Friday April 17th.DRC conference.
Here’s a short version of what my day was like on Friday during the Durban pre-com. We left early morning to join the rest of the delegation for the preparatory conference committee meeting. Unfortunaly the general meeting at 11h00 was adjourned and the pre-com would be back at 15h00 to finish at 18h00.
We had already prepared the draft joint statement that CLC , the African Canadian legal Clinic and the Canadian Arab Federation on Thursday evening.
We heard at 1:30 pm through our networks that there would be a non-governmental organisations (NGO) meeting at 14h00 till 15h00 in the section XVI of the UN building.
A few of us did go and seek out more information about this meeting. We quickly realised during that brief session that the NGO session is also chaired by the same chair for the Durban review. We also realized that many NGO’s have very good inquiries and were well prepared for this conference.
We discovered that the NGO committee for the Durban review is not fully funded but funded only by a minimal amount of budget from the High Commissionaire.
It was also becoming clear that NGO’s were not getting the support needed to properly and fully participate at Conference. There was disagreement among Member State delegates about what kind of support NGO’s should be given due to concerns about some specific issues raised by the NGO’s.
We learned as well that the NGO delegations must register every morning to be able to get badges to speak on the UN floor during the#9 point of the agenda. It will be on a first-come first-serve basis and we heard that there will be about of 400 NGO delegates – much less than at Durban I.
We then went back to the pre-com 3rd and final session. We did manage to draft a joint Press Release during the last period the Pre-Conference Committee was not in session.
Terri who had volunteered to read the statement had the opporunity to read it in the afternoon. She did an excellent presentation and our statement was a success to a point that many state delegates and NGO members where asking for a draft of the statement .... Because Member State delegates and NGO participants were requesting a copy and we didn’t know if we would be able to access them during the conference,we finalized the statement and distributed at the end of the meeting.
We also planned to do more copies and present them in the beginning of the Durban Conference next week. The outcome document did finally pass at end of the Preparatory
Conference Committee session without any State delegates having a copy to review it. The reason why, is because the President of the committee was still finalizing the outcome and was not available to be at the pre-com final session.
Our day at the UN was almost finished, we finalized the Press release in light of our statement and we were pleased of its achievements for the day. We realised that much more still needs to be done and to be shared with our members to continue to talk against any discrimination or racism around the world.
We didn’t have much time but we rushed for supper so that we can go to the opening of the Civil Society Forum. And there we had many interesting speakers speaking out against any types or forms of discrimination and racism.
Our day finished off at 22h30.
For the Canadian labour Congress delegation of the Durban Conference Review in Geneva.
National Equal Opportunity Representative for Racially Visible Members
for the Public Service Alliance of Canada.