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DRAFT RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES

Delegates considered the revised negotiating text of the rules of procedure of the COP (A/AC.241/48/Rev.1), which reflected the deliberations of Working Group II at INCD-8. Delegates had reached Rule 22 (election of officers) during the eighth session, and began with consideration of Rule 23 (powers of the President). Benin reminded delegates that brackets remained in Rules 5 (notification of sessions) and 6 (participation of UN and specialized agencies). The Chair reminded delegates that Rule 22 contained brackets because there was no decision on the size of the Bureau. The Group did not have time to return to Rules 5, 6 and 22. Most of the remaining brackets were removed.

The election of officers of subsidiary bodies (Rule 31) and whether subsidiary bodies would vote (Rule 52) generated debate. In Rule 31, the G-77 and China proposed deleting the reference to election of the chairperson by the COP “unless the COP decides otherwise.” The UK supported the flexibility that the phrase added, and proposed extending the clause to the election of vice-chairs, but the G-77 and China objected. Delegates accepted the Chair’s proposal to add a sentence prior to the draft text noting that the Chair of the Committee on Science and Technology will be decided by the COP and retaining the rule as drafted.

In Rule 52 (method of voting), the G-77 and China supported retaining bracketed text noting that “with the exception of elections of the Bureau of subsidiary bodies, voting shall be restricted to plenary meetings” of the COP. The G-77 and China expressed concern that if subsidiary bodies are authorized to vote, the COP could not call into question their decisions. The UK proposed moving the text so it would follow Rule 31, and be in the section regarding subsidiary bodies, and delegates agreed.

The issue of whether the meetings of subsidiary bodies should be held in public or private, in Rule 35, also attracted lengthy debate. The G-77 and China supported “public” meetings, but the UK expressed concern that preparatory meetings would be “open to the press and the man in the street.” Delegates agreed that meetings of the subsidiary bodies should be public, unless the subsidiary body concerned decides otherwise. New text was also added noting that meetings of ad hoc subsidiary bodies shall be private unless the body decides otherwise.

In Rule 47, regarding majority required, delegates removed text noting that a “two-thirds” majority would be required to overrule a President’s ruling.

Rules specifying languages to be used were another source of debate. In Rule 52, method of voting, the G-77 and China proposed deleting the bracketed reference to voting order based on English alphabetical order. The US and UK preferred to specify a single language. Canada suggested that voting begin with the Party whose name is drawn by lot and proceed from that point based on the order of ratification. This proposal was bracketed along with the previously bracketed text.

In Rule 57 on official languages, the G-77 and China proposed retaining reference to the six official UN languages. Japan expressed concern about the budgetary implications and suggested that subsidiary bodies should reduce the need for translation as much as possible, but supported the G-77 and China proposal. The Chair noted that the issue has not been resolved by other conventions and proposed that the brackets be deleted and that he would work with Japan to incorporate their concerns.

While the Group was adopting its report, Spain pointed out that an amendment it suggested at INCD-8 was not reflected in the document. The amendment called for adequate representation of “Annex” affected country Parties. During the closing Plenary, Spain repeated this concern with respect to Rules 22 (election of officers of COP) and 31 (election of officers of subsidiary bodies). The INCD Chair said the revised text for INCD-10 will contain both the current rule and Spain’s alternative in brackets. The closing Plenary adopted a decision calling for the preparation of a revised text for INCD- 10 reflecting the deliberations of Working Group II (A/AC.241/WG.II(IX)/L.5).

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