2nd Day CSD-17

Day 2 was slightly less hectic than day 1, but still very busy. The main mornning sessions in the 2 main halls were postponed until the afternoon since the group of G77 + China needed more time to consult as a group. Sudan is the chair of this group at the moment.

My normal routine of attending the briefings of the NGO and Women continued. We had 34 participants in the Women briefing and later, while writing up the minutes, I spent quite some time decyphering email addresses. One of the women attending is from the Dutch government delegation. She’s very good at explaining procedures and you absolutely need that kind of knowledge, otherwise you could be wasting an awful lot of time.  Sudan (on behalf of G77) had asked for a statement on women for use in the pre-amble of the negotiating text.  So, after our briefing, 6 (including 3 with Dutch connections and a Baha’i youth) of us went to the main canteen and drafted a statement. And this is what I learned:

a) forget English grammar rules about punctuation,

b) imagine Shoghi Effendi’s language (very long sentences),

c) don’t ever use a full stop because whatever comes after it will be disregarded – commas are king in this language (UN-English), and

d) be very strong in your language, so it can be watered down during later negotiations (e.g. use ‘must’, so it can be changed to ‘should’).

And it’s really useful to know what has already been agreed on in other international agreements because governments will be less likely to disagree. It’s one of the reasons why continuity in people attending these kind of events is so important. How else would you know? I certainly don’t.

The rest of my day was spent in writing minutes, decyphering illegible handwriting, attending the main session where the pre-amble was discussed (I’ll tell you more about that another day), and going to an evening event on Urban agriculture of which 2 speakers were from Cardiff University.

Now I’m off to see what day 3 brings.

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