Chair Amb. de Silva (Sri Lanka) reported that the open-ended informal working group set up Tuesday met during the week to consider the Draft Statement of Principles and Global Plan of Action (GPA), and invited Dr. G.A.C Khonje (Zambia), Chair of the open-ended informal working group to give a report.
Dr. Khonje said the open-ended informal working group had met twice and discussed the document prepared by the Secretariat and the draft proposal of the European Union (EU). There was consensus that the EU proposal would form a good basis to prepare the GPA. A drafting group was set up to discuss the modalities.
Dr. Khonje, who is also chairing the drafting group, then reported on its progress. It discussed the structure and content of the document at its first session Thursday. The structure has a preamble, principles, goals and commitments, and a Global Plan of Action.
The group also worked on the principles, adding international solidarity and justice, the family, peace, and poverty eradication, to those of the EU. The group has completed work on civic engagement and is working on equity and the newly introduced principles. In addition, the group will work on an outline of the commitments, a comprehensive preamble and an outline for the Global Plan of Action.
Amb. de Silva said the document being prepared by the drafting group will be available by Monday morning and will form the basis of discussion for the Working Group. He then requested contributions from delegations who were unable to make inputs into the open-ended informal working group. The International Labour Office said reference to links between unemployment, poverty and human settlements should be stronger and more explicit.
The delegates then debated the procedure for the drafting group. India, supported by China and the Philippines, proposed that the drafting group should be open-ended because the current arrangement excludes delegates who have something to offer, deviates from general practice in Nairobi meetings for drafting groups and will cause a re-opening of debate on the documents during the Working Group or Plenary meetings.
Benin clarified that a drafting group differs from a negotiating group, and was set up to prepare text that will be negotiated and read paragraph-by-paragraph in the Working Group.
Senegal concurred and stated that prior to the creation of the drafting group, delegates had extensive discussions in the informal working group on the GPA. Sweden, supported by Tanzania, suggested that delegates submit their texts to the drafting group. Finally, consensus was reached to retain the drafting group as it was, but to allow interested delegates as observers.
At Benin's suggestion, it was agreed that whatever text is ready Monday morning should be submitted for negotiation in the Working Group, while the drafting group continues its work.
DRAFTING GROUP: The drafting group continued work on the principles of the family, international solidarity and justice, peace, and sustainability. On the family, many delegates stressed the need to include all types of families and suggested language from recent UN conferences. On international solidarity, some delegates suggested moving this topic elsewhere in the document because national and local authorities are central to this Conference. Others held that without this principle, the Conference is pointless. The group continued discussions on sustainability and international solidarity during the afternoon, and expected to work through the weekend to produce a draft by Monday.
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