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Back to: Eighth Session of the Ad Hoc Committee
Documents of the Eighth Session



Cover Letter


10 July 2006

Dear Colleagues

With AHC 8 just over a month away, I thought it would be useful to indicate how I would propose that we approach this our next – and hopefully final – negotiating session.

In my concluding remarks at AHC 7, I proposed that at the forthcoming session we should focus on the substantive issues which remain, most of which are indicated in the square brackets in the revised text.   In the meanwhile, informal intersessional work has been under way on international monitoring and the final clauses, under the leadership respectively of Mexico and Liechtenstein.   I should like to thank them most sincerely and also other participating colleagues, for the work that is continuing in this respect.

In accordance with this approach, I attach an indicative order of work for our forthcoming session, which I hope will assist colleagues with their preparations.   I should emphasise that this is indicative only, and colleagues need to be prepared to discuss all outstanding issues at any time during the session – I expect that ongoing and intensive informal consultations will be required on a variety of issues throughout the session in addition to the plenary discussions that are indicated in the attached programme.   We will need to be flexible in our approach.

As you know, our objective is to adopt the draft convention at the end of this session.   It would then need to go to a drafting committee which would deal only with drafting issues to tidy up the text.   The drafting committee would not address substantive issues.   The Convention could then be adopted at some stage during the 61st Session of the General Assembly.

This will require considerable discipline from all of us.   As I have previously indicated, in light of the advanced stage of our work, I propose not to entertain further linguistic “improvements” which do not have widespread support negotiated in advance by colleagues.   If no one has a substantive difficulty with an article we will move on to the next one.

This also means that there will be immense pressure on colleagues to resolve issues informally between themselves.   We are now at the end of the negotiating phase, not still in the debating phase, and it will be necessary to sew up compromises in the corridors and move on, rather than debating them in Plenary.   Please advance as many issues as possible through informal contacts, in advance of the session as well as during it.  

I would particularly encourage you to have such informal contacts and informal discussions with delegations which are not like-minded, as we will need to quickly reconcile differences and opposing views.

I very much look forward to meeting again with colleagues in August, with the clear objective of concluding our work.  

With kind regards

Yours sincerely


Don MacKay
Ad Hoc Committee





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