The Chair Ambassador Khaled Shamaa opened the meeting and the floor approving draft agenda for session. The recent draft ofthe Chair’s non-paper was circulated, it has also been made available through VNGOC.
Interactive debate on UNGASS proposal.
Chair: On 26th November, the Executive Branch meeting agreed that interventions be kept brief, taking a maximum 5 minutes. It also recommended that the chair of the CND prepares a short summary of interactive debate, which will be included in a special section of the report on reconvened session.
In the CND resolution 57/5, the UN Agencies and specialised agencies were encouraged to contribute to the UNGASS preparation discussions. In the past few months, some of them — including the WHO — have sent written contributions (available at the UNGASS website). The joint presentation on the availability of controlled substances at inter-sessional was quite useful, as well as the participation by UNAIDS in one of the recent lunchtime discussions. This included the possibility of holding a video conference with Geneva and New York to allow other UN agencies to make a contribution. The Executive Branch has agreed to this course of action. Also, the civil society will have an opportunity to take the floor. Already many NGOs have recently contributed to the UNGASS website. This will help Member States to make informed decisions.
The Commission should finalise the debates around the possible outcome of the UNGASS and organisational matters at 58th session in March 2015. This will allow sufficient time for Member States to make the best possible use of March session. The Commission will have to reach understanding of the best possible format for each of the envisioned high level workshops. Substantive content and specific issues should be decided.
Concerning the proposed agenda and the program of work for 58th season, including special session, the Chair informed that 4 half-day sessions will be devoted to each thematic cluster for UNGASS 2016.
The chairs of the regional groups make comments on the proposed program of work. There is common agreement on the four broad thematic clusters, however the chair of regional groups will continue their consultation within groups in preparation for meeting on Wednesday.
Netherlands: Have we agreed on the proposed agenda or will we do this on Wednesday 5th December?
Chair: We have preliminary agreement, but the decision will be taken on Wednesday.
Mexico: raises questions about the organisational proceedings. An open ended format and different seating format are needed. Concerning the civil society participation, it seems not to have clarity on the special procedures to accredit non-ECOSOC NGOs. If that is the case, would be important to get some kind of agreement, as many NGOs that may be invited to participate do not enjoy consultative status
Secretariat: Meetings will be open to ECOSOC-accredited NGOs. VNGOC acts as a civil society umbrella and it has found a way to facilitate the participation of those who can contribute (and have not ECOSOC status). When it comes to the future, the resolution recommended by the CND through the ECOSOC and approved by the Third Committee of the General Assembly contains guidance in the Opening Paragraph 11 that reads as follows: “The General Assembly also recognizes the important role played by the civil society (…) and active involvement, and effective, substantive and active involvement, in accordance with all special sessions of General Assembly.” This is a basis for the CND and for member states to define modalities, taking into consideration the rules of procedure and practices of other Special Sessions.
Mexico. This scheme may work, but others may not want to be accredited through the VNGOC umbrella. It is better to follow the practice of General Assembly: the most commonly interested NGOs could send letter (to show their interest on attending) to member states. If there is no objection to this letter, the NGO is invited to attend and if there is an objection, it should be raised in an open meeting, and then discussed.
Discussion of procedural and budget for reconvened session:
The regional groups are asked to submit their proposals. Only one nomination has been submitted for second vice-chair. Chairs of regional groups should continue consultations so commission can elect a bureau on the 5th of December.
Netherlands. Will further Inter-sessional be held in February?
Chair: There are no dates yet, but hopefully in January and February new meetings will be announced and held. The Secretariat has to coordinate with Conference management services.