1) What right has Turkey/any party under the Convention (article 15) to propose an amendment; 2) how does this Convention right and the process under article 15 interact with the applied draft rules of procedure requiring adoption of a provisional agenda by consensus; 3) what practical options exist to satisfy the Turkish request procedurally (e.g. in relation to existing agenda item 5, any new agenda item, etc.) ?
The question arises in the context of Turkey having proposed an item to be added to the COP agenda. They have followed the required procedure for the item to be included in the provisional agenda. The substance of the proposal is an amendment to the Convention annexes.
- Under the Convention (Article 16.1 in conjunction with Article 15.1) any party can propose an amendment to the annexes of the Convention in accordance with the procedures under Article 16.4, in conjunction with Article 16.2 and Article 15.2 and 3. In substance, a proposal for an amendment to the Convention or its annexes has to be submitted to the secretariat at least six months before the meeting at which it is proposed for adoption. The ‘Note Verbale’ from Turkey was submitted to the Secretariat on 31 May 2018.
- There is not much interaction between the Convention and the Rules of Procedure, apart from rule 10 (items arising from articles of the Convention to be included into the provisional agenda). The Convention trumps the Rules of Procedure, and amendments to the Convention rules are addressed by the Convention.
- In terms of practical options, the COP could decide that the agenda item be held in abeyance, or be subject to further consultations, or be submitted to the SBI. Parties could reach agreement (thereby overriding any procedural infringement such as the fact that the Note Verbale was not communicated to the Parties until 12 June 2018, ie less than 6 months before the COP meeting) by consensus and – in theory – they could also force a vote ( if no agreement is reached pursuant to Article 15.3).