Four intersessional meetings have been held so far, and member state delegations met again on 11st December to continue the negotiations around the Joint Ministerial Statement, on a basis of the chairman’s new draft sent on 5th December. Below is an account of the discussions that took place at the intersessional.
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ON THE JOINT MINISTERIAL STATEMENT
Canada raised concerns that the text was received too late and comments are still pending from capital. The delegation needs more time to comment on the text and will need to come back to the chair later with them. There were also concerns around harm reduction.
The USA needs more time as well, but want to move on even if some things still need to be bracketed and some issues still up for negotiation. As much as possible should be done during this 5th meeting.
Thank Peruvian chairmanship for the current draft. Russia also thinks that the draft was received too late and agree with Canada that don’t have sufficient instructions from capital. Russia wishes to reserve the right to go back to paras at a later state.
Germany is disappointed that the draft was sent so late, which means that there is no compromise from the capital. It is becoming more difficult to explain why they need to travel to Vienna and justify expenses if they can’t take part in a substantive discussion.
European Union (EU)
The EU thanks Peru for the updated proposal and for taking into account previous debates. The EU appreciates progress and the new document is a good basis for further negotiations before High Level Segment. For the EU, the priorities are: the abolition of the death penalty; harm reduction; civil society involvement; a balanced, integrated evidence based drug policy with full respect for human rights.
Mexico thanks the chair, looks forward to continuing consultations. Mexico is open to guidance for the way forward.
Pakistan is glad to see the Egyptian chair take his role and know that the negotiations will go in their intended way. The current proposal is still with the capital and cannot find their proposals in the current draft. But they are ready to move on with the negotiations under new chairmanship. The text is a good starting point, but Pakistan reserves the right to introduce their proposals and have full confidence that Egyptian chairmanship will help finalise the draft.
So far, there is no conclusive direction from the states. There is a newer text, which was distributed on Friday 6th December, may not leave enough time to consult capitals. We are inclined to move paragraph by paragraph, but with hesitation – revisiting the whole text again would be a waste of time. The other option is to collect general remarks, but this again can be redundant work since all have addressed their concerns and put forward proposals previously.
Russia agrees that expressing views is a repetition of the previous exercise. We should think how to move forward.
We would like to ask the secretariat how many more intersessionals will take place next year, including informals.
The negotiations can continue next time. All delegations will be given time to consult their capitals and at the end of the meeting on Friday there will be an announcement on the upcoming intersessional meetings to start the negotiations over.
In general, the USA agrees that getting instructions from capitals make sense but the question now is how we can use the time today in a constructive way. It might be possible to identify areas that don’t need further clarification and the paragraphs that need more work on?
If we go into identifying paragraphs, that will be part of a negotiation process. Today, we will go through the rest of the agenda items and refer back to the draft and start getting comments.
France would prefer to wait until January to go through the text paragraph by paragraph, and support the proposal to go to other agenda items. The French currently have the presidency of Security Council and have a project on West Africa, France will be organising a meeting on18th December on the fight against trafficking in the region.
The meeting on 13th November – the Extended Bureau endorsed the proposal. The meeting will follow the format of the general debate of 2009, and will be open to all member states of the UN. There will be three round tables on supply reduction, demand reduction and money laundering. The High Level Segment will discuss all three topics in a broad manner, instead of focusing on details.
Provisional agenda items 8 and 9 – the format will be discussed on Friday 13th December at the CND reconvened session. The Extended Bureau met to discuss the proposals from GRULAC, Mexico, etc. with the chairs of the regional groups in order to reach an agreement for proposals on thematic events. The results of these discussions will be communicated on Friday.
Composition of the Bureau – The CND must elect three vice chairs at the end of the reconvened session. Regional groups were asked to conduct consultations to nominate a representative.
Submission of resolutions – the final deadline for submission will be 13th February 2014.
REMARKS ON THE JOINT MINISTERIAL STATEMENT
Delegations are still waiting for comments from capitals, but some difficult issues can be identified today and those can be addressed. This is still a very long draft that needs to be improved, shortened and focused. In January, a possibility could be given for a new draft after all comments have been received. Mexico particularly wishes to refer to two points: a lot of information is still missing on what is happening in New York. For example, it is important to get some information on the Omnibus Resolution outcomes, if not all delegations are aware of it. We also need to mention the post-2015 agenda, and include information on that as drugs and crime will be included.
It is not an option to have a completely new text, this would not be productive. The Peruvian Chair has done a very good job. A new text would mean that previous work would be trashed. We should not waste our efforts. The question is – what will be the Egyptian chair line? The EU is proposing themes that are not acceptable to other delegations. How will the chair proceed with completely different viewpoints? Will there be mediations? There may be no final text before the High Level Segment starts if we proceed like we do now.
We have no answer to this right now. There are contradictory statements. Mexico importantly mentioned the need for information – New York process. When we reach the point, we will see if mediation is needed and what options are possible. Same text/new text will depend on the negotiations. The coming Bureau will work hard to bring the consensus document to life before the High Level Segment. We need to work hard in the spirit of compromise and collaboration. Every state has a view, national priorities and policies, but the main theme here is to find a common denominator. That has been done before and will hopefully be done again this time.
There is some understanding that the statement has to be shorter. There are still issues that are repetitive in the statement could potentially be shortened. Compromise is not only restating of what we said before, consider the review what has happened and what need to be done. We can shorten by deleting parts that don’t relate to that. The leading body of drug policy should be able to say more.
At the end of the day, the final product will be a collective ownership of all. This will be a new text, more refined, etc. We could look into shortening the text, but we need to bear in mind that sometimes the restatement is a necessary element and part of what we do. Even if we restate, we move beyond that. That should not be copy paste of the previous declaration.
We agree with the USA that we should be able to highlight general comments. We would welcome a shorter document but this is not easy. There are some controversial issues, such as civil society, the death penalty and harm reduction. This year’s discussions are particularly difficult, especially with NY discussions and resolutions. There seems to be a fundamental disagreement on the nature of the danger posed by illicit drugs. Terrorism, narco-corruption, good governance, how comfortable references to post 2015, legalization and decriminalisation, are a number of issues that states are not on the same page with regards to the nature of the problem.
With regards to UNGASS, there seems that no delegations opposed to the CND having a more important role in the preparations. So this is a good starting point.
Could you clarify what you mean, would CND have “the leading” of “the role”?
This would mean that preparations are made in Vienna. The CND would have the main role, preparations would be made where the expertise is – in Vienna.
Italy believes that there may need to be more balance between the sections on supply and those focusing on demand.
We would like to suggest a way forward. We agree that some delegations pay attention to the intersessional. We may identify controversial topics for consultation in informals, for example during the reconvened session.
In the January meeting, we can provide you with information about red lines so the chair can understand how difficult that is.
Until the negotiations are started on the text, we would welcome suggestions, proposals from delegations presented to the chair through the secretariat. Please do not send red lines, but rather precise text proposals on what the delegations would like to have included. At the next meeting there will be some idea.
We endorse the suggestions from the chair – we have to move on with the text. Meanwhile we can make recommendations in writing and submit to the secretariat.
We agree with India and support the new proposal. So will there be a new text at the next meeting based on the proposals submitted?
No, there will be a compilation of the proposals as they are received in a separate stack. Then we’ll go paragraph by paragraph. Depending on the progress, we’ll need to decide how to move on. This cannot be decided now.
We want to be constructive, and also want to underline that multi language is important and is not for negotiation.