June 27, 2004

Final Civil Society Plenary: Reflection, Exhaustion Win the Day

As the government plenary went into overtime Saturday night, civil society met for the last time at 6pm, hoping to tie up loose ends. Amir Barmaki of Iran chaired the meeting, which was attended by around 30 people. Compared to previous plenaries, it was calm and relatively orderly. It took several attempts for Amir to get audience members to comply with his request to stick with the agenda; rather, they tried to return to the previous debate over the human rights caucus speech. Eventually, Amir was able to get the group to focus on discussing a proposal for several taskforces to review civil society’s rules and procedures, in order to avoid having a similar debacle rear its ugly head in future prepcoms. These groups would publish reports on the matter early this autumn, then circulate them online for a month to collect comments and suggestions. They would then publish a final set of rules and procedures prior to the second Prepcom, scheduled for Geneva in February 2002.

Speakers for the audience were generally supportive, offering constructive criticisms to improve the proposed review process. Speakers representing Tunisian, Sub-Saharan African, and international NGOs all acknowledged the lamentable situation that had occurred over the previous 24 hours, stating that we must all make a concerted effort to rebuild trust and understanding amongst each other.

The plenary came to a close at 7:30pm, at which point the organizers of the Prepcom were expected to hold a press conference announcing the contents of their final report. But the press conference was pushed back to 8:30; it seemed pretty clear that the governments were going to have a long night ahead of them…. -andy

Posted by acarvin at June 27, 2004 08:33 AM | TrackBack

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