
As the Community will know from the past, Indian news agencies' record of accuracy on WHS matters isn't wonderful! Strange that only they have the "news" (I have searched more widely).....but this may reflect the "source" of the "leak" - India is of course on the WHC and is also "Rapporteur" of the Bureau so would be involved in whichever "route" were adopted by the WHC to resolve this issue.

"46 Countries Oppose Russia's Hosting of UNESCO World Heritage Session" KBS News (Korea)

http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm?lang=e&Seq_Code=168906

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#119 | Posted: 12 Apr 2022 01:18 
winterkjm:
Solivagant:
As the Community will know from the past, Indian news agencies' record of accuracy on WHS matters isn't wonderful! Strange that only they have the "news" (I have searched more widely).....but this may reflect the "source" of the "leak" - India is of course on the WHC and is also "Rapporteur" of the Bureau so would be involved in whichever "route" were adopted by the WHC to resolve this issue.
"46 Countries Oppose Russia's Hosting of UNESCO World Heritage Session" KBS News (Korea)
http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm?lang=e&Seq_Code=168906

Hi @winterkjm - I don't understand your point regarding my comment re Indian news.
The letter on 7th April issued by UK on behalf of 46 countries opposing Russia's hosting is reported by me above, has been widely reported around the world since then and is correct.
The report from Hindustan News on 9 April that "The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has stated that its 45th session will not take place in Kazan in June, as originally planned." has, to the best of my knowledge, not been reported anywhere else to date and still remains "rumour" or incorrect reporting!!

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#120 | Posted: 12 Apr 2022 01:49 
I get the distinction now. Some of the language in the Hindustan News is more direct in claiming its already been decided in regards to changing the location of the WHC. I had not seen much articles in addition to the one you posted, so I shared this one from KBS, which seemed to some degree corroborate earlier reports.

I assume nothing is "official", but the report from India may be referencing some insider knowledge that the WHC in Kazan is not going to happen (even if an official announcement has not been made).

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