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OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP

An open-ended working group was established under the chairmanship of Amb. Zbigniew Maria Wlosowicz (Poland) to address Agenda Item 3, Status of the preparations for the WSSD (A/CONF.166/PC.15), and Agenda Item 5, Draft rules of procedure (A/CONF.166/PC/L.6). During the course of four meetings and numerous informal consultations, the Working Group reached agreement on the draft rules of procedure, but postponed consideration of the organization of the Summit until the next session of the Prepcom.

RULES OF PROCEDURE: During the Working Group's discussion of the draft rules of procedure, Rule 6 (Elections) generated the most debate. In response to Denmark's request, the Secretariat distributed the rules of procedure for UNCED and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Benin and Egypt wanted to ensure equitable geographic representation on the Bureau. Benin also raised the point that Denmark, as host country, should be an ex officio member of the Bureau. Questions were also raised about the number of vice presidents. The Secretariat pointed out that the Bureau size and distribution of seats is a political decision. The Chair suggested that the regional groups consult on this issue.

In Section XI, "Other participants and observers," Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, proposed the addition of a new paragraph, based on the rules of procedure for UNCED and the ICPD, to allow associate members of regional commissions to participate as observers. Germany, on behalf of the EU, proposed amending Rule 1 so that it would read: "The delegation of each State and the European Community participating in the Summit..." -- as was the case for UNCED and the ICPD. Other relevant rules were also amended to reflect the participation of the European Community.

After consultations, the Chair reported a general consensus on the number and distribution of Bureau seats. Delegates preferred a relatively small Bureau of 27 Vice-Presidents, with the same geographic representation as the ICPD: Africa (7); Asia (6); Western Europe and Others (6); Latin America and the Caribbean (5); and Eastern Europe (3). Egypt later proposed adding two more seats for Africa. The Chair asked the regional groups to consult on this issue before PrepCom III. All other amendments to the rules of procedure were accepted by the Group. Consultations on the number and distribution of seats on the Bureau will continue during the intersessional period.

PROPOSED ORGANIZATION FOR THE SUMMIT: During the first week, the Secretariat distributed a "Note on the proposed organization for the Summit." The key issues included; the format for the pre-Summit meetings (6-10 or 11 March), including a general debate and a main committee to negotiate outstanding issues; and the length of the meeting of Heads of State or Government.

During the course of the week, two additional proposals for the Summit's schedule were produced by the Chair. Delegates generally agreed that on 6-8 March there should be a Plenary exchange of views among Governments, NGOs and intergovernmental agencies. The exact form (panels, hearings, etc.) remains to be determined by the Secretariat and the Bureau, but the goal is to provide opportunities for interaction. During this period, the Main Committee will also meet to finalize negotiations on the Programme of Action and the Declaration. Disagreement remains, however, on the length of and participation in the meeting of Heads of State or Government. The Chair first proposed that on 9 March, a "Ministerial Meeting" would be addressed by delegations who are not represented by a Head of State or Government, as well as by executive representatives of UN agencies and programmes. Then on 10-12 March, the Meeting of Heads of State or Government would consist of: two sessions each day on Friday and Saturday, 10-11 March (with the possibility of an evening session on Friday); and a closing session and adoption of the Summit documents on Sunday, 12 March.

The UK, supported by Germany, Uruguay and Japan, proposed that high-level representatives present statements on 10-11 March alongside Heads of State or Government. Denmark proposed the following: on 9-12 March 1995, States and executive heads of organizations and programmes of the UN system will address the Summit in accordance with a list of speakers to be opened by the Secretariat on (date to be determined), and preferably in the following order: 1) executive heads of organizations and programmes of the UN system; 2) special representatives of Heads of State or Government who will not personally attend the Summit; and 3) Heads of State or Government.

Since delegates were unable to reach agreement on whether high-level special representatives of Heads of State or Government may speak during the meeting of Heads of State, and on the length of this meeting (two or three days), they agreed to take a formal decision on the Summit's schedule at PrepCom III.

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