Liveblog from #WCY2014: Declaring Colombo – a work in progress

I’m sitting in one of the biggest sessions of today’s event: a joint discussion on the draft of the Declaration. Between the hundreds of delegates and the various discussions, organizations and agendas involved, they’ve hammered out a set of drafts which will eventually become the Colombo Declaration.

This draft, right now, is in its 3rd revision – a 16-page document riddled with suggested amendments from countries all over the globe. It comes in three parts – a preamble recognizing the problems the world is facing: a Recommendations for Action segment and a Commitment to going forward.  The Recommendations for Action are a series of operative recommendations.

It’s an ordered but not very rosy session – this is to be an official document, so as such there’s a panel of officials rigorously going through all the points trimming the fat. One on one plane, it’s a haggling of ideas, words, even grammar as delegates attempt to fine-tune the text to their agendas.  There’s a very valid push to get the document sorted despite last-minute protests and an undercurrent of last-minute politics. This is one of the crucial points of  for any delegation pulling out in protest right now would effectively stall the document and set up a huge amount of red tape to getting the Colombo Declaration accepted.

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As I type, the session moves through Operative statements on vocational education. One really good thing I’m seeing is that the Chief Negotiator, Dr Palitha Kohona, the current Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, is being both stern and fair to all parties involved: he’s just shot down last-second wording suggestions from three countries and, citing the need to finish the document, has reprimanded the official Sri Lankan delegation for an attempted last-minute change of “vocational training” to “vocational skills development.”

Let the haggling recommence. The current draft of the document is online at http://wcy2014.com/pdf/zeor-draft-933pm-8th-may.pdf. I’ll keep this blog updated as and when things pop up.

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