The final session of INCD-5 got off to a late start. During this 32-hour day, last minute consultations continued on several outstanding issues. The contact group on finance continued to meet in its small room. Participants periodically emerged to talk with other members of their delegations and regional groups. Consultations on local and traditional knowledge, urgent action for Africa, the African Annex and other issues were underway throughout the day. Originally the Plenary was scheduled to convene at 5:00 pm. Yet, as the day progressed and agreement on all of the provisions in the Convention relating to finance had not been reached, the meeting was postponed again and again. First, the television monitors in UNESCO said Plenary would start at 7:00 pm, then 8:00 and 9:00. At 10:00 pm, Kjelln convened the Plenary to announce that the French Minister of the Environment, Michel Barnier, wanted to meet with the African ministers who were present. He then suspended the meeting for 30 minutes.
The Plenary, however, did not reconvene until midnight, when Kjelln announced that the contact group on finance was still meeting and the Plenary would start again at 1:00 am. But this was not to be the case. The finance consultations did not break up until after 2:00 am. Then the OECD and the African Group convened in separate rooms to decide whether or not they could accept the deal brokered during these consultations. Following the African Group meeting, the G-77 convened and did not emerge until about 3:45 am. During this period, some OECD members were quite pessimistic about the outcome of these "surreal" and "bizarre" negotiations. Some felt that if the G-77 could not accept the final compromise text, the negotiations would have to be abandoned and, perhaps, taken up again in January. Yet, when the G-77 emerged it was clear that they had reluctantly accepted the final compromise text and the Convention could be adopted. At 4:00 pm an exhausted group of stalwart delegates, NGOs and agency representatives gathered as Kjelln finally reconvened the Plenary. [Return to start of article]