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PLENARY

The Plenary considered agenda item 4.1.1, Rules of Procedure and the periodicity of the meetings of the COP. The Chair stated that four of the five previously unresolved issues had been settled following his informal consultations with the regional groups. Several delegations registered their reservations as some were still awaiting instructions from their Capitals while others wanted to consult as regional groups. The Plenary was adjourned to allow for consultations. The informally agreed texts are:

Rule 6 (1): the bracketed text was to be deleted and replaced by a footnote stating, "The notification will include also any institutional structure referred to in Article 21 of the CBD," so as not to prejudge the structure. Malaysia reserved its position until the legal status of this footnote was clear, while the UK preferred to say, "the institutional structure...." Rule 21 was to be amended to allow for eight Vice-chairs, two from each region, instead of three Vice-Chairs, with the addition of, "...with equitable geographical distribution, as well as, the need to ensure adequate representation of the Small Island Developing countries," in the last sentence.

Rule 40 provides for decision-making by consensus. Japan withdrew its recommendation to exclude the two-thirds majority requirement, for decisions made under Article 21 (1), 21 (2) and the protocol referred to in Article 19, in the absence of consensus. However, no agreement was reached on how decisions on these two issues would be reached, as other issues relating to these sections are under discussion.

Rule 52 now states that "the official and working languages of the CBD shall be those of the UN." Some delegations still wanted these languages stipulated. Mauritius stated that the last two sentences of Rule 35, on voting, were contradictory. Spain, Switzerland, Chile, France, and the Russian Federation concurred. The last sentence, was amended to: "Nevertheless, the President may exceptionally permit the discussion and consideration of proposals, amendments to proposals or of procedural motions even though these proposals, amendments or motions have not been circulated or have been circulated only the same day or have not been translated into all the official languages, with the authorization of the linguistic groups concerned, of the Conference of the Parties."

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