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RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE COP: The Working Group spent the morning and afternoon completing the reading of rules of procedure of the Conference of the Parties (COP) (A/AC.241/48/Rev.1).

Conduct of business: During consideration of Rule 39 (points of order) Benin, speaking on behalf of the G-77 and China and supported by the UK, suggested deleting the bracketed text noting that representatives may not, on a point of order, speak “simultaneously” on the substance. Delegates agreed.

In Rule 41 (proposals and amendments to proposals) delegates agreed to keep the two bracketed references to consideration of “proposals” in addition to amendments to proposals. The issue of whether proposals discussed or put to the vote would have to be made available in all official languages attracted lengthy debate. It was finally agreed that they would be available in all official languages, with the amendment that proposals would need to be “translated and” circulated.

In Rule 42 (communication of proposed amendment to Convention) the G-77 and China suggested replacing the bracketed text regarding communication six months before the session that an amendment is proposed for “review and” adoption with the following text: “discussion and consideration with a view to its adoption.” The UK objected, stating that the bracketed text should be deleted so as to replicate CCD language. Austria suggested that Rule 42 be deleted, since it repeats language in the Convention, and delegates agreed.

Voting: In Rule 46 (voting rights), the G-77 and China supported the reference to an organization not exercising its right to vote if a member State votes, “and vice versa,” in order to reflect the Convention language. The UK suggested that the rule be deleted since it is in the Convention. Uganda supported retaining the rule, which was agreed in the same form as Article 32 of the Convention.

In Rule 47 (majority required), delegates removed the brackets from the entire rule. The brackets in the first paragraph were retained, pending related decisions on financial rules. Delegates agreed to remove “two-thirds” majority required for overruling a President’s ruling. The G-77 and China suggested that if a vote is equally divided after the “third vote,” the proposal should be “regarded as withdrawn.” Delegates agreed it should be regarded as withdrawn, but after the “second vote.”

In Rule 49 (division of proposals and amendments), the UK, supported by the US, preferred to delete the bracketed sentence limiting the time allowed to each speaker to five minutes. However, he could also consider accepting that the “President may rule” to limit time. The G-77 and China supported the original text. The Chair noted that the GA Rules of Conduct provide that the President may limit the time allowed for each speaker, and delegates agreed to the GA precedent.

In Rule 52 (method of voting), the G-77 and China supported retaining bracketed text noting that “with the exception of elections of the Bureau of subsidiary bodies, voting shall be restricted to plenary meetings of the Conference of the Parties.” Austria suggested that the text be “subject to Rule 31" (election of officers) since the whole Bureau may not be elected in the subsidiary bodies. The UK suggested that the text be moved to the section on subsidiary bodies and stated that the real message of the text is that subsidiary bodies shall not vote. The G-77 and China expressed concern that if subsidiary bodies are authorized to vote, the COP could not call into question their decisions. The text, with the Austrian amendment, was retained and moved to become 31 bis. The G-77 and China proposed that the bracketed reference to voting order based on [English] alphabetical order be deleted. The US and UK preferred to specify a single language. Canada suggested that voting take place based on the order of ratification, beginning with the Party whose name is drawn by lot. The US asked what the precedent of previous conventions has been, and the Chair noted it has been English. The G-77 and China stated that the decision is political and that English is imposed on others. France noted that the Canadian proposal was original. The Canadian proposal was bracketed along with the previously bracketed text. The G-77 and China, supported by the UK, proposed retaining the final bracketed sentence regarding secret ballots, which was agreed.

Elections: In Rule 55 (absence of majority), delegates agreed that if, on the “second” ballot, the votes are equally divided, “the President shall decide between the candidates by drawing lots.”

Languages and sound records: In Rule 57 (official languages), the G-77 and China proposed retaining reference to the six official UN languages. Japan expressed concern about the budgetary implications and suggested that subsidiary bodies reduce the need for translation as much as possible, but supported retaining reference to the six languages. The US also expressed concern with costs. The Chair noted that the issue is not yet resolved in other conventions and proposed that the brackets be deleted and he would work with Japan to incorporate their concerns.

In Rule 59 (languages of official documents) brackets were retained around the sentence that says that the original text shall prevail if there is a difference between texts.

Amendments to rules of procedure (and status): The words “and status” were removed from the heading. In Rule 61 (amendments) “by consensus” was moved to the end of the sentence. The paragraphs and headings were then reorganized. A new section XIV, “Overriding authority of the Convention,” was created. Rule 63 (precedence of the Convention) was placed in section XIV, and amended to read “...conflict between any provision of the present rules and any provision...”. A section XV, called “Miscellaneous,” was also added, under which Rule 62 (italicized headings) was placed. Rules 62 and 63 consequently traded places and numbers.

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