Letter from the Assistant Director-General Social and Human Sciences

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News 27th April 2010

Dear Mr Singh,

It is an honour and a pleasure for me to inform you that the Executive Board of UNESCO at its 185th session adopted 185 EX/Decision 35 by which the Board approved the modifications of Article 6 of the Statutes of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence in order to encourage an increased number of nominations from civil society as recommended by the International Jury (document 184 EX/35 is attached). Article 6 of the Statutes of the Prize reads now as follows (all modifications are underlined):


Article 6 - Nomination of candidates

6.1 When UNESCO has received the funding of the prize, as indicated in Article 2 above, the Director-General of UNESCO shall officially invite the submission of nominations to the Secretariat of the Prize, by 15 July of the year of the award of the Prize, from the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, from non-governmental organizations and foundations maintaining official relations with the Organization and active in a field covered by the Prize, as well as from former laureates of the Prize, eminent persons qualified in the opinion of the Director-General and from any person or civil society organization working for the advancement of a culture of peace, human rights, non-violence and tolerance in the world and considered suitable.

6.2 The Director-General shall also take all necessary steps to encourage an increased number of nominations, in particular by calling upon all persons and civil society organizations working for the advancement of a culture of peace, human rights, non-violence and tolerance in the world, in line with the Charter of the United Nations, UNESCO's Constitution and the principles and standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant international instruments.

6.3 Nominations shall be submitted to the Director-General by the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, by non-governmental organizations and foundations maintaining official relations with the Organization and active in a field covered by the Prize, as well as former laureates of the Prize, eminent persons qualified in the opinion of the Director-General and by any person or civil society organization working for the advancement of a culture of peace, human rights, non-violence and tolerance in the world and considered suitable. A self-nomination cannot be considered.

6.4 The Director-General of UNESCO shall encourage Member States, in addition to any other qualified "nominator", to submit nominations duly justified on the basis of the goals and objectives clearly defined in the present Statutes governinq the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. In particular, each nomination shall be accompanied by a written recommendation, signed by the nominee, if an individual, or by a responsible authority, if an institution, of not more than five standard pages in length, which shall include, in English or French, inter alia (all other materials may be attached as an annex; they will not be returned to nominators):

(a) a description of the candidate's background and achievements;

(b) a summary of the work or the results of the work, publications and other supporting documents of major importance, submitted for consideration;

(c) a definition of the candidate's contribution to the Prize's objectives.


6.5 The Secretariat of the Prize shall be authorized to bring to the Jury's attention any nominations failing to meet all the criteria set forth in the present Statutes of the Prize.

I wish also to inform you that following the retirement of Mr Vladimir Volodin and in conformity with Articles 5.3 of the Prize's Statutes, the Director-General has nominated Ms Angela Melo, Director of the Division of Human Rights, Philosophy and Democracy (UNESCO, 1 rue MiçoIlis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15; tel.: (33-1) 45 68 38 17/60; Fax: (33-1) 45 68 57 26; E-mail: a.melo@unesco.org), as Secretary of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. She and her colleague Ms Irina Zoubenko-Laplante will provide you with all additional information you might need.

Allow me to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for your commitment to the cause of human rights, non-violence, peace and mutual understanding. I look forward to further developing our fruitful cooperation.

Yours sincerely,
Pierre Sané

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MODIFICATION OF THE STATUTES OF THE UNESCO-MADANJEET SINGH PRIZE
FOR THE PROMOTION OF TOLERANCE AND NON-VIOLENCE


SUMMARY

At its 146th session, the Executive Board adopted 146 EX/Decision 5.4.3, by which it created the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence and approved the Rules governing the Prize. By 164 EX/Decision 3.4.3, the Board endorsed the amendment of the Rules governing the Prize concerning the increase of the Prize amount.

By 171 EX/Decision 24, the Executive Board adopted the overall strategy for UNESCO prizes and asked the Director-General to adjust and align practices and provisions of the UNESCO prizes with the standard model texts for statutes and financial regulations. By 177 EX/Decision 28 and 182 EX/Decision 25, the Board reviewed the implementation of the strategy and approved some practical modalities. To realign the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize with the current provisions for UNESCO prizes, following the negotiations with the donor, the Rules governing the Prize were revised and the new Statutes and Financial Regulations of its Special Account were prepared in full conformity with the standard texts. The Director-General, as authorized by the Executive Board, approved these Statues and the Financial Regulations which were posted on the UNESCO website. By Circular Letter CL/3878 of 14 May 2009, the Director-General called for nominations for the 2009 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. It was awarded on 16 November 2009, International Day for Tolerance, for the seventh time.

During the meeting held in October 2009, the International Jury, alongside with the recommendation concerning the 2009 laureates, proposed to the Director-General to modify some of the clauses of the Statutes of this Prize in order to encourage an increased number of nominations. Considering the merits of the recommendations of the International Jury, the Director-General submits to the Executive Board at the present session the draft amendments to Article 6 of the Statutes of this Prize, because they differ from the standard model text. The Executive Board is invited to approve the amended version of the Statutes of the Prize (Annex I). The Financial regulations of the Special Account of the Prize, which are aligned with the standard model text, are annexed to the present document for information only (Annex II).

Financial or administrative implications: this document contains in its Annex Il the Financial Regulations for the Special Account for the Prize.

Action expected of the Executive Board: proposed decision in paragraph 6.

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1. Established in 1995 to mark the United Nations Year for Tolerance and the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize is awarded biennially on 16 November, International Day for Tolerance and the anniversary day of the founding of UNESCO. The Prize was created by the generous donation of the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Indian artist, writer and diplomat Mr Madanjeet Singh. The purpose of the Prize is to honour outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations to the promotion of tolerance and non-violence through means of education and research, as well as awareness-raising among decision-makers and the general public. The Prize is awarded also to encourage or stimulate innovative initiatives in the educational, scientific, artistic, cultural, social, or communication field serving to promote universal respect for human dignity and human rights, better knowledge and constructive dialogue among representatives of different peoples and cultures. The contribution should be in line with the Charter of the United Nations and UNESCO's Constitution and should fully correspond to the principles and standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant international instruments (Article 1 of the Statutes). Among the laureates of the Prize are individuals and organizations from various regions of the world known for their commitment to the cause of the struggle against intolerance, violence and injustice.

2. The Rules governing the Prize were approved by 146 EX/Decision 5.4.3. In 2002, by 164 EX/Decision 3.4.3, the Executive Board endorsed the amendment of the Rules concerning the increase of the amount of the prize from $40,000 to $100,000.

3. In 2005, by 171 EX/Decision 24, the Executive Board adopted the overall strategy for UNESCO prizes. In so doing, it endorsed standard model texts for statutes and financial regulations and asked the Director-General to adjust and align practices and provisions of all existing UNESCO prizes with those standard model texts. In implementation of this decision and thanks to the generosity of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh, benefactor of the Prize, this Prize was aligned with the current provision for UNESCO prizes. Since 2006, the South Asia Foundation established by Mr Madanjeet Singh has become the donor of the Prize, the donor's total contribution has been increased up to $150,000 to ensure the self-financing of the Prize (its amount is $100,000), as well as the operational costs and overheads. Furthermore, the Rules governing the Prize were revised and on their basis the Statutes of the Prize and the Financial Regulations of its Special Account were drafted in conformity with the respective current standard model texts. The Director-General, as authorized by the Executive Board (171 EX/19 and 171 EX/Decision 24; 177 EX/28 and 177 EX/Decision 28; and 182 EX/25 and 182 EX/Decision 25), approved these Statues and the Financial Regulations which were posted on the website of UNESCO prizes managed by the Social and Human Sciences Sector. By the Circular Letter CL/3878 of 14 May 2009, the Director-General called for nominations for the 2009 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. In conformity with Article 5.1 of the Statutes of the Prize, the Director-General nominated the new Jury members: Professor loanna Kuçuradi (Turkey), Chair, Professor Maurice Glélé Ahanhanzo (Benin), Deputy Chair, Dr Kamal Hossain (Bangladesh), Mr Masateru Nakagawa (Japan) and Mr Mokhtar Taleb-Bendiab (Algeria). The last meeting of the International Jury was held at UNESCO Headquarters on 1 and 2 October 2009. All five Jury members attended the meeting and adopted unanimously recommendations to the Director-General concerning the laureates of the 2009 Prize. The Director-General, endorsing the opinion of the Jury, nominated François Houtart, Belgian sociologist and theologian, and Abdul Sattar Edhi, Pakistani philanthropist, winners of the 2009 Prize which was shared equally between them and was awarded at a ceremony held on 16 November 2009 at UNESCO's Headquarters on International Day for Tolerance.

4. In their recommendations, the Jury members also expressed their concern about the procedure for the nomination of candidates under Articles 6.1 and 6.2 of the Statutes of the Prize. This procedure limits the possibility to submit nominations to only two categories: Members States, in consultation with their National Commissions, and non-governmental organizations maintaining formal relations with UNESCO, which is interpreted in the Circular Letter CL/3878 of 14 May 2009 as non-governmental organizations in formal consultative status with UNESCO1. In the opinion of the members of the Jury, the procedure seriously limits the possibility for civil society organizations2 to submit nominations and leads to contradiction with the very objectives of the Prize, as stipulated in Article I of its Statutes. The Jury recommended that the Statutes of the Prize be modified to include a wider range of entities authorized to submit nominations, in particular NGOs and Foundations in official relations with UNESCO, other civil society organizations, as well as former laureates of the Prize. It was noted that Rule 6 of the General Rules governing the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education (172 EX/Decision 58) should serve as the model for drafting Article 6 of the Statutes of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize.

5. The Director-General hereby submits to the Executive Board amendments proposed to Article 6 of the Statutes of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence (Annex I).

6. In the light of the above, the Executive Board may wish to adopt a decision along the following lines:

The Executive Board,
  1. Recalling 146 EX/Decision 5.4.3 and 164 EX/Decision 3.4.3 concerning the adoption of the Rules governing the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence,
  2. Taking into consideration 171 EX/Decision 24, 177 EX/Decision 28 and 182 EX/Decision 25 and documents 171 EX/19 and 171 EX/INF. 11, 177 EX/28 and  182 EX/25, concerning the implementation of the strategy for UNESCO prizes,
  3. Having examined document 184 EX/35 concerning the proposed amendments to the Statutes of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence, as well as its two annexes,
  4. Approves the revised Statutes of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence as set out in the Annex I to this document.


1 It was pointed out that there are approximately sixty NGOs in formal consultative status with UNESCO and among them not more than twenty are NGOs active in the fields of the Prize.

2 Civil society organizations include NGOs and Foundations maintaining official operational relations with UNESCO among which there are several organizations whose active engagement in the promotion of tolerance and non-violence is internationally recognized.


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ANNEX 1

STATUTES OF THE UNESCO-MADANJEET SINGH PRIZE
FOR THE PROMOTION OF TOLERANCE AND NON-VIOLENCE


Article 1 - Purpose

The purpose of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence is to honour significant activities in the scientific, artistic, cultural or communication field aimed at the promotion of a spirit of tolerance and non-violence. The prize, which was established in 1995 on the occasion of United Nations Year for Tolerance and the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, may be awarded to institutions, organizations or persons who have contributed in a particularly meritorious and effective manner to tolerance and non-violence, and to the families of intellectuals who have fallen victim to intolerance. The contribution should be in line with the Charter of the United Nations and UNESCO's Constitution and should fully correspond to the principles and standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant international instruments.

The objective of the Prize conforms to the UNESCO Strategy on Human Rights, the UNESCO Integrated Strategy to Combat Racism, Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerance, adopted by the General Conference at its 32nd session in 2003, and the policies and priorities for the entire Organization [the Medium-Term Strategy 2008-2013 (34 C/4)].


Article 2 - Designation, amount and periodicity of the Prize

2.1 The Prize shall be entitled "The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence".

2.2 The Prize and all expenses related thereto shall be funded by the Donor - the South Asia Foundation (SAF), established by Mr Madanjeet Singh, and shall consist of a sum of a recurrent payment of US $150,000. The value of the Prize shall be determined by the Director-General in consultation with the Donor on the basis of the contribution received from the Donor, the interest on the sum deposited in the Special Account, in accordance with the Financial Regulations of UNESCO, and the charges to be borne by the account for the cost of administering the Prize.

2.3 The financial contribution for the Prize shall be made by the Donor every two years in two instalments: the first instalment shall be equal to about US $50,000 to cover the operating and overhead costs of the Prize and shall be transferred by the Donor during the first trimester of the year of the award of the Prize. The second instalment shall be equal to US $100,000 to cover the Prize and shall be transferred by the Donor before 31 March of the year of the award of the Prize. All funds received and the interest accrued thereon shall be kept in the Special Interest-Bearing Account for the Prize in conformity with its Financial Regulations (see Annex I).

2.4 The full staff support and operating/management costs of the Prize, including all costs related to the meeting of the International Jury, award ceremony and public information activities shall be fully covered by the contribution from the Donor, received to the Special Account for the Prize. To this end, the Director-General will determine a mandatory overhead cost amount to be applied and charged against the funds in the Special Account, which is to be established under the Financial Regulations for the Prize.

2.5 The Prize shall be awarded every two years, or once every UNESCO biennium. In exceptional cases, the Prize amount may be equally divided between two winners, each of which is considered to merit the Prize.


Article 3 - Conditions/Qualifications of candidates

3.1 Candidates shall have made exceptional contributions and demonstrated leadership in the field of the promotion of tolerance. The prizewinner(s) shall be required to have taken one or more particularly remarkable initiatives to promote the development of tolerance and non-violence, namely:

(a)


(b) In addition, the following criteria will be taken into consideration:


3.2 The Prize may be conferred upon an individual, a group of individuals, institutions and other entities or non-governmental organizations.


Article 4 - Designation/Selection of the prizewinner(s)

The prizewinner(s) [up to two laureates] shall be selected by the Director-General of UNESCO on the basis of the assessments and recommendations made by an international jury.


Article 5 - Jury

5.1 The Jury shall consist of five independent members, of different nationalities and gender, appointed by the Director-General for a period of six years, eligible for re-election. Members of the Jury should have an internationally recognized reputation in the field of peace, human rights, tolerance and non-violence. Representatives and alternatives of Members of the Executive Board may not serve as jurors. Jurors involved in a real or potential conflict of interest shall recuse themselves from further deliberations or be asked by the Director-General to do so. The Director-General may replace members of the jury for this reason.

5.2 The Jury shall elect its own Chair and Deputy Chair. Members shall receive no remuneration for their work, but will receive allowances for travel and accommodation, where required. A quorum of three jurors present will be required for Jury deliberations to proceed. The working languages for deliberations by the Jury shall be English and French.

5.3 The Jury shall conduct its business and deliberations in conformity with these Statutes and shall be assisted in the performance of its task by the Secretary of the Prize (a member of the UNESCO Secretariat), designated by the Director-General. Decisions shall be taken by consensus to the extent possible, and otherwise by secret ballot until a simple majority is obtained. A member shall not take part in a vote concerning a nomination from his or her country.

5.4 The Jury shall meet once every two years for two working days two months after the closing date for the submission of nominations, to make its recommendations to the Director-General for the selection of that year's prizewinner.

5.5 The Jury shall send an assessment on nominations and accompanying recommendations to the Director-General of UNESCO following its meeting at UNESCO Headquarters and no later than 30 September of the year of the award of the Prize.

PRESENT TEXT

Article 6 - Nomination of candidates

6.1 When UNESCO has received the funding of the prize, as indicated in Article 2 above, the Director-General of UNESCO shall officially invite the submission of nominations to the Secretariat of the Prize, by 15 July of the year of the award of the Prize, from the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, as well as from non-governmental organizations maintaining formal relations with the Organization.







6.2 Nominations shall be submitted to the Director-General by the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, and by non-governmental organizations maintaining formal relations with UNESCO. A self-nomination cannot be considered.






6.3 Each nomination shall be accompanied by a written recommendation of not more than five standard pages in length, which shall include, in English or French, inter alia (all other materials may be attached as an annex; they will not be returned to nominators):



















(a) a description of the candidate's background and achievements;

(b) a summary of the work or the results of the work, publications and other supporting documents of major importance, submitted for consideration;

(c) a definition of the candidate's contribution to the Prize's objectives.

 

 

PROPOSED TEXT

Article 6 - Nomination of candidates

6.1 When UNESCO has received the funding of the prize, as indicated in Article 2 above, the Director-General of UNESCO shall officially invite the submission of nominations to the Secretariat of the Prize, by 15 July of the year of the award of the Prize, from the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, from non-governmental organizations and foundations maintaining official relations with the Organization and active in a field covered by the Prize, as well as from former laureates of the Prize, eminent persons qualified in the opinion of the Director-General and from any person or civil society organization working for the advancement of a culture of peace, human rights, non-violence and tolerance in the world and considered suitable.

6.2 The Director-General shall also take all necessary steps to encourage an increased number of nominations, in particular by calling upon all persons and civil society organizations working for the advancement of a culture of peace, human rights, non-violence and tolerance in the world, in line with the Charter of the United Nations, UNESCO's Constitution and the principles and standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant international instruments.

6.3 Nominations shall be submitted to the Director-General by the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, by non-governmental organizations and foundations maintaining official relations with the Organization and active in a field covered by the Prize, as well as former laureates of the Prize, eminent persons qualified in the opinion of the Director-General and by any person or civil society organization working for the advancement of a culture of peace, human rights, non-violence and tolerance in the world and considered suitable. A self-nomination cannot be considered.

6.4 The Director-General of UNESCO shall encourage Member States, in addition to any other qualified "nominator", to submit nominations duly justified on the basis of the goals and objectives clearly defined in the present Statutes governing the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. In particular, each nomination shall be accompanied by a written recommendation, signed by the nominee, if an individual, or by a responsible authority, if an institution, of not more than five standard pages in length, which shall include, in English or French, inter alia (all other materials may be attached as an annex; they will not be returned to nominators):

(a) a description of the candidate's background and achievements;

(b) a summary of the work or the results of the work, publications and other supporting documents of major importance, submitted for consideration;

(c) a definition of the candidate's contribution to the Prize's objectives.

6.5 The Secretariat of the Prize shall be authorized to bring to the Jury's attention any nominations failing to meet all the criteria set forth in the present Statutes of the Prize.


Article 7 - Procedure for the awarding of the Prize

7.1 The Prize shall be awarded by the Director-General at an official ceremony held for that purpose at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on the occasion of International Day for Tolerance, 16 November. UNESCO shall present to the prizewinner(s) a check for the amount of the prize. UNESCO shall officially announce the name/s of the prizewinner(s).

7.2 If a work being rewarded has been produced by two or three persons, the Prize shall be awarded to them jointly. In no case may a prize amount be divided between more than three persons.

7.3 The prizewinner(s), if possible, shall give a lecture on a subject relevant to the work for which the Prize has been awarded. Such a lecture shall be organized during or in connection with the Prize ceremony.

7.4 The work produced by a person since deceased shall not be considered for a prize. If, however, a prizewinner dies before he has received the Prize, then the Prize may be presented posthumously (awarded to relatives or institution).

7.5 Should a prizewinner decline the Prize, the Jury shall submit a new proposal to the Director-General.


Article 8 - Sunset clause - mandatory renewal of the Prize

8.1 After a period of six years, the Director-General of UNESCO together with the donor will undertake a review of all aspects of the Prize and decide about its continuation or termination. The Director-General will inform the Executive Board of UNESCO about the results of this review.

8.2 In case of termination of a Prize, the use of any unspent balance of funds shall be determined by the Director-General, in accordance with the financial regulations for the Prize.


Article 9 - Appeals

No appeals shall be allowed against the decision of UNESCO with regard to the award of the Prize. Proposals received for the award of a Prize may not be divulged.


Article 10 - Amendments to the Statutes of the Prize

Any amendment to the present Statutes shall be submitted to the Executive Board for approval.

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ANNEX Il

FINANCIAL REGULATIONS OF THE SPECIAL ACCOUNT
FOR THE UNESCO-MADANJEET SINGH PRIZE
FOR THE PROMOTION OF TOLERANCE AND NON-VIOLENCE


Article 1 - Creation of a Special Account

1.1 In accordance with Article 6, paragraph 6, of the Financial Regulations of UNESCO, there is hereby created a Special Account for the "UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence", hereafter referred to as the Special Account.

1.2 The following regulations shall govern the operation of the Special Account.


Article 2 - Financial period

The financial period shall correspond to that of UNESCO.


Article 3 - Purpose

The purpose of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence is to honour significant activities in the scientific, artistic, cultural or communication field aimed at the promotion of a spirit of tolerance and non-violence.


Article 4 - Income

The income of the Special Account shall consist of:

(a) a sum of a recurrent payment of $ 150,000 which shall be made by the Donor - the South Asia Foundation (SAF), every two years to the Special Account for the Prize;

(b) voluntary contributions from States, international agencies and organizations, as well as other entities;

(c) such amounts provided from the regular budget of the Organization as might be determined by the General Conference;

(d) such subventions, endowments, gifts and bequests as are allocated to it for purposes consistent with the object of the Special Account;

(e) miscellaneous income, including any interest earned on the investments referred to in Article 7 below.


Article 5 - Expenditure

The Special Account shall be debited with the expenditure relating to its purpose as described in Article 3 above, including administrative expenses specifically relating to it.


Article 6 - Accounts

6.1 The UNESCO Comptroller shall maintain such accounting records as are necessary.

6.2 Any unused balance at the end of a financial period shall be carried forward to the following financial period.

6.3 The accounts of the Special Account shall be presented for audit to the External Auditor of UNESCO, together with the other accounts of the Organization.

6.4 Contributions in kind shall be recorded outside the Special Account.


Article 7 - Investments

7.1 The Director-General may make short-term investments of sums standing to the credit of the Special Account.

7.2 Interest earned on these investments shall be credited to the Special Account.


Article 8 - Closure of the Special Account

The Director-General shall decide upon the closure of the Special Account at such time as he deems that its operation is no longer necessary and inform the Executive Board accordingly. The Director-General shall decide about the use of any unspent balance of funds.


Article 9 - General provision

Unless otherwise provided in these Regulations, the Special Account shall be administered in accordance with the Financial Regulations of UNESCO.