Conference planning and conference services

(1)     With a view to arriving at common standards, the Committee at its 8th session (February 1950: CC/A.8/SR.7; CO-ORDINATION-PREP/R.176, item B.1), after discussing existing practices of the organizations, reached some agreements in principle in regard to: establishment of dates; secretaries of meetings; conference officer; transportation arrangements for delegates, representatives, etc.; hotel accommodation; distribution of documents; interpretation; summary and verbatim records and sound recording.

(2)     At the second part of the 17th session (April 1956: CO-ORDINATION/R.224) CCAQ decided to explore the question of advance clearance of conference timetables, and the establishment of a common pool of temporary staff.

(3)     At the 20th session (1959: CO-ORDINATION/R.295, para. 46), in order to ensure co-operation between organizations on conference planning, and an adequate supply of qualified conference staff, UN was requested to centralize information on conferences scheduled to meet in Europe and their probable interpretation staffing needs. This information was circulated in the form of a composite calendar of conferences, prepared by UN European Office, but because of various difficulties it was agreed in 1960 that this should no longer be produced. At the 23rd session (1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, para. 99) consideration was given to an alternative form of composite calendar, and the matter referred to a working party, to meet in July 1962.

(4)     At the 24th session (1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, paras. 77-79) CCAQ considered proposals from the working party. The Committee agreed that experience showed that it was impracticable to compile a composite calendar on a worldwide basis. It agreed, as an alternative, that with effect from 1 July 1963:

     (a)     At all the "headquarters areas" where there was only one large organization that organization should serve as a centre for the exchange and collation of information on the conference plans for that place. It should develop its own conference programme for the place independently, but having done so, should send copies of its calendar for that place to all other organizations.

     (b)     Any other organization which wished to hold a conference in that place should contact that organization, which would build up a "composite calendar" for that place only.

     (c)     At Geneva and any other headquarters area where more than one large organization was located, the organizations in the locality should set up appropriate machinery for compiling a local conference calendar. Organizations elsewhere (including United Nations Headquarters) which wished to hold a meeting at the place should contact the agreed conference office, which would compile the composite calendar for that place.

     (d)     Staff Office should compile and issue (if organizations supplied the data):

  1. a comprehensive calendar of all conferences to be held away from the headquarters areas;
  2. a list of the "regular, recurrent conferences" at all headquarters areas plus the major ad hoc conferences.

No attempt should be made to compile comprehensive lists of the meetings of small committees, expert panels, seminars, working parties, etc., which were almost invariably serviced by permanent staff and which each organization necessarily fitted in around the main framework to suit its own convenience.

These arrangements were briefly reported to ECOSOC in the 28th report of ACC (E/3765, para. 195).

(5)     The arrangements outlined in paragraph 4 broke down within a comparatively short time. At its 28th session (1967: CO-ORDINATION/R.604, paras. 49-50) CCAQ took note of resolution 2239 (XXI) by which the UN General Assembly requested the Secretary-General, as Chairman of ACC, to submit to the General Assembly an annual report on "the provisional calendar of meetings and conferences planned by the entire United Nations family of organizations in the next two calendar years". Within the limits of their resources, the organizations agreed to do their best to make available the information requested by UN for the benefit of the General Assembly. It was doubtful, however, whether complete and precise information could in fact be provided with respect to the numerous small expert meetings, whose dates were often fixed only a short time in advance.

(6)     At its 29th session (March 1968: CO-ORDINATION/R.669, para. 27) CCAQ agreed on the text of a report to ICSAB on language staff co-ordination (CO-ORDINATION/R.669, Add.4).

(7)     An inter-organization meeting on publications and documentation, held in January 1969, reported on various problems of common interest, including official records, procedures for establishing publication programmes, editorial control, language policy, internal reproduction (see CO-ORDINATION/R.736).

(8)     A similar meeting on languages and related arrangements considered various problems of translation and interpretation services (see CO-ORDINATION/R.735).

(9)     CCAQ recommended arrangements at its 46th session (March 1977) for inter-organization sharing of the cost of conferences (see section 16.6).

(10)     At its 64th session (March 1986: ACC/1986/3, para. 93), CCAQ recognized the desirability of co-ordinating the setting of ad hoc DSA rates for conferences.

(11)     At its 75th session CCAQ(PER) commented on a request by the General Assembly (resolution 45/238) that the Secretary-General use the Committee's co-ordinating potential more extensively in the area of system-wide co-ordination of conferences. Its comments are in ACC/1991/17, paras. 140-142. Inter alia, CCAQ(PER) noted that inter-agency consultations in the conference services area were currently carried out by the Inter-Agency Meeting for Language Arrangements, Documentation and Publications (IAMLADP); such arrangements should not be duplicated, nor did the Committee favour the creation of a third CCAQ body. CCAQ(FB) concurred (75th session: ACC/1991/8, paras. 72-74). The comments of both components of CCAQ were forwarded to the Organizational Committee of ACC.


  • Human Resources Network (HRN)