day 9 of the op-icescr working group

Programme for the day: Delegations met around 4pm today, breaking up round 6pm following an informal “private” meeting to discuss the recommendations. While NGOs were excluded from the room, we grouped at the entrance of the room and were able to observe the most of the delegates who have been involved in the discussions to date entered the meeting. 

Key issues arising: Obviously, our capacity to provide an extensive report on the activities of the closed meeting is hampered somewhat.

However, five options were presented by the Chair and delegations were asked to state clearly for the record which position they would support.

The options were:
1. To move to drafting
2. To adopt the Argentinean/GRULAC position to consider modalities and elements
3. To adopt the Chair’s proposal to “consider options”
4. To renew the mandate as it stands
5. To abandon the working group

The majority of options range from two to four, though all options received various levels of support.

What’s going to happen now? Tomorrow the meeting is going to consider, and try to adopt, the report, conclusions and recommendations.

There seemed to be a mood among delegates as they emerged from the meeting that in some way the working group mandate would be renewed, but that there will be a battle at the Commission on Human Rights about the resolution. At this stage, at the very least, it is anticipated that the US will call for a vote, and other delegations may also call for a vote if they are not happy with the outcome of the working group.

NGO activities
• We maintained a presence near the door for the duration of the meeting and thus, created some pressure
• We engaged in bilaterals with key delegations
• We met with the Chair, and will meet with her again in the morning
• We prepared a Coalition position on the draft report, and have been working with delegations on issues raised in it

Action Alerts for NGOs: Continue to ring, fax, email your capitals to encourage their ongoing participation, to prioritise attending informal-informal meetings, and to challenge the assertions that the majority of delegations do not support the drafting of an Optional Protocol or the renewal of the mandate.

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