The African Group has just released its third statement calling for the OEWG12 to be postponed rather than held electronically. They chose to make this statement public so BAN is attaching it herein for all of the Basel delegates to see. We understand that the GRULAC is likewise expressing concern and demanding full translation in the 6 UN languages (Rule 52) of the Rules of Procedure. So far, the Secretariat has not guaranteed the required simultaneous translation of the online meeting.
BAN finds it very hard to understand how African and other regional Parties continue to have their views ignored in this important matter. The Parties are the masters of the Convention, not the Secretariat nor the Bureau of the OEWG. Decisions of the Convention regarding important matters such as deviation from the Rules of Procedure are to be made by a consensus of Parties (Rule 56).
Rule number 29 asserts that "the meetings of committees and working groups established [...] shall be held in public, unless the Committee or Working Group decides otherwise." This did not happen. Clearly, the OEWG did not "decide otherwise" or there would not be such strong dissent from so many members of the OEWG.
For any UN meeting to have legal validity, every credentialed Party must be guaranteed the right to participate in the democratic process, which includes debate and voting. This guarantee does not exist when any one Party loses their electronic connectivity to the meeting itself or to the simultaneous translation into the 6 UN languages. We know that such loss of connectivity is not a possibility, but a certainty in an electronic meeting of this size reliant as it will be on the internet, electronic connectivity, and hardware functionality of all of the Parties in all of their respective countries.
BAN's primary concern is the further erosion of developing countries' ability to equally participate in the democratic decision making of the Basel Convention. It is disturbing to see that few developed countries have risen up in support of developing countries in regards to this situation to argue on their behalf for a postponement of the OEWG until such time as it can be held face to face and in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.
Will the Secretariat continue to ignore the views of developing country Parties?