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The CSD held an organizational session on Friday morning, 10 March 1995, to discuss changing the pattern of Bureau elections. CSD Chair Klaus T�pfer opened the meeting and noted that his draft decision on this matter would ensure that the Bureau that prepares for the session, chairs the session. This issue came up at the second session of the CSD in May 1994. ECOSOC agreed on 29 July 1994, to permit the CSD to explore the possibility of a change in election patterns and this has been the subject of numerous Bureau meetings and other consultations over the past eight months. T�pfer's draft decision proposes the following: starting with CSD-5, immediately following the closure of the regular session, the Commission will hold the first meeting of the next regular session for the sole purpose of electing the new Bureau; terms of office of the members of the Commission shall begin immediately after the conclusion of the work of each regular session and end at the conclusion of the following year's session; and as a transitional measure for 1996, the terms of the members of the Commission whose terms of office are to expire on 31 December 1995, will be extended until the conclusion of CSD-4 and the terms of office of the Bureau elected at CSD-3 will be extended until the conclusion of CSD-4.

France, on behalf of the European Union, Japan, the United States, the Czech Republic and Poland, on behalf of the Russian Federation, Hungary and Bulgaria, supported the Chair's draft decision. Members of the G-77, however, said that they needed more time to discuss this proposal. Some members of the G-77 wanted confirmation that election of the Chair of the CSD is on the basis of traditional UN regional group rotations. For example, Malaysia (Asia) was the first Chair, Germany (Western Europe and Others), the second and the next chairmanship will probably go to Brazil (Latin America and Caribbean). Thus, the subsequent Chair should be either from Africa or Eastern Europe. If regional group rotations were assured, it appeared as though members of the G-77 could accept the draft decision. Apparently, some OECD countries would prefer that the chairmanship of the CSD rotate between North and South. The chairmanship of the CSD in 1997 — the year the CSD will prepare for the five-year review of UNCED — is at stake. Some believe that a regional group rotation would mean that the likely CSD Chair in 1997 will be from Africa, whereas a North-South rotation would mean that the Chair would be from an OECD or Eastern European country.

T�pfer responded that rotation of the Chair among the regional groups is usually a practice that works over time, but there is no legally-binding decision on this practice. He expressed disappointment that no decision could be taken at this session and suggested further consultations with the aim of adopting a final draft at the third session of the CSD in April.

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