On shaky ground

  • 30/07/1997

The Indian delegation had gone unprepared to UNGASS and found themselves at sea over India's position on the forest convention. As negotiations entered into the final phase, The Netherlands co-chair on the forest session had put forward a partisan proposal which effectively included the forest convention into the text. The proposal said "identify... international arrangements and mechanisms, including, legally binding instrument' on forests. The Indian delegation found itself taken off guard with the cleverly manipulated text. The representative of the Centre for Science and Environment was then invited for deliberations on the issue. The delegation then worked in close consultation with the Centre's representative in further ongoing negotiations. India, later successfully thwarted the danger of convention.

While these consultations by the ministry showed an openness on their part to listen to NGOs, ironically, the same ministry shows least concern to NGO opinion on domestic issues or international issues back at home. The ministry could well do these consultations with NGOs in advance to pre-empt last minute problems.

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