Rules of Procedure of the Council

I – Session
II – Agenda
III – Credentials
IV – Observers
V – Officers
VI – Subcommittees
VII – Secretariat
VIII – Languages and Documentation
IX – Conduct of Business
X – Voting
XI – Publicity of Meetings
XII – Amendments and Suspensions

I – SESSIONS

Rule 1

The Council shall meet in regular session once a year, at such time as shall be determined by it.

Rule 2

The Council shall meet in special session at the request of:

  • one third of its members;
  • the Director General or the Chairman of the Council in urgent circumstances.

Rule 3

  1. The meetings of the Council shall be held in Geneva unless two thirds of the members of the Council have agreed to meet elsewhere.
  2. Should one of the Member States invite the Council to meet on its territory, the supplementary expenses resulting therefrom shall be borne by the inviting State.

Rule 4

The Director General shall notify the members of the date of the first meeting of each session. Such notifications shall be sent:

  • when a regular session is called, at least thirty days in advance;
  • in cases referred to under Rule 2 (a) and (b), within ten days after a request for a special session is received and at least 15 days in advance of such session.

II – AGENDA

Rule 5

  1. The provisional agenda for each session shall be prepared by the Director General, and shall include all items proposed by:
    • the Council at a previous meeting;
    • any member of the Council;
    • the Director General.
  2. The provisional agenda shall be communicated by the Director General to the members with the notice convening the Council.

Rule 6

At the beginning of each session, and after the election of officers, the Council shall adopt its agenda for the session.

Rule 7

In the case of a special session, priority shall be given to those items on the provisional agenda which have occasioned the session.

Rule 8

The Council may revise the agenda while in session.

III – CREDENTIALS

Rule 9

A formal communication from a Member State to the Director General announcing the names of its representatives and any alternates and advisers shall be deemed sufficient credentials. The Director General shall examine the credentials and report to the Council at the beginning of each session.

IV – OBSERVERS

Rule 10

  1. Upon their application, non-member States may be invited by the Council to be represented at its meetings.
  2. Upon their application, international organizations, governmental or non-governmental, concerned with migration, refugees or human resources may also be invited by the Council to be represented at its meetings.
  3. Such States and organizations shall be accorded the status of observers and shall communicate to the Director General the names of their representatives.
  4. The Council may prescribe conditions governing the granting of observer status.

Rule 11

The Chairman may, at his discretion, authorize observers to take part in the debates and he may impose such limitations upon their interventions as he deems necessary for the orderly conduct of business. No observer shall have the right to vote.

V – OFFICERS

Rule 12

At the beginning of each regular session, the Council shall elect its Bureau, from among the representatives, which comprises the following officers: a Chairman, a First Vice-Chairman, a Second Vice-Chairman and a Rapporteur.

Rule 13

The officers shall be elected for a one-year term and shall hold office until their successors are elected. They shall be eligible for re-election.

Rule 14

If the Chairman is absent from a meeting or any part thereof, the First Vice-Chairman or, in the latter’s absence, the Second Vice-Chairman shall preside.

Rule 15

A Vice-Chairman acting as Chairman shall have the same duties and powers as the Chairman.

Rule 16

When the representative of a Member State is for the time being the Chairman of the Council, he may authorize an alternate to participate in the proceedings and to vote in the Council. In such case, the Chairman shall not exercise his right to vote.

VI – SUBCOMMITTEES

Rule 17

The Council may set up such subcommittees as may be required for the proper discharge of its functions and refer to them any questions on the agenda for study and report. The terms of reference of subcommittees shall be established by the Council at the time of their being set up.

VII – SECRETARIAT

Rule 18

The Director General shall be present, or be represented by the Deputy Director General or another official designated by him, at all sessions of the Council and any subcommittees. He or his representative may participate in the discussions but shall have no vote.

Rule 19

The Director General shall provide and direct the Secretariat required by the Council and any subcommittees. He shall be responsible for the necessary arrangements for all meetings.

Rule 20

The Secretariat shall interpret speeches made at meetings; shall receive, translate and circulate the documents of the Council and its subcommittees; shall publish and circulate the records of the sessions, the resolutions of the Council and other relevant documentation required, and shall generally perform all other work which the Council may require.

VIII – LANGUAGES AND DOCUMENTATION

Rule 21

English, French and Spanish shall be the official languages of the Council.

Rule 22

  1. Speeches made in any of the official languages shall be interpreted into the other two by the interpreters provided by the Secretariat.
  2. Any representative or observer may address the Council in a language other than an official language, but he shall himself ensure translation or interpretation into one of the official languages. Interpretation into the other official languages by the interpreters provided by the Secretariat may be based on the translation or interpretation given in the first official language.

Rule 23

All documents of the Council and any subcommittees shall be made available in the official languages.

Rule 24

Summary records of each meeting of the Council shall be prepared by the Secretariat, and shall be distributed as soon as possible to all Member States and observers. Such Member States and observers shall inform the Secretariat in writing of any changes they may wish to have made in their statements appearing in the summary records not later than eight days after receipt of the latter. Any disagreement concerning such changes shall be decided by the Chairman.

Rule 25

  1. As soon as possible, the text of all resolutions, recommendations and other formal decisions adopted by the Council, as well as summary records in final form and the draft report on each session of the Council, shall be distributed to all Member States and observers.
  2. All final documents of subcommittees shall be distributed to all Member States, unless the Council decides otherwise.

IX – CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

Rule 26

A majority of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum.

Rule 27

  1. In addition to exercising the powers conferred upon him elsewhere by these Rules, the Chairman shall declare the opening and closing of each meeting of the Council, shall direct the discussion, maintain order, ensure the observance of these Rules, accord and withdraw the right to speak, put questions to the vote and announce decisions.
  2. Debate shall be confined to the question before the Council and the Chairman may call a speaker to order if his remarks are not relevant to the subject under discussion.

Rule 28

  1. During the discussion of any matter, a representative may raise a point of order, and the point of order shall be immediately decided by the Chairman, subject to appeal and to decision by the Council, in accordance with these Rules. Any appeal shall be immediately put to the vote, and the ruling of the Chairman shall stand unless overruled by a majority of the members present and voting.
  2. A representative may not, in raising a point of order, speak on the substance of the matter under discussion.

Rule 29

The Council may limit the time allowed to each speaker and the number of times each member may speak on any question. However, on procedural questions, the Chairman shall limit each intervention to a maximum of five minutes.

Rule 30

During the course of a debate the Chairman may announce the list of speakers and, with the consent of the Council, declare the list closed. However, the Chairman may accord the right of reply to any member if, in his opinion, a speech delivered after he has declared the list closed makes this desirable. When the debate of an item is concluded because there are no other speakers, the Chairman shall declare the debate closed. Such closure shall have the same effect as closure by the consent of the Council.

Rule 31

During the discussion of any matter, a representative may move, or the Chairman may propose, the adjournment of the debate. In addition to the proposer of the motion, one representative may speak in favour of and one against the motion, after which the motion shall be immediately put to the vote.

Rule 32

During the discussion of any matter, a representative may move, or the Chairman may propose, the closure of the debate, whether or not any other representative has signified his wish to speak. If application is made for permission to speak against the closure, it may be accorded to not more than two representatives, after which the motion shall be immediately put to the vote.

Rule 33

During the discussion of any matter, a representative may move, or the Chairman may propose, the suspension or the adjournment of the meeting. No discussion on such motions shall be permitted, and they shall be immediately put to the vote.

Rule 34

Subject to Rule 28, the following motions shall have precedence in the following order over all other proposals or motions before the meeting:

  • to suspend the meeting;
  • to adjourn the meeting;
  • to adjourn the debate on the item under discussion;
  • for the closure of the debate on the item under discussion.

Rule 35

Draft resolutions, and substantive amendments or motions, shall be introduced in writing and handed to the Director General, who shall circulate copies to all representatives and to observers 24 hours before they are discussed and voted upon, unless the Council decides otherwise.

Rule 36

A motion may be withdrawn by its proposer at any time before voting on it has commenced, provided that the motion has not been amended. A motion which has thus been withdrawn may be reintroduced by any member.

X – VOTING

Rule 37

Each member of the Council or of any subcommittee shall have one vote.

Rule 38

  1. Decisions of the Council and of all subcommittees shall be made by a majority of the members present and voting, subject to the provisions contained in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Rule.
  2. Any decision on budgetary matters shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting.
  3. Special majorities provided for in the Constitution or Rules and Regulations of the Council shall refer to members present and voting.
  4. For the purpose of these Rules, the phrase “members present and voting” means members casting an affirmative or negative vote. Members which abstain from voting are considered as not voting.
  5. If the total number of votes cast is less than half the number of the members present, the vote shall be void.
  6. Except in cases where the Council decides otherwise, decisions of the Council on substantive matters shall be recorded by resolutions. Such decisions include those which:
    • admit new members;
    • determine the policies of the Organization and direct the activities of the Director General;
    • approve the programme, the budget, the expenditure and the accounts;
    • convene regular or special sessions of the Council or other bodies;
    • establish and determine the composition of permanent subcommittees, ad hoc committees or working groups;
    • endorse urgent decisions made by the Standing Committee on Programmes and Finance under the terms of paragraph (i) of its terms of reference;
    • elect the Director General and Deputy Director General;
    • establish or amend the staff regulations;
    • take note of the annual report;
    • establish or amend the financial regulations;
    • approve the representation at the meetings of the Council of non-member States, international governmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations;
    • amend the Constitution;
    • are taken pursuant to Article 26 or to Article 27 of the Constitution;
    • dissolve the Organization.

Rule 39

Subject to the provisions of Rules 40 and 45, voting shall be by show of hands.

Rule 40

  1. At the request of a representative, voting shall be by roll-call.
  2. Roll-call votes shall be taken in the English alphabetical order of the names of the members, beginning with the member whose name is drawn by lot by the Chairman. The vote of each member participating in a roll-call shall be inserted in the summary record.

Rule 41

If a vote is equally divided on matters other than elections, a second vote shall be taken, preferably at the next meeting, without debate. If this vote also results in equality, the proposal shall be regarded as rejected.

Rule 42

Parts of a proposal shall be voted separately if a representative requests that the proposal be divided. If objection is made to a request for a division, the motion for division shall be voted upon. Those parts of the proposal which have been approved shall then be put to the vote as a whole; if all the operative parts of a proposal have been rejected, the proposal shall be considered to have been rejected as a whole.

Rule 43

When an amendment is moved to a proposal, the amendment shall be voted on first. When two or more amendments are moved to a proposal, the Council shall first vote on the amendment furthest removed in substance from the original proposal and then on the amendment next furthest removed therefrom and so on until all the amendments have been put to the vote. However, where the adoption of one amendment necessarily implies the rejection of another amendment, the latter amendment shall not be put to the vote. If one or more amendments are adopted, the amended proposal shall then be voted upon. If no amendments are adopted, the proposal shall be put to the vote in its original form. A motion is considered an amendment to a proposal if it merely adds to, deletes from or revises part of that proposal.

Rule 44

  1. If two or more proposals relate to the same question, the Council shall, unless it decides otherwise, vote on the proposals in the order in which they have been submitted. The Council may, after each vote on a proposal, decide whether to vote on the next proposal.
  2. Any procedural motions requiring that no decisions be taken on the substance of such proposals shall, however, be considered as previous questions and shall be put to the vote before them.

Rule 45

On decisions relating to individuals, a secret ballot shall be taken. However, in the election of the officers of the Council, a secret ballot shall be taken only upon the request of a representative.

Rule 46

  1. In the case of elections, the candidates obtaining the greatest number of votes and the required majority on the first ballot shall be elected.
  2. If necessary, a second ballot shall be taken, confined to the candidates having obtained the greatest number of votes, provided that the number of candidates shall not exceed twice the number of places remaining to be filled. The candidates obtaining the greatest number of votes shall thus be elected.
  3. If necessary, in case of a tie, the Chairman shall decide between the candidates by drawing lots.
  4. The provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3 shall not apply to the election of the Director General and Deputy Director General.

XI – PUBLICITY OF MEETINGS

Rule 47

  1. The meetings of the Council shall be held in public unless the Council decides otherwise.
  2. Private sessions or meetings may be held in the presence or absence of observers, according to the decision of the Council in regard to each private session or meeting.

XII – AMENDMENTS AND SUSPENSIONS

Rule 48

Any of these Rules may be amended by the Council, provided that the proposed amendment be consistent with the Constitution of the Organization.

Rule 49

Any of these Rules may be temporarily suspended by the Council, provided that twenty-four hours’ notice of the proposal for such suspension has been given and that such suspension be consistent with the Constitution of the Organization. The notice may be waived if no member objects.