IGC3 is the first time in this process that delegates have engaged in text-based negotiations, and negotiators are going through the draft text, article by article, seeking agreement and compromise. Although the actual process of doing so can be slow, this is a time of great activity in the margins with numerous bilaterals being held, conference room papers providing text updates being rushed out, and side discussions going on around the Informal Informals and Working Group meetings where the text negotiation is taking place.
Speaking at the HSA reception at the end of Day Two, the UN Secretary-General of the Conference, Miguel de Serpa Soares said that once the discussion becomes boring, you know that the hard work is getting done.
The general spirit in the room is about getting this job done and making progress on the text, and there is a feeling that there is no time to waste. Perhaps as a reflection of this, there is an expectation that we may move into additional evening negotiations as the only way to get through the lengthy discussions taking place around each provision. Although it would be fair to say that evening negotiations without benefit of interpretation are gruelling, they will help to keep the process on track.