Since the meeting of the decision-making body is the last stage of the negotiations, during these meetings the delegates are required to actively contribute in all negotiating fora. The negotiations during meetingsof the decision-making bodies are intended to find agreement on the way forward on the issues that arise between Member States. Likewise, the meeting of the decision-making body offers an opportunity to express, support, oppose or propose changes to the draft resolutions and decisions. During the meeting of the decision-making body the Member States exchange views and try to develop a text of the draft resolution/ decision which is agreeable to all participants.
Making Interventions and Statements During Meetings
During a meeting the delegates are invited to deliver statements and make interventions. In the context of this Manual statements are meant as “reports” that outline the overarching priorities of the key issues and that provide a general indication of the topics within which substantive debate will be carried out. Interventions on the other hand are reactions to a discussion taking place during the meeting and which present the delegation’s position clearly along with a compelling rationale. It is important in a meeting to make interventions only as often as necessary to secure a resolution or a decision of an issue in line with the delegation’s mandate.
To address a meeting, a delegate must have the permission of the Chair of the meeting. A delegate raises his or her country’s name card (sometimes called “the flag”) to obtain permission from the Chair to speak. The Rules of Procedure sometimes stipulate that the Chair shall give precedence to delegates from Parties that wish to speak, then Non-Parties and finally other observers (e.g. representatives of NGOs). Based on a proposal from a Member State or the Chair the decision-making body may decide to limit the time allowed for each speaker as well as the number of interventions that a representative may make.
It is critical that delegates listen carefully to the interventions of others and, to the greatest extent possible, support interventions that are generally consistent with their own position in order to generate backing for their delegation’s proposals. In any intervention, it is strategic to indicate support for particular countries that have a common position and, in doing so, to name countries from different regions where possible.
Delegates should always be prepared and that means knowing their brief thoroughly, including all of the fallback positions, and being ready to respond to questions from other delegations, both formal and informal. They should consult other members of the delegation(s) most concerned with the topic and obtain their views on the intervention. Moreover, major changes to the text need clearance with government at home. For responsive interventions in the heat of debate, it is important to note down the key points to be made before intervening. Delegates should always carry their negotiating instructions and briefing notes with them. They should learn about a particular forum before they arrive (e.g. its objectives, history, and structures, key players), and have access to the Rules of Procedure in case they are needed. If feasible, a delegate should have another member of the delegation on hand with whom to consult, and who can carry notes and drafting proposals to other delegations.
When presenting any statement or making an intervention, joint or otherwise, delegates should not claim to be speaking on behalf of all the Member States at the meeting unless it is absolutely certain that every Member State at the meeting supports the statement.