|(c) Jesper Waldersten|
So spoke the President yesterday. No tweaks, no changes, no shabby last-minute deals. Just "take it or leave it". Although there may be more twists and turns to come on the rollercoaster, we are hurtling downslope towards Final Destination 2. We sincerely hope that the decision is to take it. This is a very good treaty, a very good treaty indeed. Not perfect assuredly--which treaty ever is?--but a robust text that will genuinely make a difference.
Conference President Woolcott distributed his final Non Paper just before noon. The Drafting Committee (composed of Belarus, China, Cote d’Ivoire, France, Japan, Iraq, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Romania, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Trinidad and Tobago) met for a technical review of the text. In addition to pure drafting issues, two substantive issues were passed on to the President for possible action. He decided to amend his text on only one, a non-controversial issue related to provisional application of the treaty, and orally announced the language tweak to the Conference.
The Final Text was made available later in the day, and translation into all the UN languages was ongoing the same evening, leaving States less than 24 hours to report to their capitals and come back for a decision today, Thursday 28 March.
Accordingly the final decision of this conference will take place at around 3pm Eastern Standard Time, and it will be the first item on the agenda. The formulation of the "decision of the conference" will read as follows:
The Final United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty adopts the text of the treaty, which is annexed to the present decision.
No statements will be allowed prior to the decision. Only a State or States that wish to block the adoption of the treaty may intervene and speak up. So silence is golden. For, as Agnes de Mille once remarked, "No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently."