In response to a request by delegates on Monday, the Plenary met Wednesday evening for preliminary discussions on agenda item 4.1.1, Rules of Procedure for the Conference of the Parties, as contained in document UNEP/CBD/IC/2/3.
The Plenary read through the text in clusters, highlighting the points of divergence and covered the first 25 rules. The rest will be discussed in the next Plenary. At the end of the session, the Chair established a drafting group, chaired by the UK to begin cleaning up the text.
Algeria, on behalf of the G-77, recommended that in conformity with the current UN trend, Rules 29 to 51 relating to the working procedures, should be simplified and harmonized. Australia expressed some difficulty with rule 40 on Voting.
RULES 1, 2 AND 3: These rules cover purpose, definitions and place of meetings, respectively. No comments were made.
RULES 4 AND 5 (DATES OF MEETINGS), 6 AND 7 (OBSERVERS): On rule 4, the US said that the wording in paragraph 1 prejudges the periodicity of the meeting of the COP. Malaysia stated that in Rule 6(1), the reference to "any institution" does not conform to the language in the CBD. Slovakia suggested that Rule 7(2) should also use the language of Rule 6(2) to allow for NGOs to participate in COP meetings as observers.
RULES 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 AND 15 (AGENDA): Australia stated that the added text in Rule 9(2) is unnecessary while paragraph 5 places a time limit on the discussion on financial matters. There was extensive debate on Rule 11, the possibility of adding items to the agenda, but Austria pointed out that rules 11 and 12 have to be dealt with together.
RULES 16, 17, 18, 19 AND 20 (REPRESENTATION AND CREDENTIALS): Discussion focused on the procedure of presenting credentials: whether through the established diplomatic channels or, as suggested by the UK, it should be the prerogative of the Parties. The reference to an Executive Secretary of the COP, a position that does not exist in the CBD, was questioned by India. The UK noted that it exists in some other Rules of Procedure. The status of the Regional Economic Integration Organizations vis vis Rule 19 and 39 (voting) was raised by Cte d'Ivoire but several delegations said these bodies are equal to member States once they fulfill all the requirements. The Chair said the phrase "either head of state or government" in Rule 18, is bracketed.
RULES 21, 22, 23, 24 AND 24 (OFFICERS): Antigua and Barbuda proposed that the Bureau have 11 members: 10 Vice-Presidents with two representatives from each of the five regions and one from the Small Island States. The Bahamas, Barbados and Micronesia agreed. However, the UK was concerned that this would allow any other new regional grouping to demand representation. Australia said that the President's authority provided for in Rule 21 seemed incomplete.
[Return to start of article]