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Decisions taken during the Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council - 2,3 and 4 June (Paris, France)

Jacques Perot (President), Bernice Murphy, Yani Herreman (Vice-Presidents), Camila González Gou (Treasurer), Pascal Makambila, Giovanni Pinna, Elisabet Olofsson, Martin Schaerer, Alissandra Cummins, Gary Edson (Members), Manus Brinkman (Secretary General)

Invited were at specific occasions:
Ben Koevoets (Working Group on Statutes)
Cary Karp (.museum, Musedoma)
Jack Dhennequin (Chartered Accountant, Finances)
Members of ICOM staff (demonstration membership on-line, the full session of the morning of 3 June, presentation ICOM Red List).

  1. ICOM's database.
    During the presentation of a programme to make membership data available for ICOM's committees, it was said that the existing system used for ICOM's database is in fact no longer serving ICOM's growing needs. A new system would be advisable, however that would come at a cost.

    It was decided to make the development of ICOM's database into a special project, which needed to be developed so that outside funding for it would become one of the sources of securing finances.

    Fund raising for and the development of a new database system would be a priority in the Strategic Plan for the next Triennial Period. Advise of International Committees like CIDOC needs to be sought.

  2. .museum/musedoma.
    Special attention needs to be paid to the development of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). A presentation would be necessary during a .museum information session at Seoul.

    ICOM will promote the opportunities of new developments in .museum (like IDN) with UNESCO. A first presentation has been organized which will be followed up by a presentation for a larger group of state representatives.

    UNESCO could become an important partner for the development of cultural top level domains, starting with .museum.

    A letter promoting .museum, signed by the President of ICOM will be sent to various Ministries of Education, Communication and/or Culture. National Committees could be used to identify the proper ministries to address.

    It was decided to provide funding for one half time job for the Musedoma team to assist Cary Karp until 31 December 2004. This decision was taken to show that ICOM is still committed to .museum and will not let it run into serious difficulties now that the Musenic project has been terminated and money for a staff of three is no longer available. The total amount of this extra budgetary expense for 2004 would be around 25 000 Euro. Giovanni Pinna voted against this proposal.

  3. Languages
    The Report of the Working Group on Languages has been received and the Executive Council found its recommendations valuable. It expressed its satisfaction with the quality. (The report needs to be put on-line for information). However the EC reiterated that ICOM needed to continue regarding the financial implications seriously. Although there are three official languages in ICOM it will not always be feasible to translate everything in all three languages.
    A list needs to be drawn up of those documents that need a translation into the three official languages unconditionally.

  4. Policies
    Gary Edson presented a set of papers on policies and procedures, which he suggested to be taken into consideration for the well functioning of ICOM. Instead of a program committee for instance Gary Edson proposed a triennial planning committee, which would follow the Strategic Plan within a policy framework. The EC considered Gary Edson's proposals as very useful and proposed to bring them for serious consideration to the next Executive Council, to be debated parallel to the proposed changes of the Statutes. Such policies would for a great deal substitute an extensive set of Bylaws next to the Statutes.

  5. Programme Committee
    For the coming General Conference ICOM needs to work with a Programme Committee. This Committee has been established under the leadership of Yani Herreman and has established a first contact between the members. It should start its work soon. Some of the members expressed their worries about the short time period. It needs to evaluate the existing Strategic Plan and come up with proposals for revision to develop it further for the coming triennial period.
    Alissandra Cummins noted that the chair of the museums Association of the Carribean (MAC), one of the members of the Programme Committee, is changed. He will be asked to participate in the Programme Committee.

    Yani Herreman asked if some of the members of the Committee that did not respond could be removed and replaced by others. But it was also said that small teams work sometimes more efficient. No decision was taken with respect to the replacement of members.

    Those members of the Programme Committee who will come to Seoul, need to convene in Seoul on a day prior to the General Conference. If it would be necessary to arrive one day earlier the members can claim one night hotel on ICOM.

    The staff of the Secretariat needs to be consulted with regard to the reflections on the Strategic Plan as much during the present discussions as well as within the framework of an eventual future procedure including a Triennial Planning Commmittee.

  6. Statutes
    The Executive Council expressed its deepest appreciation of the work on the Statutes pursued over many months by the Working Group commissioned for the task of reconsidering and proposing appropriate revision to the ICOM Statutes - following the Reform Task Group suggestions of the previous triennium, and Reform Recommendations ratified at Barcelona, 2001. The Executive Council recognized that the valuable and comprehensive work of the Group under the chairmanship of Ben Koevoets (which included Dr Don McMichael, Teresa Scheiner and Dominique Ferriot), had analyzed difficulties, proposed valuable amendments, and brought the work of reconsideration of the Statutes to a new stage.
    Recognising both the administrative complexity and formal legal issues attending any revision of the ICOM Statutes, the Executive Council decided, after discussion, that there needed to be further time and cross-referenced work dedicated to this task. It resolved to present a DRAFT report of proposed revision to the Statutes to the General Assembly in Seoul, October 2004. It also foreshadowed the desirability of utilising an opportunity available under the existing Statutes: for ICOM to convene an Extraordinary General Assembly in June 2005 - at the regular time of the Advisory Committee, Executive Council, and other meetings in Paris, and involving a constitutive assembly of all ICOM's component bodies - to consider and vote on a document of Proposed Revision to the ICOM Statutes.

    A working group from within the Executive Council will further work on the revision of the Statutes, consisting of Martin Schaerer, Bernice Murphy and Gary Edson. Ben Koevoets offered to assist them if necessary. The Executive Council appreciated his kind offer.

    The Statutes need to be consistent with French Law and legal advise should be asked once a first draft is ready.

    The Working Group on the revision of the Statutes (Koevoets, McMichael, Ferriot, Scheiner) is officially discharged of its task.

  7. General Conference
    The EC listened to a report on the progress of the preparations for the General Conference in 2004. The Executive Council urged the Korean organization committee to have a Spanish version of the program available on its website. Yani Herreman and Camila Gonzalez Gou offered help with translation and expressed their dissapointment at not having the programme ready in a Spanish version at this point.

    A draft version of a new General Conference manual, prepared by Yani Herreman, Elisabeth Olofsson and Joelle Thibet, was discussed. The Executive Council decided that the document was a valuable resource and suggested it to be normative and offer clear indications. It should also include charts and timetables. And it should add a chapter on the period after the event, which has until now been lacking.

    With respect to the introduction the Executive Council advised to put even more emphasis on the magnitude of the project and that a bid to hold a conference should not be taken lightly. For ICOM the General Conference is a major event; it may be organized in a specific country, but it will remain an ICOM event.

    A draft time table and budget was presented. A first version should be ready in 2005. The production of the new Manual should be put in the Strategic Plan and provisions should be made in the budget to have it ready in time before the General Conference in Vienna. For the year 2004 an extra budgetary amount of 2500 Euros will be allocated.

    The Executive Council approved the production of the Manual and forwarded the decision with respect to the budget for the full project to the next Executive Council with a strong recommendation that it be approved.

    The Executive Council asked more clarification on the way ICOM 2004 wants to arrange the travel of the members of the EC.

  8. Object ID.
    The Executive Council discussed the property rights of Object ID. It was informed about the offer of the J. Paul Getty Trust to host Object ID with ICOM. It was also informed about UNESCO's strong wish to host Object ID.
    The Executive Council decided to accept the Getty's offer and reacted positively on its proposal to organize a small official announcement event in Seoul.
    The Executive Council saw ICOM as the more logical choice. It considered UNESCO as a Standard setting governmental organization where ICOM organizes a variety of practical activities in the field. It stressed its strong desire to closely cooperate with UNESCO on the issue and asked the Secretary General to convey to UNESCO its willingness to continue with the proposed promotional activities and the development of educational material.

  9. International Committees
    Martin Schaerer presented a summary of the recommendations of the Working Group on International Committees and Affiliated Organisations. The Working Group aimed at more autonomy for the International Committees while at the same time keep ICOM as a strong organisation.
    The idea was to have the International Committees restructure themselves as independent associations under French Law. After having done so they sign an agreement with ICOM. With respect to the financial aspect, an account should be established in France where all International Committees have their own sub-account. The Recommendations on International Committees will be put on the agenda of the next Advisory Committee in Seoul.
    The Executive Council supported the recommendations in principle, but felt the need for a trial period with some interested committees first and advised to build in some evaluation moments.

    The Advisory Committee would need to propose three delegates to the Executive Council to participate in the new Standing Committee on International Committees. As a rule members of the Executive Council should not chair this (or any other) standing committee.

  10. National Committees

    The report and recommendations of the Working Group on National Committees and Regional Organizations should also be put on the agenda of the next Advisory Committee meeting in Seoul.

  11. Definition of a museum
    The Executive Council wishes to continue the debate on the definition of a museum, seeing it as a process in which already much work has been done. At the same time it felt the need for some concrete proposal. For the time being it recommended to basically keep the old definition with the addition of the word "intangible" next to "material".

    The phrase:
    "In addition to institutions designated as "museums" the following qualify as museums for the purpose of this definition .... etcetera"
    should be altered in:
    "Museum professionals working in the following institutions ...(etcetera)...will be eligible for ICOM membership."

  12. Secretary General
    The President informed the Executive Council that the Selection Committee for the new Secretary General received about 60 applications from all over the world and made up a short list of six candidates. It concluded to advise the Executive Council to invite John Zvereff to take up the post. John Zvereff is a US citizen who has lived in Barcelona since 1980. The Secretary General will be appointed on a permanent basis, in accordance with French Law. This is in contradiction with the Statutes of ICOM where an appointment is only for three years, although renewable. The Statutes need to be revised on this point.
    There will be a probationary period of six months.
    The job description will need some revisions
    The new Secretary General will start his work on 1 November 2004.
    He will be invited as a guest to Seoul without any responsibilities.

  13. Iraq
    After hearing a report of Valerie Jullien on a meeting of Interpol in Amman, where the situation in Iraq had been discussed, the Executive Council suggested to invite the two representatives from Iraq who will be invited to the General Conference, to prepare a short presentation on Iraq.

  14. Honorary members.
    The Executive Council nominated two outstanding ICOM members for honorary membership. A short documentation on the two individuals should be prepared.

    For the future the Executive Council wished to see a format developed for the nomination of honorary members to be made available to the ICOM committees.

    The Executive Council approves AFRICOM's request to become an affiliated organization of ICOM. ICOM will designate an ICOM member to act as an observer on the AFRICOM Board.

  16. Affiliated Organizations.
    Following a discussion on the status of AFRICOM as an affiliated organization the Executive Council wanted to look more closely at the obligations of affiliated organizations. It was said that ICOM should be focused on enabling organizations to become affiliated instead of making it difficult for them.

  17. ICOM Foundation.
    The Executive Council wanted to look more closely at the official status of the ICOM Foundation to safeguard the close and positive relationship between ICOM and the ICOM Foundation.

  18. Offices
    The Executive Council visited both the premises of 26 Rue François Bonvin and la Maison des Frères Goncourt. After due consideration it decided to opt for renting the offices at François Bonvin.

    The financial risks involved in the refurbishment of La Maison des Frères Goncourt were considered to be too high. The Municipality of Paris has not come forward with new proposals and the amount asked to be invested is beyond ICOM's means.

    The Executive Council realized that the renting of office space at Rue François Bonvin would weigh heavily on ICOM's future budget. Nevertheless the EC judged it unacceptable to leave the Secretariat in the present situation. Besides, the opportunity should be seized because the new office space is so close to the UNESCO building that in fact ICOM will be able to keep its UNESCO offices allowing it to house staff and services properly in both office buildings.

    The Executive Council recommended having a programme developed for space allocation with respect to the new office space.
    The President would take it upon him to negotiate the rental conditions.
    He added that the Direction des Musées de France had indicated its willingness to augment its contribution to ICOM for the year 2004 with a considerable sum.
    The moving of offices will take place in the beginning of September.

    The Executive Council deemed it necessary to continue to look for other opportunities concerning offices in the future that would be advantageous.
    Jacques Perot said that he would be willing to assist the next Executive Council with finding office space in Paris if the new EC would find this useful.

    With respect to the UNESCO/ICOM Information Center it was decided that it should remain at the UNESCO premises. In the future however it should be developed more from a physical entity into a digital form. This however would be left for discussion by the new Executive Council.

    The Executive Council will send a firm letter to UNESCO with respect to the issue of ventilation in the basement where the books are kept.

  19. Strategic Plan and staff resources.
    The revised Strategic Plan for the years 2004-2007 and further, to be prepared by the Programme Committee, needs to be coordinated with the Secretariat to guarantee its feasibility. The Secretariat needs to reflect carefully whether the new tasks and activities are in conformity with its resources.

    A decision was taken not to have an evaluation and study done on staff tasks and resources now, as presented and proposed by Elisabeth Olofsson, but the need for such a study was underlined. Such a study needed to be looked at by the new Secretary General.

  20. Triennial budget.
    The Bureau of the Executive Council will look into the triennial budget to see how adjustments can be made, taking into consideration an extra expense of around 110 000 Euros per year for office rent. It will aim for a balanced budget.
    The Secretariat will prepare different options.

  21. Legal Affairs Committee.
    The Executive Council expressed its worry about the fact that the chair of the Legal Committee has resigned due to lack of time. It endorsed Patrick Boylan as the chair ad interim and will discuss with him whether he is willing to stay on until the official end of the term of the Committee.

  22. Cross cultural Task Force.
    The President will respond to the request of Amar Galla to continue the cross-cultural task force with a new group of people.

  23. Finances.
    The exchange rate of the dollar will be decided on a yearly basis.

    Considering the deficit realized in 2003 and the deficit foreseen for 2004 the triennial budget for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 needs to be balanced imperatively.

    The Executive Council proposes to continue with the auditor Francois Bensa for a new period. It will also choose a second auditor in case Francois Bensa will not be able to fulfill his duties due to "force majeur".

  24. Code of Ethics
    The President will inform Geoffrey Lewis that the revised Code of Ethics has been received by the Executive Council. The EC expressed its great satisfaction with the work done and will send the revised text forward to the General Assembly for endorsement. Some comments were made on the glossary and some elements of the translation into French. Geoffrey Lewis will be informed about these comments for reflection.

  25. National Committees
    The Executive Council indicated that it needed to receive the Statutes of all National Committees.

  26. Report of ICOM Membership Service
    Presentation of On-line Membership Directory:
    Eloisa Zell, Membership Officer, gave a brief history of this activity before giving a demonstration of a prototype of the Directory that is proposed to be used as a limited reference tool for the Organization's officers as well as for the Chairs and Secretaries of National and International Committees. Later, it was decided to reflect on the budgetary consequences of this programme activity, with a view to making it a special project to be financed with extra-budgetary funds. It was also suggested to transmit this activity to the Programme Committee for inclusion in the next triennial plan.

    National Committees:
    Following its December 2003 decision, Council was informed that the Secretariat wrote directly to members belonging to Committees that had not remitted annual membership dues for 2003. These were Benin, Dem. Republic of the Congo, Viet Nam, Mauritania, Laos, Niger, Central African Republic and Ukraine. Of these, only members from the National Committees of Laos, Niger, Central African Republic and the Ukraine did not respond. Council decided to put these four National Committees in the inactive list; their names will no longer be included in the Directory of ICOM News nor on the website of the Organisation. Council also decided that these Committees will not be allowed to vote in the forthcoming General Conference and Assembly in Seoul unless they paid their annual dues before the Conference.

    Regular Membership Subsidies:
    Council approved a revised list of countries where resident ICOM individual members would be entitled to reduced annual membership dues. To be effective as from 2005, the list uses the 2004 World Development Indicators Data Base of the World Bank (13 April 2004) as its reference guide to identify countries that are considered as low income ($ 735 GNI per capita or less) and those as lower middle income ($ 736-$ 2935 GNI). The following countries are to be deleted from the subsidy list currently in use: Latvia, Lithuania and Belize. The following countries are to be added from 2005: Timor-Leste, Turkey, South Africa and Brazil.

    ICOM Fund:
    Council was informed that the French National Committee had pledged to contribute ? 500 to the Fund; when and if this sum is received, the Fund's account would be ? 3392.14. The Secretariat awaits a decision from the new board of the Italian National Committee with regards to its financial assistance for the National Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    ICOM 2001:

    Council was informed that in accordance with a Protocol signed with ICOM Spain regarding the debt of ICOM 2001, a second instalment of ? 8420 was received by the Secretariat.

    Membership dues for 2005:
    An increase of 3 % in the annual dues of all membership categories was recommended.

Updated: 11 July 2005