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IN THE CORRIDORS

There was much confusion in and out of the corridors as the Main Committee bounced back and forth between formal and informal sessions all afternoon. Many participants and observers questioned this seemingly strange procedure, particularly the media who were constantly invited into the room and then ejected once again, depending on the status of the session. Others wondered why each chapter had to be adopted twice.

According to UN procedure, the results of informal-informal consultations must be first presented to the informal meeting of the Main Committee, where the text is discussed by the Committee as a whole. Then, after any additional amendments or clarifications have been made, the informal session can agree to forward the text to the formal session. Only the formal session of the Main Committee can officially adopt the text and forward it on to the Plenary of the Conference. In many conferences, the Main Committee concludes its informal consideration of the text at least a session before it meets formally to adopt the text. However, in this case, since many of the informal-informal consultations did not conclude until minutes before the relevant text had to be adopted by the Main Committee, there was no other alternative but to play this game of procedural ping-pong.