Members States confer during the second preparatory meeting for the Anti-racism Review Conference. Copyright: OHCHR
The PrepCom is charged with organizational and procedural issues, as well as overseeing substantive negotiations on the text that will become the outcome document of the Review Conference.
Organizational Session of the PrepCom
The Preparatory Committee held its first session, which addressed the organization of its work, in August 2007. During this session, the PrepCom took a number of organizational decisions, including the provisional rules of procedure of the Review Conference, sources of funding for it, accreditation of NGOs, objectives of the Conference and the organization of regional preparatory meetings. It also decided that participation in the Conference should be at the highest possible level.
First Substantive Session of the PrepCom
The first substantive session of the Preparatory Committee was held from 21 April to 2 May 2008. During this session the PrepCom agreed on the structure of the draft outcome document of the Review Conference and decided that the Review Conference would be held in Geneva from 20-24 April, 2009. The PrepCom also decided to create an intersessional open-ended intergovernmental working group that would follow up on the work of the Preparatory Committee, including through reviewing contributions and commencing negotiations on the draft outcome document.
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Intersessional Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group
The intersessional open-ended intergovernmental working group met from 26-30 May 2008 and again from 1-5 September. The documents they considered included submissions by Member States, UN agencies, Regional and other international governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and UN Special Rapporteurs and Expert Working Groups. Taking these submissions into account, the working group produced a document entitled, “Certain indicative elements in relation to the outcome document.”
Second Substantive Session of the PrepCom
The second substantive session of the Preparatory Committee took place from 6 to 17 October 2008 and saw the beginning of negotiations towards a draft outcome document of the Review Conference. Members of the Committee had six documents before them as the basis for their discussions: “Certain indicative elements in relation to the outcome document,” produced by the intersessional open-ended intergovernmental working group; two documents produced by regional preparatory meetings (see below) in Brasilia and Abuja; and submissions by the Asia regional group of countries, the European Union and the Organization of The Islamic Conference. The PrepCom compiled the six documents into a single compilation that would serve as the primary basis for negotiation.
The PrepCom also agreed that this compilation should be organized into five sections, according to the previously agreed structure of the eventual outcome document:
- Review of progress and assessment of implementation of the DDPA by all stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels, including assessing the contemporary manifestations of racism, racial, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
- Assessment of the effectiveness of the existing Durban follow-up mechanisms and other United Nations mechanisms dealing with the issue of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in order to enhance them;
- Promotion of the universal ratification and implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and proper consideration of the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination;
- Identification and sharing of best practices achieved at the national, regional and international levels in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
- Identification of further concrete measures and initiatives at all levels for combating and eliminating all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in order to foster the implementation of the DDPA and to address challenges and impediments thereto, including in the light of developments since the adoption of the DDPA in 2001.
Members of the PrepCom further agreed that other contributions towards a draft outcome document would be entertained until the end of the process. The PrepCom could not complete its review of the compilation during its second substantive session and therefore decided to charge another intersessional open-ended intergovernmental working group to continue the process of negotiation and drafting. The Preparatory Committee also decided to convene a third substantive session in Geneva from 15 to 17 April 2009, shortly before the Review Conference itself, to approve what would by then be a draft outcome document.
Although the documents submitted to the Preparatory Committee for consideration in the negotiations towards the outcome document represent sometimes widely divergent political viewpoints, the negotiations in the Preparatory Committee have been marked by a spirit of cooperation and all decisions in all meetings thus far have been taken by Member States by consensus.
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