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PRE-CONFERENCE CONSULTATIONS

The Pre-Conference Consultations, which were held on Saturday and Sunday, were opened by the Secretary-General of the Conference, Dr. Nafis Sadik. Dr. Sadik welcomed the delegates to the ICPD and noted that the Pre-Conference Consultations would forward recommendations to the Conference on all procedural and organizational matters. The Secretary-General proposed that Mohamed Adel El Safty, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, be elected as Chair of the Pre-Conference Consultations and his nomination was accepted.

A number of issues were considered during the two-day meeting. Delegates recommended to the Conference the adoption of the provisional rules of procedure, as contained in document A/CONF.171/2. With respect to the election of officers, the recommendations concerning the composition of the General Committee, and the distribution of the posts therein, were endorsed. The proposal to recommend to the Conference the election of His Excellency Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, for the post of President of the Conference was accepted. With respect to the election of the members of the Bureau, the Chairs of the Asian Group and the Eastern European Group indicated that negotiations were still ongoing and that the Vice-Chairs had not yet been designated. The Latin American Group nominated Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Suriname and Venezuela. The States designated by the Western European and Others Group as Vice-Chairs were Malta, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Canada and Greece. Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, nominated Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal and the Central African Republic for the six of their seven posts. The Chair indicated that negotiations were still in process regarding the designation of the Rapporteur-General and the Chair of the Main Committee.

There was no objection to the recommendation that the agenda be adopted and the participants also agreed that the general debate should be extended in Plenary until the afternoon of Monday, September 12. Each delegation will be allowed to make one general statement that will be limited to ten minutes for the governmental delegations, seven minutes for IGOs, UN agencies and regional organizations, and five minutes for NGOs. The delegates agreed that participants of the Main Committee would designate three vice chairs and a rapporteur and the Chair expressed hope that agreement would be reached before the opening of the Conference so that their election can be carried out by acclamation.

The Chair also indicated that the proposed timetable, as contained in the annex of document A/CONF.171/3, may have to be adjusted and that conference services could be provided for only two simultaneous meetings in the morning and the afternoon. The Main Committee may establish subcommittees and working groups, but only to the extent that conference services are available on site. The meeting recommended that the following States would comprise the Credentials Committee of the Conference: Austria, the Bahamas, China, C“te d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Mauritius, the Russian Federation, Thailand and the US, and also recommended the accreditation of the intergovernmental organizations listed in A/CONF.171/8. In addition, it was noted that the PrepCom for ICPD had accredited over 900 NGOs at its three sessions, and the accreditation of the NGOs, as listed in A/CONF.171/7 and Add.1, was recommended.

The Secretariat suggested a possible time-frame for discussions on the various chapters of the programme. Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, and Germany, on behalf on the EU, noted that delegations will have to be given the time and opportunity to hold further consultations. The Chair asked delegates for their comments on the possibility of adopting a final declaration. Austria said that this practice is neither customary nor infrequent and added that a more succinct version of the Programme of Action could be useful. Argentina said that the developing countries wished to discuss this issue within the context of G-77 consultations and The Gambia asked if the ICPD Secretariat had prepared a draft Declaration or if the Conference itself would have to do it. The Chair said that there was no draft at this point and that it was still unclear who would draft it. The Pre-Conference Consultations adopted paragraph 20 of document A/CONF.171/3, which recommends that friends of the Rapporteur-General be designated by each regional group to help him with the preparation of the final report. The Pre-Conference recommendations will be forwarded to the Conference on Monday in document A/CONF.171/L.2.

Regarding the election of the Chair of the Main Committee, Gabon, on behalf of the African Group, nominated Dr. Fred Sai (Ghana) as Chair of the Main Committee. Algeria, on behalf of G-77 and China, also supported the nomination of Dr. Sai.

With respect to other matters (Item 10 of document A/CONF.171/3), the Chair asked for delegates' comments on the non-paper issued by the Secretariat on Saturday. Canada suggested a reorganization of the order in which the Main Committee will review the chapters of the Programme of Action. After a further amendment suggested by the Russian Federation, the following schedule was recommended:

Night sessions are planned for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Canada said that this new organization of the work would allow decisions to be taken in working groups, if the need arose. The EU said that it had agreed to the Chair's previous schedule and had not had time for informal consultations, but agreed to this reorganization.

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