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DRAFT RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES

The discussions were based on document A/AC.241/38, which was largely drawn from other Conventions and the CCD.

In Rule 2 on definitions, delegates agreed that a sub-paragraph is needed referring to the date of entry into force of the CCD. With respect to Rule 3, place of sessions, Benin said the decision on where the COP holds its meetings should be decided by the UNGA. Regarding Rule 4, dates of sessions, Benin suggested that an extraordinary session be held not more than 45 days after the submission of a written request, instead of the proposed 90 days.

With respect to Rule 22, election of officers, Benin suggested the addition to the Bureau of a seat for the small island developing States. Iran wanted each geographical region to have two representatives on the Bureau and proposed that the Chair of the CST also have a seat on the Bureau. The UK proposed that Rule 27 read: "Save as provided in Rule 28-31, the present rules shall apply" to all bodies.

Protracted debate followed Canada's proposal with respect to Rule 47, which deals with the majority required to make various decisions. Spain said the rule does not provide a procedure where two alternatives have been proposed. The US, supported by the UK, Japan and Canada, proposed that financial decisions should be made by consensus. Uganda, supported by Benin, said the proposal should be bracketed. The Chair pointed out that the financial rules being dealt with here are not the same as those under discussion in Working Group I. The Secretariat clarified that the rule suggests that on all matters of substance for which consensus is not obtained, the decision shall be made by a two-thirds majority vote, except in three instances: when the Convention provides an alternative; in cases where the financial rules provide guidance; and under the proposed Rules of Procedure.

Rule 53 addresses the method of voting. Uganda said the rule should be cross-referenced to Rule 47, paragraph 2. South Africa said the drafting of paragraph 2 does not vest power in the President of the COP to rule on the roll-call vote, since a provision is made for secret ballot. A supplementary procedure should be provided. Rule 56 provides for the procedure of elections in the absence of a majority. Benin, supported by Egypt, amended paragraph 1 so that if votes are equally divided in the second and third ballots, the President shall "draw lots to decide between the two candidates."

Japan suggested a reduction of the official languages to three to reduce costs. This was contested by several delegations including Spain, China, Benin, Cuba, Kazakhstan, France and Mexico. On amendments to rules of procedure and status, Benin proposed a deletion in Rule 62 of the words "by consensus," since other parts of the Convention do not say that amendments have to be adopted by consensus. Uganda suggested putting "by consensus" in brackets. The Chair commented that if consensus is deleted, then Rule 47 will apply instead and said that it makes sense to adopt the Rules of Procedure by consensus.

Finally, the Group adopted the draft decision on the Rules of Procedure of the Conference of the Parties. It states that the INCD should use the draft Rules of Procedure of the COP prepared by the Interim Secretariat (document A/AC.241/38) as the basis for future negotiations and requests the Secretariat to prepare a revised text for the eighth session.

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