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Cablegate: Right to Development Working Group

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGV #0551/01 0661457
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071457Z MAR 07
FM USMISSION GENEVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3026
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2048
INFO RUEHZJ/HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 0496
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 1625
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0980
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0219
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU 0173
RUEHBP/AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 0079
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0700
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0402
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0220
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 4940
RUEHLS/AMEMBASSY LUSAKA 0314
RUEHMK/AMEMBASSY MANAMA 0140
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 0546
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 2628
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 0295
RUEHPL/AMEMBASSY PORT LOUIS 0225
RUEHPG/AMEMBASSY PRAGUE 0734
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 4531
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 0384
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0550
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 0683
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3782
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 0629
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 1208
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0067

UNCLAS GENEVA 000551

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR IO/RHS, DRL/MLA, L/HRR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM UNHRC
SUBJECT: RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT WORKING GROUP

REF: 3/2/2007 SMELLER-IO/RHS EMAIL

Summary
--------

1. The inter-governmental Right to Development (RTD) Working
Group completed its Feb. 26-March 2 session with an unusual
compromise "consensus" agreement on the chair's conclusions
and recommendations that left it up to various states to
decide whether or not the report opened the door for a new
legally-binding international instrument on the right to
development. (NOTE: Final conclusions and recommendations
e-mailed to IO/RHS. END NOTE.) After several failed attempts
to get more explicit wording for a legally-binding instrument
inserted into the proposed text, the Non-Aligned Movement
(NAM), led by Cuba, said it would only join consensus if it
could include a NAM declaration stating that it understood a
particular sentence in the document to mean that the working
group could begin consideration of a new RTD convention.
After several hours of back-and-forth discussions, the RTD WG
chair finally relented but not before giving all other
delegations the same option to include their own separate
statements of interpretation. The European Union, Australia,
and Canada quickly said they would include annexes expressing
their own view that an outcome did not necessarily mean a
convention or anything legally-binding. The working group
also agreed to extend the mandate of its high level task
force for an additional two years. End Summary.

NAM Versus the Western Group
----------------------------

2. From the outset, there were two sides during the meeting:
NAM, which wanted to begin work on an RTD convention, and the
Western Group (EU, Australia, Canada, and Japan), which,
though not speaking as a group, said it would rather have
more (read indefinite) discussion and research done on the
issue. Memories of last November's contentious RTD vote in
New York occasionally surfaced during the negotiations, and,
at one point, the German delegate -- on loan from the German
Mission in New York -- warned the chair not to mention New
York again unless he was prepared to have a repeat
performance in Geneva. For his part, RTD WG Chair Salama
(Egypt) did a good job in keeping discussions focused and
presented at least three draft versions of the working group
report's conclusions and recommendations, which included
suggestions on: 1) where the working group's work on the
elaboration and implementation of a comprehensive and
coherent set of standards might lead; 2) the focus of high
level task force technical missions; and 3) renewal of the
working group and high-level task force's mandate. At
Salama's request, Polcouns met with him and task force chair
Stephen Marks during a consultation period to discuss the USG
position on right to development and reiterate our strong
opposition to a legally-binding RTD instrument.

EU Tactic Gets NAM Nervous
--------------------------

3. During discussions with Poloff on the margins of the
working group meetings and at two Western Group meetings, the
German delegate suggested a strategy of indefinite engagement
with the NAM on right to development. He reasoned that since
NAM had the numbers, it would be better to engage them for
several more years, which would hold off actual work on a
convention, while at the same time allowing donor countries
to put more of the onus of good governance and rule of law on
the developing countries. While not initially supportive of
Salama's text, Germany and several Western Group countries
said that it was probably the best we could hope for. The
EU's eventual acceptance of the text, however, only seemed to
raise NAM suspicion. NAM demanded more specific language in
the last sentence of paragraph five that would explicitly
mention an international legally-binding convention. (NOTE:
The actual sentence mentions the possibility of "an
international legal standard of a binding nature." END NOTE.)
NAM also wanted -- and got -- a watered-down version of a
paragraph on technical missions for the task force to study
the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the ECA/OECD-DAC
Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness, and the Paris
Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and demanded that a
three-year extension of the task force's mandate be reduced
to one (it was eventually changed to two years). Japan said
that its main concern was about any additional costs the
working group or its high level task force would incur.
4. During one of several breaks called for by NAM, an OHCHR
Secretariat staff member told Poloff that NAM wanted to

SIPDIS
extend the working group's mandate by only one year, because
it feared losing control of the process. The staffer went on
to say that the EU's tactic of engagement had caught NAM
off-guard and its members were now scrambling to figure out
what the EU was up to. Throughout the afternoon and into the
early evening (the interpreters had already departed), WG
Chair Salama urged NAM to accept the EU's "incredible offer,"
but, in the end, NAM continued to insist on specific wording
for a legally-binding international convention.

Everyone's a Winner
-------------------

5. After several more breaks, NAM said it could only join
consensus if it could include as part of an annex to the
report a "NAM Declaration" explicitly stating that it
interprets the last sentence of paragraph five to mean an
international legally-binding convention. Salama pleaded
with NAM not to take this unusual step and warned that he
would have to open the door for other delegates to do the
same if they so wished. NAM refused and, as expected, the
EU, Australia, and Canada immediately stated that they, too,
would have their own annexes explaining their understanding
of the text was that an outcome could take on other forms
instead of a convention. Salama then congratulated everyone
for reaching consensus. Germany said it just bought everyone
two and possibly three more years without talk on a
convention and that this time should be used to get more
actively involved with the issue to control it. The report
along with the chair's conclusions and recommendations will
now go to the upcoming Council session for adoption.

Comment
-------

6. The chair's conclusions and recommendations put the RTD
issue one step closer toward a convention, which makes the
NAM's actions during the last two days of negotiations even
more bewildering. Cuba has continued to flex NAM's muscle,
stating on several occasions during the meeting that it
already had the numbers and did not need consensus. The EU's
maneuvering, however, put NAM in the awkward position of
possibly not joining consensus on an RTD issue, so, as a
last-minute, face-saving measure, NAM had no choice but to
join consensus (albeit only with inclusion of its
declaration). Look for NAM to use some of the language in
this report, especially in its declaration, to advance an RTD
convention in other fora in New York. END COMMENT.

TICHENOR

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