High level segments and COP/CMP reports

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Date produced: 16/12/2009

Can the High Level Segments of the COP and the CMP commence without the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP, respectively, having held their closing plenaries and presented their Reports to the COP and CMP?  What happens if the AWGs cannot present their Reports to the COP and the CMP? Does this derail the rest of the conference? Alternatively, can the High Level Segments continue either in parallel to the AWGs or without their Reports?

The Draft Rules of Procedure (which, apart from rule 42 on voting, have been applied by the COP, though never formally adopted) apply to the COP, CMP and its subsidiary bodies.

Rule 23(1) of the draft Rules of Procedure (RoP) state that “The President shall rule on points of order and subject to these rules, shall have complete control of the proceedings and over the maintenance of order thereat.”

There is nothing in the Convention or RoP that refers to the High Level Segment.

Therefore notwithstanding that the reports of the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP appear on the agenda before the High Level Segment, it is up to the President of the COP (or CMP, to which the RoP also apply) to manage proceedings as he/she sees fit.

If the AWGs are not in a position to report to the COP at the relevant time, it is up to the President of the COP (who has a broad discretion) to decide whether the high level segment can be started before the AWGs report to the COP and whether they could run in parallel. Any party that is unhappy with the Presidents decision can call a point of order which shall be decided by the President immediately (Rule 34). This decision can be challenged and the appeal is put to vote. The President’s ruling will not stand if overruled by the majorty (50% plus 1) of Parties present and voting.

In any case, even if the high level segment starts before the AWGs report back to the COP, it is likely that no real progress will be made until the reports are received as the findings / recommendations in the reports will feed into the high level segment eventually. If countries are unhappy that the high level segment takes place before the report, it is up to the individual countries to walk out of the segment if they wish.

On a practical level, it should be noted that if all the parties agree on a course of action, regardless of the whether they comply strictly with the RoP, it will be difficult to challenge their decision as changes to the RoP can be made by consensus (Rule 58(1)) and an agreement by the parties to take a particular course of action, if inconsistent with the RoP, could be construed as amending the RoP.