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April 11.1994


Language.  The French will not like this and the Latin Americans might think otherwise , but English is definitely the predominant language at PrepCom3.  Every country in the world is represented, and the colorful attire of the women from saris to beautiful African dresses, are a delight to see in the  otherwise dull corridors of the UN,  but you don’t  often hear different languages at meetings.  In fact  NGO and delegation documents in English get snapped up fast while French and Spanish  translations can be readily found at the end of the day.

Viennese Café. The Viennese Café is an especially good venue for a reporter to hear the unedited version of who said what to whom and the theme of the day.  Unlike the delegates dining room it is casual enough for both NGOs and delegates to get a quick cup of coffee away from the rigors of draft documents and speeches.  Today’s topic was about a growing confrontation between some NGOs and their delegations.  The Indian NGOs were particularly upset and said that India has taken a position of the PrepCom to limit NGO participation, along with countries like China, Colombia and Iran.  Mirai Chatterjee from Seva said, “We’re trying to have a dialogue with the delegation but they only see their point of view.  It’s not the official Indian position, we are mystified as to why they are trying to cut us out.”

People’s Agenda.  Suggestions for an alternative name for the Program of Action was discussed by another group.  A catchy title like “Agenda 21,” is needed to identify the final document to make it a household word.  One of the ideas tossed around was “People 21” but perhaps readers of The Earth Times could come up with more suggestions.

Evenings.  After a long day of discussions, cocktails or dinner is very much a part of any PrepCom, but more so with the Population PrepCom3.  With delegations, NGOs, UN Agencies and Missions hosting various events, the delegates dining room is doing brisk business.  Although the four-course menu is not as good as the buffet at lunch, guests generally have a good time and are able to meet and exchange views on the day’s events.  One NGO was heard saying, “I have finally got someone who matters to listen to me.”