Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 3 of the Fourth PrepCom

(c) Jesper Waldersten
More of the same on Day Three, with little evidence so far of a breakthrough on the draft Rules of Procedure. The Preparatory Committee meeting was presented with a draft report on its work by the Chair. Largely factual in nature--essentially saying "we came, we met, we discussed"--the report does, though, propose to annex the Chair's paper as a background paper for the forthcoming Diplomatic Conference, which means it will be translated into all five other UN languages.

But what role the paper will play in the Diplomatic Conference remains unclear. Sweden, for example, stated that the paper was not written in legal language, suggesting its utility could be somewhat limited.

A sticking point on the draft report is the request by some of the sceptics to request the UN Secretariat to prepare a compilation of Member States views on the treaty. It's hard to see how the UN could do justice to everyone's statements without asking each state to submit a summary of their views, which could make it a very long document. Indeed, ODA delivered a short statement to the Committee noting that it takes its impartiality "very seriously". This did not, however, satisfy Algeria, Egypt, and India. The Chair will conduct informal consultations with delegations on the issue on Thursday (Day Four).

Further informal consultations with delegations on the draft Rules of Procedure were conducted on the evening of Day Three. It remains to be seen whether agreement can be secured by Friday, or whether the issue will be kicked down the line to the Diplomatic Conference itself.


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