5th day CSD-17

You know those moments where you realise that only NOW the real work has started? Well, Friday was that kind of day.  In the middle of the briefing of the Women’s Major Group, that’s exactly what happened to me. We were discusing how to handle the upcoming Stakeholder dialogue on Tuesday.

Let me explain what ‘Stakeholder dialogue’ means. Basically Major Groups have the opportunity to present a 5-minute statement to Ministers on Tuesday morning, followed by a question & answer session. Four dialogues happen at the same time, dealing with 1) Farmers First, 2) Rural Development, 3) Land & Water rights, and 4) Urban-Rural linkages. Women & Youth are taking the lead on the Rural Development dialogue. This means writing & presenting a statement, on behalf of all the Major Groups. We are also making a list of questions for early circualtion (Monday morning via the daily Outreach newsletter) to the Ministers, so they have time to think about answers.

I volunteered to be one of the people drafting this statement and questions. Finalising the list of questions has a deadline of 5 PM on Sunday, while the statement can be finalised on Monday (so we can include any developments in the negotiatons).  Well, our chair then suggested I’d take the lead of this small working group (7 people), so that’s when I knew my work had really, really started! Next week will be busy, especially since there are also Round Table discussions on Wednesday & Thursday and we need to prepare for that as well.

A quick heads together with this small group of 7 resulted in agreeing that we’d do the drafting at 3 PM with 2 representatives from the Youth and 2 from the Women. I then went to the BIC offices to email, print off stuff for this working group, join a short BIC briefing and eat lunch. Then it was off to a side event in which Kiara did an amazing 10-minute drama (Theatre of Survival) about climate change and poverty.  I suggest you read the press release here.

Rushing back at 3 PM, being a few minutes late because I bought some postcards for friends in the UN bookshop – no idea when I’ll have time to write these though! Nearly 3 hours later our little group had a draft statement to be circulated for comments that night.

Back to the main session where the chair (Dutch Minister) was updating everyone on the state of negotiations. Well, that was my first time in the main session that day and, boy, was it an interesting 10 minutes! G77 queried evening procedures, saying they couldn’t restart at 7 PM (as agreed the day before) and felt that head of delegations should get together to discuss procedures. The chair, in an incredible courteous way (she is a very good chair), challenged them to suggest something (anything). So, this tiny Sudanese woman (G77 speaker) asked for some time as she was surrounded (‘sat on’ I think she called it) by at least 10 Ministers of other G77 countries.  Anyway, G77 suggested meeting from 6.30 to 7.30 PM and then start again at 7.30 PM. Good, that gave us (Duncan & me)  some time to grab dinner at a tiny Chinese restaurant between 1st and 2nd Avenue.

Walking back from our dinner, we passed  the Dutch Minister and 3 of her people walking away from the UN building. This could mean anything…. negotiations restarted or completely fallen flat! Which one was it?

Back in conference room 4… people (not that many) sitting and a chair trying to get everybody on board and quiet. Well, it seems as if all was well and off we go again. I’ll show you the ‘development’ of text in another blog entry. From an original text of 25 pages (complaints to the Dutch chair that it was too long), it now is a text of 70 pages…. By Sunday afternoon it should be shorter again.

Anyway, I only lasted until 9 PM listening to countries deciding that their insertion/deletion of certain words, wasn’t that important after all. Tomorrow I’ll attend a City Farm tour in Brooklyn – great being outside for a day!


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