Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A defining moment?

The overriding principles for the management of the ATT Diplomatic Conference were said at the outset by its President to be "transparency" and "inclusivity". As not all of you out there are lawyers, we thought it might be useful to offer some preliminary, working definitions of these complex terms.

© Jesper Waldersten
First, transparency. Transparency can be most usefully defined as something "obscure", "opaque", "difficult to perceive", and "conducted behind the scenes". Thus, a transparent negotiation is apparently one that is conducted through written contributions from delegations attached to emails sent to each committee chair that are then discussed openly among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Seemingly by osmosis, this process leads magically to a new rolling text.

Now for "inclusivity". Inclusiveness has a two main elements to it. First, it means limiting time for comment on the existing rolling thematic text through the convening of consecutive rather than parallel sessions, thereby preventing the chairs from ever being able to go through the list of speakers before a new rolling text is issued. Second, it means allowing every single delegation to participate actively in determining the outcome of negotiations, as long as, of course, that delegation represents a State that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Too cynical? Perhaps. But we will soon get an inkling of how representative these definitions are, since on Thursday morning the President of the Diplomatic Conference is widely expected to present a comprehensive rolling text, the first "almost" draft of an Arms Trade Treaty. Who will be happiest? The contras, the enlightened, or the P5?  Vamos a ver. And remember, as Lily Tomlin once said, "No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up." 

No comments:

Post a Comment