The Director-General told the meeting that as he will be attending a series of ministerial meetings over the next two weeks away from Geneva he was proposing a process to advance consultations over this period. He announced that he was appointing Ambassador Gabriel Duque of Colombia, Ambassador Harald Neple of Norway and Ambassador Stephen Karau of Kenya (the host country of the 10th Ministerial Conference) as facilitators to consult with members.
These ambassadors will be asking members for their views on three key issues: the structure of the potential Nairobi outcome document; the elements that the document might cover (which could include priorities for post-Nairobi work); and what subsequent process could be employed to develop a draft of the outcome document.
Members agreed to engage in the process outlined by Director-General Azevedo.
The Director-General said:
“At the General Council last week we discussed the urgent need to address the issue of a potential outcome document in Nairobi — specifically what such a document should cover, and how we should arrive at a text. I think we all agree about the need to start this work, and that we should aim towards agreeing a Ministerial Declaration, but I think it is premature to start any kind of drafting exercise. The first step therefore must be to hear everybody's views. We need to have a process of consultations. It is important that all members have an opportunity to air their views.
“I will remain in very close contact with the facilitators during this time, and then I will report back to a meeting of all members to be held at the earliest opportunity. I don’t want to prejudge where this exercise will lead. I will share the views that the facilitators have heard — on content and process — and we will decide at that point about what the next stage should look like.”
Negotiations on the potential deliverables for Nairobi will continue in parallel with these consultations, mainly through the formal negotiating groups and other relevant committees.
The Director-General will be attending the Arab Trade Ministers meeting in Riyadh this week before making a visit to China for bilateral meetings with senior government representatives. Next week he will attend ministerial meetings of the African Union and the African, Caribbean, Pacific Group of States in Brussels.