Good afternoon distinguished delegates. I’d like to call to order the second meeting of the second substantive session of the Open-ended Working Group on security of and in the use of ICT established pursuant to GA resolution 75/240 of 31 December 2020. Distinguished delegates this morning we had, I thought, a productive use of our time in terms of listening to views on the organization of work as well as on other issues, which I know delegations had found it necessary to make statements on. It was clear from the morning meeting that there was no consensus to proceed with the adoption of the program of work. It was also clear from the morning meeting, that a large number of countries had requested that the meeting of the Open-ended Working Group proceed in the format of an informal meeting and not in the format of a formal meeting. Over the period of the lunchtime, I and my team had the opportunity to have had some quick informal consultations with several delegations. And it’s clear to us that we do not as of now have a clear consensus on a way forward in terms of how we organize and proceed as a working group. Of course, naturally, I share your sentiments and your commitment to get to the items on the agenda of the working group. But at the same time, it seems to me we need to spend some additional time to address the question of organization of work, and how and in what format we will be able to proceed in a way that is consensual and that has the support of all members of the working group. This morning, we had the opportunity to hear a range of views. And given that at this point, we still do not have consensus on a clear path forward I’d like to ask at this point first if there are any additional comments from delegations and new ideas from delegations and also from delegations who might not have spoken this morning. And also, I’d like to ask if there are any indications of flexibility from delegations that had already spoken this morning. I am, like many of you, very keen to begin the work of the working group by addressing the issues on the agenda. But I also recognize that some patience will be needed on my part in order to get that discussions going on substance. So we need to address first of all how we will proceed as a working group and in what format. So I’d like to open the floor now and ask if there are any additional comments, new ideas or indications of flexibility. The floor is open. I see several delegations have requested for the floor. And I’ll take them in the order that I have received them. Starting with the delegation of the Russian Federation. Russian Federation you have the floor, please.
Thank you, Mr Chair. Distinguished colleagues, we have gathered here today at the second substantive session in order to, ideally, discuss the following. We will need to discuss a whole series of problems related to ensuring ICT security and security in the use of ICTs. In fact, these goals are described in detail in the resolution that is our mandate. The second substantive session will begin from the following, a series of countries are already trying to impede work, this is a fact. It does not matter what kind of excuses they are using for this purpose. They claim that our cooperation with NGOs has not been resolved, has not been addressed. They claim that the political context of the past few weeks is the reason. They are using every means possible to block our work. I truly hope that most of those in the room here today can see that this is obvious. These countries are impeding our work, they are preventing you from voicing your concerns, from sharing your experience and so forth. As for the issue of working with NGOs, it is clear that all of our discussions over the past several months attest to the fact that the issue of modality of working with NGOs needs to be developed further, it cannot be resolved quickly, superficially. We have stated on multiple occasions that since we are interested in expanding cooperation with non-government entities, that we are ready for consultations and to discuss the issue of modality. But I will reiterate that we believe that it is unacceptable to use this topic as an excuse to undermine concrete negotiations during our formal session. As our mandate states, the OEWG can decide to work with NGOs, but it is not required to do so, especially if this harms the implementation of its mandate. We believe that it is important to continue discussion on this issue in the form of consultations during the intercession period. Additionally, we believe that it is important to agree, not so much about the accreditation of NGOs, but rather about the substantive nature of our cooperation with NGOs, specifically, what elements of the group’s mandate, what element would increase these organizations’ contribution? So the issue of working with non-governmental entities, if we can resolve it would help us to relaunch our work. In practice, this would allow us to resolve some of the issues that arose during the first session and try to optimize our mechanism. This is why, in order to address this issue, we once again suggest that you consider potentially creating an unofficial subgroup to address the modalities of cooperation with NGOs. During the period of work of this subgroup, we suggest following the precedent set by the first group, either in the original format or in the format suggested by our colleagues from India. We believe that this would be a constructive and viable compromise that would allow us to do the following: first, continue our discussions in the inter-governmental format; and two, we could tomorrow, for example, begin to work with all of the relevant non-government entities. The decision is up to you, distinguished colleagues. However, I believe that it must be clear to everyone in the room who stands for what. Who is truly interested in seeing this group succeed. As for the format of today’s meeting, as the US coordinator for cybersecurity said, we are not clear on the point that he was trying to make, we don’t understand the fundamental difference between an informal-informal session, for example, compared with what happened in December in that context. If we repeat the precedent set by the meeting in December, our delegation will not be opposed to this. Why? Because the main thing is that in December, despite all of the attempts to interrupt our work, we still had an opportunity to conduct substantive discussions. This is our top priority. I hope that most of the delegations in the room today are also working on the basis of this principle. Thank you.
I now have India, to be followed by Iraq and Indonesia. India, you have the floor, please.
Mr Chairperson, we appreciate your efforts during the first substantive session, and during the intersessional period to find a way ahead on the issue of modalities of stakeholder participation. Our position on this issue is well known. India is committed to multi-stakeholder approach, as the industry, civil society and academia are integral to promote an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment. We had engaged constructively during the informal consultations organized by you and had also proposed a compromise, which could have helped us move forward. But a consensus could not be achieved on our proposal, and the deadlock continues to prevail over the issue. We appeal to all delegations to show flexibility so that we can resolve the issue quickly and proceed with the substantive discussions in this group. We see several delegations like us who have travelled from their respective capitals to participate in these meetings. Many of them are represented at fairly high levels. It shows the importance that we attach to this process. So, it is important that we move ahead in this process together and constructively. We can draw our strength from the consensus adoption of resolution 76/19, not long ago in the General Assembly. Mr Chairperson, on the question of the nature of this session, our delegation would be flexible and be guided by you. Our priority is to see the commencement of substantive discussions within the group on key issues. And we trust in your leadership, Mr Chair, to take us forward. Thank you.
Thank you for the statement. I give now the floor to Iraq, please.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. At the outset, let me begin where I stopped this morning. We must be patient and I salute your patience, your flexibility, Mr Chairman. So, let me thank you for your efforts to convene this meeting and your endeavors to reach a solution on the participation of the non-governmental entities and civil society in these discussions. My delegation has more than once, stressed the need for non-governmental entities to participate in the activities of this group. Such participation, if effective, would be a major opportunity. An opportunity to benefit from their experience, from their expertise and perhaps, to reach a document that satisfies the concerns of all member states. At the same time, however, Iraq has also stressed over and over that we ought to avoid creating any new precedents in this regard. Those may jeopardize our work and the work of future Open-ended Working Groups. So, proceeding from that, Iraq supported the proposal made by India on this matter in order to make an objective move forwards. The major threats, the real genuine security challenges and threats facing the international community, because of the abuse of ICTs require of us all, to show more flexibility, to show genuine political will to move forward in the work of this Open-ended Working Group, so that we may realize the objectives that we all agreed upon in the General Assembly and for which this very Open-ended Working Group was created. Many delegations have come from all over the world to assist at these proceedings, to discuss issues objectively to put forward their proposals, their viewpoints. And to reach a world of cybersecurity, a world free from sinister cyber-attacks that are daily attacking our national institutions worldwide. The Chair expressed his intention to undertake informal consultations at the session, so that we can reach a consensus on the participation of stakeholders. We are confident that these efforts made by the Chairman, that the goodwill of states concern will surely lead us towards a solution to this issue. So, Mr Chairman, I can only suggest to you to go forward with the methodology that we adopted at our first session, until we reach a solution during the informal consultations currently led by our Chairman with the states concerned. This does not exclude a result. Previous Open-ended Working Groups have reached success by using that very methodology. For example, the Open-ended Working Group on small arms. The countries that face security threats in cyberspace, the delegations that have come from all over the world in such delicate security situations require us to show flexibility so that we can take up the objective items on our agenda. Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Thank you for the statement. I give now the floor to Indonesia to be followed by South Africa. Indonesia, please.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. At the outset, allow me to express our delegation’s appreciation to you, as well as your team for your dedication, hard work, resilience in stewarding our work at the OEWG and we share the chair’s observation that it is a shared understanding among majority of us that contribution of stakeholders is important to the OEWG process. My delegation in many instances has also consistent in supporting these calls. And we also understand the importance of ensuring all modalities to be agreed upon by all member states. My delegation, we’re ready to support proposed stakeholders modality by the chair as well as proposed by delegation of India. However, unfortunately, consensus is yet to be reached. Mr. Chair allow me to share our perspective on a procedural question at hand. We are witnessing that during this session we have substantial amount of expert representation flew from capitals all over the world. And as we speak today, my experts also flying here and enduring 24 hours journey, and we were ready to participate in a formal meeting. We wish that member state would have received the information earlier, of the proposal to move the session to informal, as it might also affect the decisions of many on the level of participation of experts today. We wish to reiterate that any way forward that we take today, all member state should be making an informed decision, particularly on the implication of moving to informal session. For example, whether the substantive discussion will be taken note in the final report of the OEWG, and whether all agenda items will be given equal allocation of schedule. Mr. Chair we recall that on December, we were also in a similar situation and, however, we managed to continue the sessions under your able guidance, while using available time on the sidelines to discuss modalities of stakeholders participation. My delegation pleased to observe that last December, considerable efforts by all delegation to the substantive discussion, despite differences on substantial and modality issues. And we hope that we can follow that modality and use the available opportunity on the sidelines today to sit down and to try iron out differences. We kindly asked the proposers to reconsider the proposal and allow the second substantive session to be held as planned. My delegation calls on all states to extend utmost flexibility and commitment to reach consensus on the issue of stakeholders modalities. Our priority is to ensure that our substantive discussion progressing in this session, as we have all the expertise presence here in this very room. And what we need now is the trust and the will. In our part, my delegation stands ready to engage constructively the discussion, and we will be guided by your wisdom Mr. Chair, and will continue to aim for the success of this process. I thank you.
Thank you for the statement. I give now the floor to South Africa.
Thank you chairperson. My delegation would like to once again show you of our support, and we appreciate your tireless effort to bring us closer to a consensus solution. We once again would like to emphasize the need to resolve the matter of stakeholder participation to ensure the meaningful participation while preserving the inter-governmental nature of this working group. We have listened closely to the positions that the delegations have expressed today. And I would like to state that my delegation is flexible, as long as we can make progress and move forward with a substantive work before us. Therefore, like Indonesia before us, my delegation is willing to accept proceeding with our work based on the manner in which we have conducted our work in December 2021, at the first substantive session. However, we stand ready to support any initiative that can garner consensus and allow us to make substantive progress, which itself will build confidence and trust in the ability of the International community to come together to address the pressing matter of cybersecurity. Thank you.
Thank you for the statement. I now give the floor to the United Kingdom to be followed by Brazil. UK, please.
Thank you, Chair, and thank you colleagues for your helpful interventions, which we particularly welcome. Chair, I wanted to ask a point of, not a point of order but a question. When you wrapped up the previous session, you said there was clearly no consensus to proceed with formal meetings. That of course is not the same as there being consensus to proceed in an informal setting. My question is, has this room rejected proceeding in informal settings? We would like to understand that. For our part, we very much feel that no one here is blocking any substantive discussion. Indeed, as many of you know, the UK is highly committed to the substantive discussions proceeding and that is indeed why we did not prevent any such discussions happening in December. So, we would very much like those discussions to proceed and they can do so on an informal basis, and as many have requested with translation, with UN TV, and so there would be no blocking of discussion. So, for my own understanding, Chair, it would be helpful to understand whether, why informal discussions, which is standard practice would not be possible. We heard several references to the idea of the modalities that were agreed in December. We don’t believe that’s quite the right framing. What happened in December is we were asked if we would adopt the program of work. We refused because that should not be done until modalities have been agreed, as standard practice. And then, in order to allow the substantive discussions to proceed, we said that we would be happy to waive what would normally happen to go to informal discussions, so that we could have those substantive discussions on the basis that we proceeded in parallel informally to resolve the modalities issue by the end of the first session. Now, I think everybody agrees that it is in all of our interest to resolve the modalities question, nobody wants this outstanding, nobody wants this discussion to continue to take time. So, the issue before us now is we can continue to operate as we did in December with the same risk, as we have carried since December, that we will have to spend several meetings, you know, every other week meeting to discuss this issue with the potential of making no progress. As thus far, you know, we’ve moved since December to now, to March, and we still don’t have a resolution on that. So, that is the risk that we see attached to not moving to informal at this time. It is not the case that we don’t want discussions to proceed, we clearly do, and that’s what informal enables. If we were to continue as we did in December, as I say the conversation about modalities continues with no end state. When would we agree that? Would we continue to spend time on that? It is highly, highly irregular, for any UN process to proceed without its modalities agreed and that remains our concern. We would very much welcome returning to any formal discussion, as soon as modalities had agreed, at whatever point of time, tomorrow, three days time, or several weeks. But, we do consider that in this context we carry a major risk to this process by continuing with no modalities agreed and stepping away from standard UN practice. So, we welcome the request to be flexible, we are trying very hard, and that is why we have continued all of these discussions on modalities throughout December and into January and February, as everybody knows, and into March. We continue to exhibit that flexibility, but at some point, this has to be resolved in order for this process to proceed. Chair, we welcome very much the proposals that have been made. For our part, we had hoped that your original proposal in December would have been agreed, as when we left session in December, we seemed very close to that. We also think that the Chair’s proposal that followed was not so far from being agreed. So, we were disappointed that silence was formally broken on that. And we welcome our Indian colleague’s suggestion, which the main constraining factor for us is that, as we heard from our Russian colleagues several times, that they would not consider using those modalities judiciously. We consider the main element of the India proposal to be the addition of a language around judicious use, and therefore to have someone stand up and say, we’d agree this but we wouldn’t agree that bit, or we’d agree but we wouldn’t actually do that bit, is something of a challenge for us to really put trust into that proposal. That does not reflect on India or anyone else who was involved in putting forward that proposal, which we think could have potentially been a very good solution. So, Chair, I return to my ask, are we not able to proceed in informal following on from your statements at the close of session? That clarity would be well received. Thank you, Chair.
Thank you for the statement. I give now the floor to Brazil.
Thank you, Mr Chair, for your tireless efforts in facilitating our dialogue as member states in this working group. Brazil agrees with the Under Secretary General, Madame Izumi Nakamitsu, on the importance of advancing our discussions. We also express our frustration with the lack of definition of the modalities of participation of other stakeholders in the work of the OEWG, as well as with the lack of adoption of the program of work, until now. Brazil supports multi-stakeholder participation and we support it also the Chairs’ proposal of modalities from December. We are also flexible to engage with other countries and member states in reaching a consensual solution in this regard. We favor the continuity of substantive discussion and we hear what our friends from Indonesia and other countries mentioned on the importance of honoring the participation of so many countries in this group. It could be formally or informally, but in the second case, we would like to clarify the status of our discussions, our statements, our submissions, regarding the preparation of the report. This is even more important considering the timeline proposed by the Chair, to have something agreed by the next session. So, we would like to understand better, if our contributions in these informal possibility would be taken into account formally in the work of the Chair towards the report. Finally, we would like to reiterate our reservation with proposals of work that divide our group in subgroups. This is a modality that was not sufficiently discussed by member states and can bring some unintended consequences, such as a hierarchy between themes, dispersion and fragmentation of the agenda that could move in different speeds and also miss the point of inter-linkages between the themes of the agenda. We support the Chair’s call for advancing an early result of the group, for achieving concrete steps and showing that this group is fulfilling its mandate and also, we would like to focus on low hanging fruits in this regard. Mr Chair, we trust that under your leadership, we would advance in this direction. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Brazil. I give now the floor to Singapore.
Mr Chair, at the first substantive session, it was clear that there were areas of significant disagreement on the proceedings and modalities. I was heartened and grateful that we managed to still find a way to have substantive dialogue on the core issues of cybersecurity, despite that because that is why we are all here. In the current geopolitical climate, it remains that there are still areas of significant disagreement and issues of major concern. I remain optimistic that we will find a way to address these disagreements over time. But, I’m realistic that we need to ensure that constructive dialogue on cybersecurity can still proceed while we work on that. In times of global crisis, as you’ve mentioned, what the world needs most is more dialogue. And for platforms like this to remain functional so we can robustly discuss the specific issues that it was convened for. As the inaugural OEWG consensus report is mentioned, the OEWG itself is a confidence-building measure. When Singapore joined the OEWG, like many other countries who are new to these processes, these dialogues helped us understand the issues and helped us build confidence in the other nations here. Therefore, the OEWG should focus on the substantive discussions in order to build trust and confidence among member states. Let me turn specifically to the issue of multi-stakeholder engagement. Like other delegates have mentioned, Singapore believes in a multi-stakeholder approach to cybersecurity. In order to move forward, let me rewind time a little bit. I was fortunate to see the value of multi-stakeholder engagement first hand. So, please let me share Singapore’s experience in chairing the OEWG informal, intersessional consultative meeting in 2019. The meeting was Chaired by the chief executive of cybersecurity agency, Mr David Koh and it brought together 114 Non-governmental stakeholders. This was the first time that multistakeholder cyber discussions related to international peace and security had been held. The interventions for non-states and states were thoughtful, wide-ranging, and some members even said that they were enjoyable, which is not a word I traditionally associate with cyber security dialogues. The report from that session is available on the UNODA website and encourage new member states to read that report. I hope that if we step back and recall the value that they bring to the OEWG process, we will try to work towards finding a compromise on this matter. On the other issue, I echo the views from Indonesia and South Africa. It is a stronger signal for us to send to the international community that despite our differences in December, and again today, we came together collectively and decided to move forward and spend our time here discussing issues of substance, which seems to be something we all agree upon. Thank you.
Thank you for the statement. I give now the floor to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, please.
Thank you, Mr Chair. Since this is the first time for my delegation to take the floor, I’d like to join other delegates to appreciate your leadership and effort for the successful convening of the second substantive session of the OEWG. This morning, we listened carefully to those statements made by a number of delegations, regarding the format and modality of the second substantive session. In order for the second substantive session to be held successfully, we consider it necessary to boldly set aside the differences and find the common ground in a cooperative and constructive manner. As it stands, there is a consensus on the fact that the OEWG’s process is built on the UNGA resolutions 75/240, and all speakers articulated their commitment to the successful outcome of the OEWG. A number of delegations, especially from developing countries, have travelled a long distance to discuss substantive matters as informed so by the Chair and the Secretariat. Where there is a will there is a way out. It is advisable to avoid any distraction, namely politicization of the OEWG process, and focus our time and energy on the substantive matters. Otherwise, it could be seen as being interested in delaying and undermining the OEWG process. As far as the modality is concerned, it is primarily essential to preserve the inter-governmental nature of the process and the integrity of the 1996 ECOSOC resolution. By the way, given the fact that it is difficult to breach the wide gap, it is deemed necessary for the time being to positively consider the consensus-based modality of the previous OEWG process, as it is the customary practice in the UN system in the past years. It is also important to ensure the inclusivity in view of the importance of the OEWG work and in this regard, unfettered access of all member states must be properly addressed. Thank you, Mr Chair.
Thank you for the statement. There are no further speakers who wish to speak. I’d like to ask are there any further requests for the floor? Russian Federation?
Mr Chair, thank you. I listened with great interest to the statements, and I fully agree with those who propose continuing our work. Just in general, with respect to our general understanding of the situation, I just would like to clarify, right now this is an official sessions, this is an official meeting, that is our assumption simply because no additional decisions have been made about transitioning to an informal, unofficial format. I hope my understanding is correct. It is also my understanding that, if we take a new decision to move to an informal format, and we are unable to make this decision, then normally we apply the rules for the General Assembly, these are the rules we should be following. In any case, I will repeat myself, despite our strong desire to put an end to the process of working out the modalities with NGOs, we are not obligated to do so, because according to the resolution, the working group may, but is not obligated to make such a decision. I express my readiness to work on continue to working on modality with stakeholders. And we have been very flexible and constructive on this issue because we are ready to continue to work on this issue. As for those who insist on transitioning to an informal format we would like to say the following. Even if we do make this decision it will not guarantee that we will be able to reach a consensus on the modalities of working with NGOs more quickly. However, such a decision would create a very bad precedent. Those countries, and we know which countries these are, those countries who are trying to undermine the process will then be using this new process on all kinds of issues. So dear colleagues, I want to have you think once again about whether we need to create such a precedent. In response to the statement of our colleague from the UK, I would like to say the following. I remember very clearly what I said about the mechanism and that is not what she is saying that I said. I said that the procedure of omission is an important filter, it is a good mechanism for filtering out unrelated topics, for filtering out topics which are unrelated to the work of our organization, which are not helpful. But, we have never stated that we will block everything indiscriminately as some of our Western colleagues are claiming. I want everyone to understand this clearly. Thank you.
Thank you for the statement. I give now the floor to the European Union.
Thank you, Mr Chair and thank you for allowing me to floor one more time. Maybe also to clarify that we are not, and I’m saying this again, and I keep on repeating this. We are not blocking discussions. We want these discussions to continue. We have travelled here from capitals with 27 member states and multiple representatives per member states to contribute constructively towards these discussions. So we have no intent to block any discussions, despite what Russia might say. We can continue right now with the discussions on the elements that are parts of the program of work. We can agree amongst ourselves indeed, and translation and the UN web TV will continue so that we can have our exchanges and even we can consider how these exchanges can feed into our work later on. So there’s actually no reason why we cannot continue in an informal setting, as was proposed. There is, however, a reason to not have formal discussions, and that is because we don’t have modalities. And the way we work in the United Nations is that we have modalities before we actually continue substantial discussions. And it’s something that happened in December, which we understand because we didn’t want these discussions to end and we wanted to continue and we’ve worked hard meanwhile, to find a compromise on this issue. Making substantial compromises. So not compromises on timelines or procedure, but actually on the substance of what we deemed to be the best practice for multi-stakeholder participation. Actually a practice that is practiced in the United Nations widely, and we have seen recent votes in the GA that actually prove that the vast majority of us think that multi-stakeholder participation is important. And in particular, in this process, because other stakeholders have a particular responsibility when it comes to cybersecurity we can continue these discussions, we can continue them right now. And we can continue our work on the modalities and we are ready to have these discussions and to see how we can solve that issue fast and in view of our continued discussions in July, so that we can proceed with the work. There’s also no reason necessarily, to set up a subgroup in this regard, because we have four months, and we have been able to conduct that work under your able leadership. So I’m not sure why, for that sense, we should divert from that procedure and establish a subgroup in that sense. So I would ask, clearly, is to understand why we would divert from our practice in the United Nations to continue on a formal basis without having modalities, while basically continuing in an informal setting would give us the exact same advantages, but would be in line with the working of the United Nations more broadly? So, thank you very much.
Thank you for the statement. I give now the floor to Jordan.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. First, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to you for your efforts in organizing our meetings after our last meeting. We would like to stress the importance of moving forward with our work during this week, either informally or formally. As a representative of the Jordanian Center for Cyber Security, I am extremely interested in tackling all the issues that are contained in our program of work. Conducting our negotiations is an urgent need, particularly in the presence of all those experts from everywhere in the world. Thank you, so much.
Thank you for the statement. I have no more requests for the floor, distinguished delegates. I’ve listened carefully to the statements, both this morning as well as this afternoon, and it is clear to me that we do not have consensus on a clear way forward. It is also very clear that this working group has to act on a consensus basis for any decision, both relating to procedure or organization of work or substance. And whether the format of the meeting is formal or informal, that too will require that we have consensus. And that is exactly what we are trying to establish and construct, if you like. Second, the deeper issue is not really about the format of the meeting or the form of the meeting, but the deeper issue is one about trust. And it’s quite clear that we need to build trust, or if you like, rebuild trust, and that is going to require a lot of conversations among delegations, between delegations and of course, in the context of open meetings like this, as well as meetings, which are private. Now, I’m not sure as Chair, whether I can recreate the trust that is needed for this process in an instant. But all I can do is encourage the conversations and discussions to take place in the hope that there is some degree of trust for all of us to collectively take half a step forward in order to carry out our work. Now, this afternoon, there were some ideas that were put forward and I’d like to get an indication as to whether these ideas could be a way for us to take a step forward. In particular, the ideas mentioned by some delegations, Indonesia, for example, which had suggested applying previously used modalities. And I’d like to summarize them as follows based on what I’ve heard. There are three parts to that. First, we set aside the question of the programme of work, because it’s quite clear that we would not have consensus to have that adopted. But we can be guided in our work by the agenda that was adopted in June. That’s the first part, the second, we continue the work of the Open-ended Working Group in a formal mode, as we are meeting now, with interpretation, as well as UN web TV coverage, that would allow our delegates from capitol as well as other stakeholders to follow our discussions. And third, we continue informal discussions in parallel on modalities for stakeholder participation. And in fact, given that we have time this afternoon, we can begin a formal discussion on stakeholder modalities right away, assuming these three elements are acceptable to all delegations as a way forward. So, can I at this point, have an indication as to whether delegations here can in a spirit of flexibility, and in a spirit of wanting to move forward, and in a spirit of reaching out to all delegations, agree to move forward on the basis of the three points that I’ve put forward? To recap, we set aside the program of work, we continue the work of the Open-ended Working Group in a formal mode, as we are doing now. And we continue informal discussions in parallel, which we will do tomorrow afternoon, but we begin those discussions right away here this afternoon, provided these three elements are acceptable to all delegations. Can I ask if any delegation has any objection to this? These elements as a way forward to get our work going? United States, you have the floor please.
Thank you, Chair. I am not quite understanding how your solution addresses the comments that many of us have made today with regard to making sure that the modality situation is resolved. I also don’t understand exactly your three-point plan that we would simply put aside the program of work, I guess, as we did in December and continue as if there were no disagreements about the modalities. And what is the solution if we are unable to arrive at a adequate solution for the modalities? Could you expand a little bit on your proposal? Because simply going on as business as usual does not seem to be an adequate solution. Thank you.
Thank you, United States for the question, which allows me to clarify to some extent. First, I would say that it is quite clear that we are not going to get modalities in an instant. Certainly not this afternoon. And maybe not even tomorrow. But it is a process of discussion and negotiations that we will need to undertake and that process is already scheduled to begin tomorrow afternoon at lunchtime, in an informal setting, which I have already announced will begin. But I’m taking the additional step of saying that we devote extra time to the question of modalities today, this afternoon. As soon as we get past the question of our organizational work, we can have a preliminary discussion today as to whether the discussion in itself will offer a solution that is not up to the chair, I wish I could, as the chair suggest, a solution that will be acceptable to all I’ve spent doing that for nine months. And delegations know that I have put forward several proposals on the table. And the different proposals I had put forward, were not able to garner consensus. But I remain committed to continuing my effort to finding consensus. So you’re right, United States, that it is not going to give you an instant solution, but it does begin the process today, now, under my chairmanship. Because that’s what I can do, as chair, convene, and facilitate discussions, I cannot impose a solution on delegations, especially on a working group which is mandated to act on a consensus basis, because each one of you have the right to say no. And if that happens, we are back to square one, which indeed has been the case for the last nine months. So that’s the first point, United States. Second, it is not really business as usual, because frankly, I think we are now in a situation that is not as good as it was in December, because in December we were able to get fairly quickly to substance. Right now, we have expended the morning session talking about how to proceed. We have begun the afternoon session talking about how to proceed. And in a sense, we have lost time. I think all of us. I’m not blaming anyone, certainly not anyone here, because this is the nature of multilateral negotiations. So the message has been sent. And the message has been acknowledged that multistakeholder participation is important. And to those multistakeholder participants who are following the discussions, I can assure you, if you’re watching this on UN web TV, I can assure you that this is one issue that I’ve been working on for the last nine months, from the 1st of June 2021 when I assumed this post. And you know also that I have scheduled discussions tomorrow. And Thursday, it is also my hope to organize multistakeholder discussions together with delegations even though that has also created some unease among some delegations. So it is certainly not business as usual. I think we are in a far worse situation than we were in December because we haven’t even started with substantive discussion. And I’d like to see if we can use the time that we have this afternoon in a productive way. By either getting to Agenda Item five, which is the agenda relating to the different issues under the working group, or we use the time to talk about stakeholders. Let’s have that discussion now in a formal setting in the eyes, and in the presence of stakeholders who might be following this on web TV. Let’s have that discussion now. I’m ready. I’ve been ready from day one of that discussion. And my sense is that everyone recognizes that too. But we came close as some of you had said this morning, we came close maybe once or twice to a consensus, but that was not possible. So I know that I do not have a perfect solution for any of you because we are not in a perfect situation. And we are certainly not in a perfect world. So the three points I had suggested, is an attempt to get all of us to get the process started and get the discussions going. But any objections, then we can’t proceed, because that’s the way this working group works. And if we can’t proceed, then we will have to look for another solution. I’m not sure if my response has addressed your concerns United States. But that’s all I could say at this point. UK, you have asked for the floor.
Thank you, Chair, and thank you for your explanation. And for your proposal, which I understand from your explanation. Thank you for that. My question, I think remains. We, certainly I, am keen to resolve this issue to move on. Chair, I’ve spent 20 years doing cybersecurity. I’m not at heart a UN diplomat. This is not the conversation that I want to have. But in order for us not to have it anymore, I need to understand what would happen next. And I think the question that stands to me from your proposal for this afternoon, is if we were to proceed now, formally, then what happens in July, if we have not agreed modalities? We have seen, as you say, there is limited trust in this conversation. And it is not clear to me that we will find modalities before July. Chair, I don’t want to sit here in July, and face his room again and say, “Oh, we don’t have modalities we should talk about this.” I don’t want to do that. And it is my concern that proceeding formally now means that is what will happen. And that is why chair, we’re very happy to move on to discuss about modalities. In fact, we’re very happy to move on and discuss about threats. But to do so formally would appear to have implications for what happens in July. And I wonder if doing so is the best way. Do we want to do this again in July? I know that I don’t. So if you can help me, chair, find a way, that means that we don’t have to do this in July, then perhaps we have a solution. But at this stage, that’s my primary concern. And I don’t quite know, how to get us out of that? And that I would welcome any suggestions from the floor as to how we avoid having this conversation again in July. That would allow us then to move on. Thank you, Chair.
Thank you very much, UK, that’s an excellent question. I can say that I completely agree with you because I don’t want to have this conversation in July either. In fact, I did not want to have this conversation now. I thought that it will all be resolved in December. I was sadly mistaken. But let me address a few points, and thank you for the question, which gives me an opportunity to come back. First, whether we proceed in a formal or informal mode, the risk of the issue not being resolved remains in one way or another. And the issue of formal or informal is fundamentally as I see it, related to the question of whether we have that trust necessary to re-begin the conversation in a context that is geopolitically challenging. We are all here as representatives of our country and of course, we know what’s happening. And I’ve been here at the UN every single day for the last few weeks and months. I have a fair idea of what’s happening outside the UN in the world at large. So, the point is that there is a need to rebuild trust and that’s what this process can be helpful for. Whether that will lead to an instant solution by this afternoon, tomorrow, I don’t know. But, as to whether we will be in the same situation in July, I think with the possibility of extra time being given to us the chances are higher, not just the risk, but the chances of finding the solution are higher. Certainly, I’d like to think so. And in other processes, I think this morning there were references to some other processes. Whether General Assembly had made decisions, but let us remember that in some other processes, the decisions were made by the General Assembly, they did not have to deal in the context of a consensus based process. So, it’s up to member states to decide how they wish to advance the issue and within the working group, of which I am Chair, because I’m not chairing any other thing, all I can say is that within the working group, we have to work within the mandate, which requires us to act on the basis of consensus. But I think that with the additional time that we will have between now and July, the chances of reaching some kind of agreement is much higher, we did come close once or twice before things intervened. So I’m an optimist, cautiously, an optimist, not widely optimistic. But I think that at the UN, we do engage in a process of reaching out to the best we can to rebuild trust, rebuild conversations, and build consensus. So it is in that spirit that I’m putting forward the three points, if that’s acceptable, we can proceed even now to talk about specific ideas for modalities before we take it up in an informal context. Or we can move to any other agenda item or if we have no agreement on this then we might have to maybe have a short suspension to see how we can proceed further. Thank you. United States, you have the floor again.
Thank you, Chair. Let me address all of you and make a bold proposal because we’re all exhausted with this subject, I can hear it in everybody’s voice, and we’re all searching for a way out of this. On the 15th of December, you proposed, in a rev one modalities for the participation of stakeholders in the Open-ended Working Group. I would like to put that specific language back on the table and see whether we can get a consensus around that language. If anybody would like, I can read the language. Alternatively, the Chair can re-distribute the language and in paper form or in whatever, whatever one does these days. That’s my proposal. I think it’s as constructive as we can be, and see whether there is intestinal fortitude to take it up. Thank you, sir.
Thank you, United States. Can I ask United States if you’re suggesting that we go into that discussion now or tomorrow at the informal?
I suggest we take it up now. But I do not then want to, I would like to hold the issue of there being any other formal discussions in an abeyance to see whether we can solve this question quickly with a swift strike, and then go on, and then we can remove this as a point of contention. So, that’s what I suggest, we can do this discussion as a formal matter, but I would like to hold in abeyance, and I do not agree to any other formal discussions going forward.
Thank you. That’s clear what you’re saying. I’m happy to look at this question of rev one proposed modalities for the participation of stakeholders now. We do have the time. And I’m not sure if everyone has this document before you. It was circulated in December 15th at the first session, can we have views and reactions to that? Russian Federation, you have the floor.
Thank you, Mr Chair. You know, it’s quite amazing, our British and American colleagues have said that they’re exhausted from discussing this topic, but let’s remember who began this discussion in the first place. In that light, it’s quite surprising that this is the outcome that we see today. Mr Chair, I would like to reiterate our position, which is very simple. We believe that the existing modalities, perhaps they are not perfect for everyone, but nevertheless, in our opinion, they are an opportunity for practical cooperation with all interested stakeholders right here, right now. It’s clear that things can always be improved and perfected. We are willing to do this, but only informally, including during the intercession period or during informal meetings on the margins of our substantive meetings. To be honest, we believe that our meeting time, our official meeting time is already quite limited, and we would not wish to spend it on these kinds of discussions. Since it seems unlikely that right here right now, we will be able to achieve a mutually acceptable solution, we suggest moving on to substantive discussions, for example, discussing threats. Informally, just like last time, we can attempt to find ways to bring our positions closer to one another. I reiterate, we propose seeking modalities solution for stakeholders informally, thank you.
Thank you for the statement. European Union.
Thank you, Chair. I wanted to actually reply directly to the proposal just brought to the table by the United States. As you know, in December, we could support the proposals that you had put on the table, and we can still support the rev one of the modalities. So, we are ready here and now to decide on those modalities, and to move forward and to leave this issue once and for all behind us. No continuing informals, no potential luring over the July meeting, it’s now 4:30, we can have this done in by the end of the day. And just to say that I represent the EU, but also its member states and I know that several of our alignment countries share that view. So in that regards, I can offer you already now 20%,almost of UN membership that supports your proposal. And I recall that actually in December there was a wide spread support for your proposals. So, I think it’s a very good suggestion of the colleague of the United States to seek consensus and to seek our way forward leaving this issue behind on your proposal rev one of 15 of December.
Thank you for the statement. Are there any other statements? There seems to be none. I would just point out to delegations as well, by way of background, that I did also circulate a proposal in January – rev two – those were the two proposals that were put on the table. And those of you who had followed the discussions know that neither of them garnered consensus, at least at that point in time in December. So, I’m happy to also hear other views relating to modalities for stakeholder participation. And I wanted to in this context draw your attention also to modalitie, which were adopted by the Open-ended Working Group on ammunition. And this was adopted in March this year. If you like this was the latest modalities adopted by a working group by consensus in the UN system. And I’m happy to also make this available to delegations. Mexico.
Thank you so much, Chair. As you know, Mexico has backed the proposed rev one that you circulated around mid-December. We believed that if we did not reach the number that we would have liked to have seen when it comes to participation among other stakeholders it was still a good agreement and is a sort of solution for commitment on all different parties. For that reason, with this proposal before us Mexico supports it. You mentioned the proposal that was circulated in January given the break and silence that had occurred previously. And keeping in mind that we were under the impression in December that we just needed a bit more time, we would be able to reach some kind of an agreement and express or communicate that we had arrived at that agreement. Since that was not the result in January my delegation made some observations concerning the specific language included in your proposal. Language that we could discuss now if you would like to Chair. But at the end of the day it was a proposal, Chair, that in general we agreed with. And with some dialogue, which could be held within this framework, we might be able to reach an agreement in that same area. So, as our response to your question, Chair, that is our position currently. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mexico. Canada, please.
Thank you very much. Thank you, Chair. I’m not sure if this [the mic] is working. Okay. Thank you. Look, I think the proposal made by the EU and US is probably the best one at this stage. I mean, if I think back to this long journey on stakeholder modalities, we came close at various times, but that clearly to me is the time when we came the closest. You made an excellent proposal on the Wednesday. It was not put to the room for a final validation on the Friday, but I never heard anybody that week who formally objected. I heard maybe one or two who perhaps expressed reservations and perhaps needed to check with capital, but it was never put to the room and that was the closest that we came. It comes down to a very simple point, the one that I mentioned earlier, which is transparency. If a state wishes to object it may do so it just has to identify itself. I don’t think it’s too much to ask. So in short, I mean, rev two – the January one – eight states objected, that was unfortunate. So let’s say rev one, only one or two perhaps didn’t share their view. And so since that’s the one we came closest on. I think that’s a good basis to start discussions now so therefore we would support the US proposal. Thank you.
Thank you chair. I think I know where we are. But just to confirm that we are still in the position of thinking this discussion should be informal, although we understand that US has requested abeyance whilst we discussed this proposal. So just to be clear, we still have the same position on that. However addressing this issue that has been put on the table, actually my Canadian colleague has said very much what I would say. We didn’t hear any objections to this proposal in the room. And we still, although chair you say we haven’t had consensus on this proposal, we are not clear where that lack of consensus comes from, because it was not expressed certainly in December in the room. We know and understand that your rev two was broken silence on and therefore is more contentious and more difficult. Although, you know, I’m sure we can still work on it, but I do believe that rev one represents the closest we have come. As has been said by others, if nobody in this room objects – which I think is the core question whether anyone objects to rev one – if no one objects, this conversation can end. And I think we would all welcome that. And we can move on. So, if that’s a possibility, Chair, then we would certainly support that. Thank you.
Thank you for the statement. Are there any other requests for the floor? Russian Federation.
Thank you, distinguished Chair. Our discussions of this issue remind me of running in a circle, what it’s like if you’re running around in circles. We are running past the point in space where we have already been and we have gone past this point without achieving any results. The language included in the December draft, rev one, if we could have agreed to those modalities, we would have already done so – to those contained in rev one. Right now, what we need to do is to understand as part of our work during this session, in this context, we are willing to support the Chair with respect to the first three items which you stated. And we are also ready to continue work on developing mutually acceptable modalities informally. Thank you.
Thank you for the statement. Are there any other requests for the floor? Russian Federation you’re asking for the floor again? Okay.
Thank you, Chair. I just didn’t finish my statement just now. There was a rather interesting proposal that was made here to consider another option. It had been agreed upon by our colleagues at the working group on ammunition. We would be willing to consider the possibility of moving forward on the issue on this basis. Thank you.
Thank you, Russian Federation. I see no other request for the floor. It’s a much shorter conversation than I had expected, but it seems to me that first there is a willingness to talk about modalities. The question remains as to where do we restart the conversation? Because in January the last conversation was actually around a different proposal, which was the Indian proposal. That was the very last conversation we had with regard to modalities and we were not able to arrive at a consensus over a proposal put forward by India. So, I think we will certainly benefit from the informal discussions tomorrow. But it’s just as well that we are having this discussion today, in a formal context, because that allows us and each one of you to come prepared for the discussion tomorrow. Because if we are to restart the conversation we need to restart from a common point. And perhaps that is going to be debated, but if you look at the background there is rev one, there is rev two, there is the Indian proposal and then there is the latest development in the UN system with regard to the Open-ended Working Group on ammunition, which could, or may not, provide a reference point. That to me is not for me to decide, but for member states to draw the reference if they wish to. I drew your attention to the fact that there was such an agreement because they achieved the impossible. They achieved a consensus agreement, which we have not been able to do for the last nine months. So I thought that it might be interesting as a reference point. So could I request delegations to come prepared for the informal discussions tomorrow at 1 pm, for the discussion on modalities for stakeholder participation, and I hope you can come prepared to engage in a textual discussion, because that would be, from my point of view, an indication of commitment to getting to consensus, to be talking about textual proposals and amendments and solutions. It is quite clear that we are not going to have at this point in the afternoon an agreement on this specific issue. And I wanted to ask are there any other delegations which want to intervene before we perhaps go back to the earlier discussion on format. European Union and United States. European Union, please.
Thank you, Chair, just maybe to clarify, so that we have all the proposals straight, we have to look into the ammunition one, because I am personally not familiar with it myself. But just to have clarified on the proposal made by India, just to know that because there was a bit of discussion, whether we would, because a proposal basically contains the old modality, so kicking the can down the road, but would we use that modality then just for the next meeting? Or would that modality mean for a year? Because then we would also have to have an understanding of what the process would be to resolve the final modalities and whether we would then use your rev proposal as a basis for the final discussions. Just to clarify, because the Indian proposal basically entails that we have to come back to this discussion in comparison to the other proposals and just to know the timeline of it.
Thank you, European Union for that question. I’m sure my colleague from India would be in a better position to explain exactly what his delegation proposed, but my understanding of the Indian proposal is that we provisionally apply the previous modalities. And that proposal was made prior to the March session. And therefore, the question was left open as to whether that provisional application will be only for the March session or also for the March and July session. There were, I thought, different points of view on that. But in any case, it was only to be applied provisionally for a fixed period of time and since the March session is already taking place now, if we are looking at that proposal it would only mean you apply it provisionally for the July session. And the rationale of the Indian proposal was that provisional application becomes an exercise in building trust and confidence because the application of that modalities would then be a test as to whether any objection is raised to the participation of stakeholders. And there was also another dimension to the Indian proposal, which was that delegations would keep open the option of revisiting the issue in the First Committee if needed be, based on the experience that might have been gained from provisional application in March or in July. So that left open the possibility of revisiting the question in the First Committee on the question of modalities. Now, all this I’m saying based on my understanding, so I stand to be corrected by the Indian delegation if I had in any way misrepresented the proposal, but I hope this is offers some background to the European Union. Thank you. I give now the floor to the United States, please.
Chair, I now confess to being thoroughly confused. I spoke up 10 minutes ago and I made a proposal about your December 15 proposal. And now we’re talking about the Indian proposals, two January proposals, and you asked us to come tomorrow to be prepared for a textual discussion. What textual discussion? Do we get a chance to discuss your proposal, rev one from December 2015, and vote it up or down? Are we going to discuss its provisions? Are we going to make our way through, is some people proposing to put on the table every single proposal that’s ever been made for this? Because to me, that’s a recipe for once again, going nowhere. So, I’m just kind of curious what kind of textual discussion do you imagine having? Based on what text? And how will the thumbs up, thumbs down, proceed?
Thanks for the question, United States. I think when we started this discussion maybe 20 minutes ago, United States you had proposed we look at rev one. I had reminded delegations that there was a rev two sequentially after rev one, and then there was an Indian proposal, and then there were subsequent developments in another Open-ended Working Group. From my point of view, I’m happy to start wherever members are prepared to start. So that’s the first point. If delegations would like to start with rev one, I’m happy. If delegations would like to start with rev two, I’m fine. If delegations would like to start with the Indian proposal, I’m happy too. That’s the first point I want to make. Second, by textual proposals, I mean, if there is a proposal on the table, and you think that it needs additional improvements, please put them forward. What I’d like to avoid is a general discussion on modalities because we have had that for nine months, distinguished delegates, we’ve had a general discussion on modalities for nine months. So now, we have three proposals on the table. And it is not for me as Chair to choose, where do we start? Some delegations have expressed a preference to start with one, others might say perhaps they want to start elsewhere. But what I am hoping for tomorrow is not to have a repeat of the discussions we’ve had for the last nine months. If we can do that, that will be a step forward. And by textual proposals, I would mean they are additions, amendments, deletions, to anything that’s on the table or if a delegation wishes to come forward with a completely new proposal, that too is their right. So I’m not sure if I’ve added to the confusion United States, but from my vantage point, this is how it looks to me. And I think is just as well, we are having this discussion today because if not, we would have had this discussion tomorrow afternoon. So we are already in that sense, one step ahead, to prepare for the modalities discussions tomorrow. I hope that helps. I give the floor now to Cuba, to be followed by China.
Thank you, Chair. Taking into consideration the debate that we are currently holding and accepting the fact that we’re basically going in around in circles on a matter that has not reached consensus. There’s lots of differences of opinion amongst the different delegations, we believe that the most recommendable thing would be to maybe continue with the proposal of three different points, where we put to a side our discussion on the working program, continue our discussion on the [unclear] that was established within the group in a formal manner as was provided for, and continue our operations aligned with modalities that we have, that we are supposed to be fixing tomorrow in the afternoon at 1 pm. Thank you.
Thank you, Cuba for the statement. China, please.
Thank you, Chair. Thank you for giving me another chance to speak. I would like to elaborate on China’s position briefly now. China hopes that all parties can move forward with the process with a compromising and constructive manner and based on some basic common principles. There are two such principles. First, the process should not be politicized. No issue should affect the continuation of substantive discussion at the meeting. It is crucial to maintain the process and to fulfill the General Assembly resolution. Second, is that there are differences among parties, which is reality but we still need to explore possibilities and find solutions based on past practice. And as the Chair mentioned, exploring the possibility of modalities, including that of the working group on ammunition, while continuing substantive discussions is a viable way forward. Thank you, Chair.
Thank you, China for the statement. Sierra Leone, you have the floor, please.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I think we have had a long day here. And we’ve had various views, divergent views. And we can all agree that we are committed to moving forward. And I can see that even the countries that are 180 degrees apart, are working towards each other right now. Sierra Leone will want to suggest, Mr. Chair, that we begin on the basis of the proposal that was closest to consensus. Be it rev one, if that was the one that was closest, or the Indian proposal. I think that is where we have our differences right now. Where do we start tomorrow? If I got your concern very correct. Where do we start? I think we can start with the proposal that was closest to consensus. And I will also suggest that the countries that are far apart or have differences with the proposal that was closest, I will suggest that those countries meet informally and have the conversations, whatever that will be, before we get back here tomorrow. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much, Sierra Leone, for your statement. I give now the floor to Austria.
Thank you very much, Mr Chair. Can you hear me? Think it should be good. First, I’d like to align with what the European Union said and of course, thank you for your efforts in guiding this group through what now is a little bit of a maze of different proposals on the table. I think, in line with what my colleague from Canada has said that the rev one that you proposed or the rev two in January, those were I think in my view the ones that got us closest to an agreement and should form the basis for further negotiations should you be wishing to go down that road tomorrow. So I think that will be a good starting point. But since you mentioned the Open-ended Working Group on ammunition and other delegations have mentioned this as well, I just like to point out that when we negotiated the Open-ended Working Group on ammunition, I think, on all delegations mind when we negotiated these was the concern not to set the precedent for any other medium that we are consulting in. And so I have to say I find it a little bit disingenuous when some of those delegations that shared these concerns in February now think they might be a viable solution here. I don’t think you can compare stakeholder engagement and the role that stakeholders play in the field of small weapons on the one side and in cyberspace on the other side, where as we’ve heard numerous times and times again by states, but also by the stakeholders, where these stakeholders own and operate such a big part of the topics that we are talking about today. So I don’t think that ammunition is a suitable precedent to base on here, especially given the fact that there was agreement that these modalities shouldn’t be a precedent for other group fora. Thank you.
Thank you, Austria for the statement. Nicaragua.
Thank you very much, Chair. I was paying close attention to the statements delivered by other delegations participating in today’s session and in constructive terms we are all seeking to find a resolution to this matter that we’re addressing. However, it’s unfortunate that we’re not following the mandate of the resolution and that currently we’re discussing modalities when the working group does not have that within its purview according to the mandate, which doesn’t bode well to be honest. We’ve been hearing proposals to see if maybe we can arrive at some sort of a position that would allow us to reach a solution. There have been suggestions that we have an official discussion on modalities but not necessarily on substance or content. We accept that proposal. We support the motion that you’ve put forward to have a consultative session tomorrow and I think that it shows flexibility by the different member states who have come to talk about more substantial matters, especially because we have spent an entire day practically just talking about modalities. The fact that we could maybe discuss in an official format the concept of modalities is a show of flexibility by many delegations who haven’t even taken the floor but continue to follow our discussion closely. Now, the proposal that you have put forward, concerning rev one, the documents, the OEWG on ammunition, all these alternatives that are before us, in addition to orienting us towards having a whole session on modalities, this is going to affect how we do things tomorrow. We’re going to try to be flexible in all aspects possible. We also feel that you have undertaken great efforts to try to explore every possible alternative and to continue our work. We, in my delegation, reject having a document imposed on us that will obligate us to put all the alternatives forward and listen to a possible proposal that we are sure you might be able to deliver to us having heard all of the concerns thus far, all of the statements delivered that have been given by delegations today. But my delegation opposes removing from our negotiation table any document and then have another document imposed on us as a basis for negotiation. Yes, there is a bit of consensus with some of the resolutions that have been put forward but we need to hear the opinions of all countries that have expressed their concerns and, at the same time, all the different perspectives and positions. Based on that, we’ll be able to take on a proposal that might be a solution. But let’s please not leave any nation behind just for the sake of reaching consensus. We are talking about holding dialogue in a format to talk about modalities, we must have flexibility on all parts. Thank you.
Thank you, Nicaragua. If I may, just to assure you that it’s not my intention to leave any delegation behind. And certainly it’s not my intention to impose any draft on any of you because if that was my intention I would have circulated a draft much earlier than the session at which we are meeting now. And it is precisely because we need to get everyone to discuss that we have convened a meeting tomorrow. So rest assured, Nicaragua, that that is not the Chairs’ intention. And I would also point out that operative paragraph four of our mandating resolution 75/240, states quite clearly that the working group may decide to interact as appropriate with other interested parties, including businesses, non-governmental organizations and academia. So when we are discussing modalities, we are not discussing something that is outside the mandate of this working group, it is actually a part of the mandate, so it is an important issue for many delegations. And that is why we are discussing it at this point in time. But as I said, it is my hope that we will be able to get to agenda item five, as soon as possible. And I have one last speaker. And then after that we’ll see how we can proceed. Jamaica, you have the floor, please.
Thank you, Mr Chair. First of all, I must offer commendations to yourself and your team, on the many efforts that you have been making to get us past this particular point as a working group. As you have indicated, you have been working for several months to try to address this. And as some delegations have said we sometimes appear to be going from start to finish and then back to start again. As a very small delegation I must express my deep disappointment and frustration at the trajectory that we seem to have been going on, because a tiny team like mine does not have the human resources to come, to sit, and go through a circular argument for months when we have substantive matters to discuss and to make progress on, not only in this room, but in other processes where my presence and presence of my othes colleagues would be needed. And so, while some other delegations here are large enough and have many people to scatter around the entire UN premises while we go on a circular game argument, Jamaica does not. We do not. So I’d like to appeal to delegations, please make the best effort at your flexibility to try and come to a position on stakeholder participation. This has been an issue that has gone on at the UN, here, there, everywhere in many processes for many sessions gone. And based on what I’ve been hearing today I do not necessarily see a good faith effort on behalf of all delegations. And so I must disagree with my colleague, distinguished colleague from Sierra Leone, that all delegations are making an effort to come to the middle. That is clearly not the case. It is clear that some delegations have no intention of moving. Mr Chair, you have circulated versions and options of the text and as indicated Jamaica, as a part of CARICOM, had indicated to you that we were able to support your text in previous times. However, we have not at any point in any of the formal discussions heard the basis of the objection to any of the texts that you have put out. We have heard general views from member states about stakeholder participation, but we have not heard on a specific proposal that you have made what is the difficulty, what a delegation would like to change, what line is objectionable, what line needs to be improved. And I think that that would be something very important for all of us to hear so that we can all be a part of trying to find a solution. I do take note that you have indicated that we could come tomorrow prepared to engage in a textual discussion. And I would really look forward to that because as I’m indicating earlier, and I would reiterate, small delegations do not have the time or resources to go in a circular argument. And the approach that we appear to be taking is to kick this can down the road, down the road, down the road, next session, next session. And that is not acceptable to us. We cannot have our cake and eat it. We are either going to have this discussion and resolve the problem and we go ahead with our meeting or, Mr Chair, the unfortunate outcome may be that you may have to report to the President of the General Assembly, from where we have got this mandate, the GA, that the working group is unable to come to an agreement on how it is going to proceed and unfortunately, we have not been able to fulfill our mandate and to request the General Assembly to review the process that it has assigned us as a mandate and take a decision on how we need to take a decision there. And then we can resume our work in the Open-Working Group at that point with a new modality determined by the GA as our parent body. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Jamaica, for your statement and also for the reminder about the challenges faced by small delegations. My own delegation is a very small one and I can fully empathize with that point. Distinguished delegates, I don’t have any other speakers and I’d really like to, at this point, suggest to delegations that we come back to this issue on Tuesday, tomorrow at 1 pm, during the informal discussions immediately after our formal meeting. I know that this issue will necessarily involve going back to some previous proposals made and previous arguments made. In some ways that’s inevitable, because we have to restart the conversation, but as I said earlier I do not want to be, myself, in a situation where we are revisiting arguments that I’ve heard over the last nine months as I’ve been convening the various informal consultations. So that is my appeal to delegations. At this point we have about 45 minutes left and I’d like to ask at this point, if delegations can show some flexibility and allow us to begin work on agenda item five, on the topic of emerging and potential threats under the agenda. At least we begin an initial discussion on the understanding, as I said, that we will continue our discussions on modalities tomorrow and the program of work is not adapted but we begin a discussion on agenda item five, which is emerging and potential threats. Is there any objection if we take up agenda item five? India, I see that you have asked for the floor. Do you wish to address this point or another point?
Mr Chair, actually, I wasn’t planning to speak earlier. But I was emboldened after I heard Jamaica speak. So it’s not about Agenda Item five, but still about the stakeholder participation. May I go ahead?
Yes, please. Yeah.
So going from the frustration expressed by the delegate from Jamaica, as also many others in the room. I just thought that I would like to express our flexibility on where we start the discussions tomorrow. EU had asked a question and Chair you had very well captured the Indian proposal and I just wanted to say a little bit more. The Indian proposal was intended as a compromise, as the Chairs’ proposal – that is rev one and rev two – could not garner consensus. It was an attempt to achieve a practical way forward. It would have given everyone a chance to act flexibly and constructively. We stand ready to discuss our proposal in further detail if there is a desire to do so among a majority of the member states. And if there are no explicit objections to do so. So as you had correctly captured it was to use provisionally the 2019 modalities of the OEWG and thereafter if we could agree on modalities to go forward would be fine. Otherwise, we could give it to the UNGA to resolve this. So I just wanted to bring that back on the table. Thank you, Mr Chair.
Thank you very much, India. Thank you for that clarification with regard to your proposal and also your expression of flexibility and I look forward to the discussions tomorrow. With regard to my proposal, just earlier, before India spoke, I had suggested that we move to agenda item five if there are no objections and I really seek the flexibility and understanding of all delegations. But I had misquoted the agenda item that comes first which is yes, existing and potential threats. Just wanted to use the right phraseology for that. UK, you have the floor please.
Chair, thank you. And before I start, thank you to our Indian colleague who continues to show a lot of flexibility on this issue and we very much welcome that. I also welcome the comments from our colleague from Jamaica, who spoke very impactfully and we wholeheartedly support that. Chair, I would love to move to agenda item five, but I really at present am unable to support that. As I have said, my fear is that unless we go to informal now and use that to ensure that we deliver from these discussions, which are now as you have said several times at nine months long, then we will find ourselves back here in July. And worse than back in here in July, will be that we find ourselves potentially as several have raised with a GA resolution on this topic. This is not where we want to go. Everybody in this room signed up to the resolution which agreed that this working group would operate by consensus. That, I know, is of significant importance to everybody. We do not want to go there and it is for these reasons that we must respectfully ask, Chair, we can continue our substantive discussions, we can move to talking about existing and potential threats but we must do it informally. Otherwise, we will never come out on the other side of this modalities discussion. Please, let’s do that. Use that impetus to have in parallel our stakeholder conversations, solve that today, tomorrow, the day after, and come straight back into formal discussions before the end of the week. We can progress through the content that we all want to talk about, we can make that happen. And we can be done and dusted by the end of the week, Chair. Thank you.
Thank you for the statement. Russian Federation.
Thank you Chair. With all my heart, I truly empathize with you because the situation in which you find yourself right now is very difficult, and it’s not your fault. Once again, we have listened to the statements of our distinguished colleague from the UK. And in essence, she is saying the following “Dear friends, we have created a situation which is impeding your work. We did this intentionally. We feel very bad about it. But we will continue to not allow you to work further until you agree to our requirements.” This is in essence, what the distinguished representative from the UK said. Distinguished Chair, I would like to fully support you in your desire to move forward to discussing the following items on our agenda. As for the issue of modalities and NGOs, we suggest discussing it tomorrow at the informal session, and in the morning, resume work on the agenda. We would be happy to constructively contribute to developing the modalities on working with NGOs informally, only on the condition that tomorrow morning, we begin work on the agenda constructively. Thank you.
Thank you for the statement, the last speaker, United Kingdom. You’ve asked for the floor again.
Thank you Chair for allowing me to take the floor again. It is only to respectfully request from my Russian colleague that I be allowed to express myself. I have my own voice. And I believe people heard what I said. I remain willing to have these conversations and I look forward to doing so. Thank you, Chair.
Thank you very much for the statement. Distinguished delegates, you have heard exactly what I’ve heard. When we began this morning we heard a rich debate expressing very different points of view. I continued over the period of the lunch hour various informal consultations, which led me to believe that we do not yet have consensus to move forward in terms of a format or a particular format for our work. This afternoon, we started the discussion, we heard additional views from delegations which had not yet spoken this morning. We heard some additional proposals in terms of how we could move forward. I had also put forward a three-point proposal in terms of how we could move forward. We then moved into a discussion on modalities because there was a suggestion that we specifically discuss a proposal that I had put forward and I willingly embraced that. And my sense is that we have gone as far as we can with regard to the modalities discussion, but the good thing is that there are indications that delegations are prepared to have that discussion again tomorrow. And I’ve tried to get us to discussing agenda item five. And my sense is that we do not have consensus to do so. At this stage, I think I need to undertake further informal consultations. It’s a pity that we do not have consensus to move forward. I apologize to all of you that we are in this situation. I wish it had been better. I wish we had been having some productive discussions but we are unfortunately not in a position to do so. It is my hope that tomorrow will be a better day and a brighter day but that depends on all of you. The meeting is adjourned. We’ll see you tomorrow.