Notes on the Agenda
24 November 2000
731 Meeting, 29
7.2 UNESCO -
Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1420 (1999)
prepared by the Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport and
GR-C(2000)24 rev. and 29
CM(2000)1 and 93
The Deputies are invited to adopt a reply to the above
Recommendation 1420 (1999) on UNESCO was adopted
by the Parliamentary Assembly on 21 September 1999, at its 4th
The Deputies had a preliminary consideration of
the text at their 682nd meeting (6 October 1999) at which
they decided to seek opinions of the Council for Cultural Co-operation
(CDCC) and the Steering Committee on the Mass Media (CDMM) on this
Recommendation, which appear in CM(2000)93 and CM(2000)1 respectively.
They are also appended to the presented draft reply, which was
approved by the GR-C at its meeting on 26 October 2000.
731st meeting – 29 November 2000
UNESCO – Parliamentary Assembly
Recommendation 1420 (1999)
(GR-C(2000)24 rev. and 29, CM(2000)1 and 93)
The Deputies adopted the following reply to
Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1420 (1999):
The Committee of Ministers has examined with interest the
Parliamentary Assembly's Recommendation 1420(1999) on UNESCO.
The Committee of Ministers wishes to point out that
co-operation between the Council of Europe and UNESCO, based on the
1952 exchange of letters, has, over the years, undergone fruitful and
tangible development often going beyond the formal framework
originally laid down.
UNESCO attends as an observer the meetings of many Council of
Europe project groups and expert committees in such varied fields as
culture, higher education, education, heritage and the media, making a
valuable contribution to their work.
The two secretariats also co-operate, often informally through
the exchange of information or attendance at each other's meetings
or symposia on subjects of common interest.
Close co-operation has developed between the Council of
Europe's Youth sector and UNESCO's Youth Unit.
An important successful joint project was the drafting of the
Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher
Education in the European Region (Lisbon Recognition Convention),
which is implemented through a jointly piloted work programme.
Another example of this co-operation is the fact that since the
enlargement of the Council of Europe and the advent of the Council of
Europe's Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education as a
genuinely pan-European forum, UNESCO no longer convenes its own
ministerial meetings for the “Europe” region, but continues to be
involved in preparations for the Standing Conference.
On the ground, the Council of Europe works closely with UNESCO
on school and higher education reform in Bosnia-and-Herzegovina and
could take greater advantage of UNESCO help in other areas, such as
cultural heritage in the framework of its activities in South
East Europe. In Kosovo
joint activities are either under way (in the library and archives
field) or at an advanced planning stage in the educational field.
The Committee of Ministers fully appreciates the value of
co-operation between the Council of Europe and UNESCO, in that it
represents for the Council of Europe an important channel to work
carried out elsewhere in the world, whilst the Council of Europe's
experience can be helpful to UNESCO in its work in other regions.
With this in mind, valuable co-operation might be established
between the two organisations in connection with International Decade
(2001-2010) of the Culture of Peace, to which the Council of Europe
will endeavour to contribute in particular through the new project of
the Higher Education and Research Committee (CC-HER) on the University
as a Site of Citizenship. Furthermore,
UNESCO is also contributing to the European Year of Languages 2001,
which the Council of Europe is organising jointly with the European
Globalisation and technological developments affect, in a
profound manner, many areas of competence of the Council of Europe and
UNESCO in the cultural arena. When
developing their respective responses to those developments,
appropriate co-operation between the two Organisations can create
important synergy. In
this context also, the Committee of Ministers especially welcomes the
on-going co-operation concerning the promotion of cultural diversity.
In the field of
Cultural Policy both competent departments co-operate very closely and
UNESCO takes advantage of the experience of the Council of Europe
national reviews programme in the development of its own plan to be
implemented in non-European countries.
Co-operation is also foreseen in the New Technologies area,
notably in the framework of the project “Teaching and learning in
the communication society.”
The Committee of Ministers notes that the 1952 exchange of
letters which forms the basis for co-operation between the Council of
Europe and UNESCO has enabled positive and fruitful co-operation to be
developed between the two organisations on the basis of the priorities
of each. However, it has
no objection to a revision of this agreement being envisaged if either
side considers it desirable.
The Committee of Ministers will inform the Assembly of the
outcome of the exploratory contacts and seek its assistance, should it
envisage the establishment of a body for dialogue with UNESCO and
instructed the Chair of its Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture,
Sport and Youth to prepare a report on relations between the Council
of Europe and UNESCO.”
BY THE CDCC ON PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY RECOMMENDATION 1420 (1999) ON
The CDCC welcomes Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1420
(1999) on UNESCO and finds it encouraging to see the importance of
such cooperation between intergovernmental organisations explicitly
recognised at political level.
The CDCC has for a number of years been carrying out a very
close co-operation with UNESCO, in particular through its Higher
Education and Research and Education Committees.
Some of the CC-HER activities with UNESCO extend beyond
traditional cooperation to the running of a joint programme.
The Council of Europe and UNESCO have elaborated a joint
Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher
Education in the European Region (the Lisbon Recognition Convention,
adopted in April 1997 and in force from February 1999).
The two Organisations are now carrying out a joint programme
for the implementation of this Convention, through a joint Secretariat
for the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee and the ENIC Network.
This is one of the rare examples known to the CDCC of a truly
joint work programme by two international organisations.
Research policy is a part of the CC-HER mandate, and the
Committee has elaborated a Recommendation on the research mission of
the university, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 30 March 2000
as Recommendation R (2000) 8. However,
it seems difficult to fully develop a research policy role for the
CC-HER within the confines of its present staff and programme
resources. The CC-HER
would see a closer cooperation with UNESCO as a possibility to develop
its research policy activities.
Co-operation with UNESCO in South East Europe is particularly
prominent in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of higher education,
including the establishment of a Higher Education Council which is
intended to include all higher education institutions in the country.
The CDCC will endeavour to include UNESCO more strongly in
other parts of its activities in South East Europe.
In Kosovo, UNESCO, as part
of the UN system, could play a particularly useful role in the
assistance the Council of Europe and the CRE (Association of European
Universities) have offered in establishing an inclusive higher
education system under UNMIK auspices.
Co-operation with UNESCO in the area of education for
citizenship has been ongoing ever since the “Education for
Democratic Citizenship” project was set up under the Education
Committee's programme of work.
UNESCO participates in the project group as well as all the
conferences and hearings organised in this context.
As regards secondary education, UNESCO has been closely
involved in the “A secondary education for Europe” project and,
more recently, was represented at the symposium on “Information
technologies in schools: reasons and strategies for investment”. The
Council of Europe also works together with UNESCO in the group on the
reform of secondary education set up in June 1999 by UNESCO's
Division for the Renovation of Secondary and Vocational Education.
UNESCO was invited to participate in the European co-ordination
group responsible for preparing the European Year of Languages (2001)
and takes an active part in meetings of the group.
Following the enlargement of the CDCC's membership, UNESCO no
longer holds ministerial conferences of its “Europe” region given
that it is now more closely involved in preparations for the Standing
Conference of European Ministers of Education of the Council of
The CDCC takes note of the Parliamentary Assembly's
assessment concerning the co-operation carried out by the two
Organisations on the occasion of the Stockholm Conference (World
Report on Culture), and calls for further cooperation with UNESCO in
the field of culture in general, and cultural policy in particular,
including book policy. It underlines the importance of giving
particular attention to cultural diversity and the role of culture in
11. The CDCC underlines the
importance of stepping up cooperation between UNESCO and the Council
of Europe in the field of cultural heritage, in particular through its
Cultural Heritage Committee. It believes that this co-operation should
concern mainly the protection of cultural heritage in Bosnia and
Herzegovina and the other regions of South-East Europe, the
implementation of the Convention concerning the Protection of the
World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), landscapes and the pooling
of information on European heritage policies.
The CDCC also welcomes the reference to the UNESCO
International Year (2000) and Decade (2001 – 2010) of the Culture of
Peace (paragraph 14.ii). The
CDCC will seek to contribute to these activities, in particular
through the new activity of the CC-HER on the University as a Site of
As pointed out in paragraph 2 of the Recommendation, the
Council of Europe and the Europe Region of UNESCO now cover
approximately the same area, especially if the permanent observers to
the Council of Europe and the non-member states party to the European
Cultural Convention are included.
This underlines the importance of the two organisations trying
to establish joint action in as many areas as possible, to the benefit
of both individual member states and the two Organisations.
To the Council of Europe, UNESCO also represents an important
channel to valuable work carried out in other regions of the world,
while to UNESCO, the experience of the Council of Europe is of
relevance to its activities in other regions.
In spite of much good will by representatives of both
Organisations, cooperation is nonetheless hampered by differences in
organisational culture and rules.
The elaboration of a new agreement of cooperation to replace
the current agreement dating from 1952 is therefore essential, and the
CDCC supports the suggestions made in paragraphs 2 and 14.1 of the
Recommendation. The new agreement must commit both Organisations to
showing considerable flexibility with regard to their own rules and
regulations in order to establish efficient joint action.
On the basis of the experience of the CC-HER with a joint work
programme with UNESCO in one specific area, the CDCC would very
willingly contribute to the elaboration of a new agreement.
The CDCC also supports the proposal made in paragraph 14.iii
for a closer cooperation at national level between Council of Europe
governmental experts and the National Commissions for UNESCO.
It considers the UNESCO National Commissions as very valuable
bodies at national level and would welcome an opportunity for the
Council to make use of the Commissions as well as to contribute to
their activities. It is
unrealistic for the Council to try to establish parallel bodies for
its own purposes, and this would also not be efficient use of scarce
resources. However, where
Council of Europe information centres have been established, a closer
cooperation between these and the UNESCO National Commissions may be
on Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1420 (1999)
The CDMM has examined the Parliamentary
Assembly's Recommendation with interest and, fundamentally,
understands the Assembly' s concern to promote co-operation between
the Council of Europe and UNESCO.
This being so, the CDMM notes that some of the questions
covered in the Recommendation fall outside its remit and are the
responsibility of other intergovernmental committees of the Council of
Europe. The CDMM
therefore wishes to limit its comments to points relating to the
Council of Europe's activities in the media sphere, and in
particular paragraph 14 (iv) of the Recommendation.
On substance, the CDMM wishes to draw attention
to the fact that UNESCO already attends, as an observer, meetings of a
number of committees set up under the CDMM, namely the Group of
Specialists on media pluralism (MM-S-PL), the Group of Specialists on
new communications technologies (MM-S-NT), and the Group of
Specialists on the protection of rights holders in the media field
(MM-S-PR), which deals with the intellectual property issues referred
to in paragraph 14 (iv) of the Assembly Recommendation.
UNESCO's participation in the work of these
committees provides an opportunity for exchanging information on
initiatives already undertaken or planned within the Council of Europe
or UNESCO in the fields covered by the committees.
In this way, duplication of effort may also be avoided.
In addition to attending meetings of these
committees, on several occasions in the past UNESCO has been invited
to take part in hearings or submit written contributions on questions
being discussed in bodies set up under the CDMM and has thus had an
opportunity both to present its work and to express its opinions.
Co-ordination and co-operation between the CDMM
and UNESCO are not confined to the aforementioned committees. There is also co-ordination and co-operation at the level of
their Secretariats. For
example, the CDMM Secretariat took part in a meeting of experts
organised by UNESCO on cyberspace law (September 1998, Monte Carlo) as
well as a UNESCO conference on child pornography and the Internet
which took place in January 1999 in Paris.
At both of these events, the participants learnt of the work
being carried out by the CDMM in the field of new communications
technologies. In return,
the report of the Monte Carlo meeting was made available to the
MM-S-NT, the committee under the CDMM responsible for matters covered
in the report, so that it could take account of the report in its
The CDMM feels that the flexible co-operation
developed so far with UNESCO in the area for which it is responsible
provides an appropriate and sufficient framework, which, if both sides
are in favour of it, could serve as a basis for undertaking joint
With regard to the question of public access to
information, the CDMM would like to point out that this issue is now
addressed at the intergovernmental level by the Steering Committee for
Human Rights (CDDH), through its Group of Specialists on access to
official information (DH-S-AC). If
the Committee of Ministers considers it appropriate, the possibility
of UNESCO's participation in this work would therefore have to be
submitted to the CDDH.