Even seasoned veterans of international negotiations were seen to nod their heads in admiration this week as a delegate succeeded in delivering a full 5 minute statement in plenary without employing a single word of substance. The historic event occurred in the opening plenary of the very first session of the new negotiation track on the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Same Negotiations Under a New Name. This track, launched at the end of the last year, is a decisive step to restart the numbering of negotiation sessions at 1, thereby facilitating the organisation of meetings and providing negotiators with opportunities to hone their opening plenary waffle skills. Policy wonks recognised this renumbering as effective transfer of a technique previously seen as a monetary policy tool to revalue currencies where inflation has led to unfeasibly large numbers of zeros on bank notes. The applauded delegate, speaking on behalf of the We’d Rather Not Be Here Group of countries, achieved his feat through deft deployment of permutations of words and phrases such as equity, sustainable development, mindful of national circumstances and collective ambition, without actually committing any concrete action or substance. Commenting on their colleague’s feat, another delegate said, “This was really quite a performance. These interventions are supposed to be limited to 3 minutes so he could have stopped there. Instead he just kept pushing on and on, continually shuffling the permutations of words used into vacuous-yet-credible sentences, streaking past the 4 minute mark and even pushing on to 5 full minutes. This will be a record hard to beat.” The delegate himself was not available for comment, as three whole days later the session was still in plenary without appointment of a chair nor adoption of an agenda, and with the empty pleasantries long-since forgotten amidst angry procedural wrangling and trading of blows.
Posted by: carbonara | May 20, 2012
Negotiators in awe as delegate delivers 5 minute speech completely devoid of substance