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06USUNNEWYORK680 2006-04-03 23:18:00 CONFIDENTIAL USUN New York
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1.(C) SUMMARY: ECOSOC members met March 31 to discuss
allocation of the seven ECOSOC seats on the Organizational
Committee (OC) of the new UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC).
ECOSOC is close to finalizing a draft resolution that would
allocate extra seats to Africa and Asia, without safeguards
to keep this from becoming the norm. The resolution does,
however, allocate one seat to WEOG, as well as to all other
regional groups. USUN will try to push for an amendment that
would clarify future seat distributions, per paragraph 4

2.(SBU) ECOSOC members met March 31 to discuss how to
allocate the seven seats ECOSOC will have on the
Organizational Committee (OC) of the new UN Peacebuilding
Commission (PBC). Nearly all members agreed in principle to
granting each of the five regional groups one of the seven
seats, and giving the two additional seats, for the purpose
of the first election, to the Africa and Asia groups. USDel
proposed electing the two additional representatives at
large, based on post-conflict experience. This suggestion did
not gain traction. India, Colombia and Nigeria expressed
outright opposition, while sought to sidetrack the idea by
simply adding additional references to theimportance of
post-conflict experience in the overall ECOSOC selection
process. USDel stresed the importance of establishing a
predictable selection system that enabled members at large to
determine in at least two cases those countries that could
contribute most fruitfuly to the work of the PBC.

3.(SBU) Discussion of the distribution of seats was dominated
by Asian and Latin American countries. Asia sought to
protect their interests as the group with the largest
membership by enshrining the principle of equitable
geographic distribution. Latin America tried to leave the
door open for annual reallocations that might result in more
seats for the GRULAC countries than they will have initially.
Africa stressed the importance of getting the PBC off the
ground. All delegations agreed that the General Assembly's
role in devising a mechanism to ensure an overall geographic
balance was key, and that member states needed to see a draft
GA resolution before final action could be taken in ECOSOC.
Both Asian and Latin American countries questioned the
allocation of a seat to WEOG. Guinea-Bissau's PermRep argued
articulately for all geographic groups to always have an
ECOSOC seat, removing the need for WEOG to make this case on
its own behalf. Belgium praised the draft formula as a good
short-term compromise.

4.(C) Draft ECOSOC resolution E/2006/L.2, which lays out the
distribution scheme, does not provide any future mechanism
for allocating the two additional seats nor any mention of a
review of the distribution. ECOSOC President Hachani is
determined to move forward with his draft, despite the
concerns raised by various delegations, and backed away from
the idea of holding informal consultations on possible
amendments. At a minimum, USUN intends to seek to insert a
new paragraph clarifying that this decision does not set a
precedent for future allocation of the two additional seats.

5.(SBU) GA President Eliasson has circulated a non-paper
proposing the allocating the seven GA seats as follows for
the initial composition of the Organizing Committee, to be
reviewed at each election: Africa 2, Asia 1, Eastern Europe
1, Latin America (GRULAC) 3, WEOG 0. When combined with the
Security Council, troop contributor, financial contributor
and ECOOSC categories, this would result in the following
initial overall composition:
-Africa: 7 seats
-Asia: 8 seats
-E.E.: 3 seats
-GRULAC: 4 seats
-WEOG: 9 seats
Several ECOSOC members asked to see a draft GA resolution
laying out the GA distribution of seats, so that coordinated,
sequential action can be taken in ECOSOC and the GA. Hachani
said his goal is to adopt a resolution by April 7.