We recognize the need to address these challenges, and greatly commend the active role taken by the Secretariat in formulating substantive proposals.
On the issue of criteria for setting the agenda of the EB, our preference is the amended option 2, requiring that two out of the three criteria are met. We could also support the step-by-step option. It is our view that a period of three months is required to give a realistic possibility of developing new agenda items.
Further, we support the proposal for a 48 hour rule for presenting draft resolutions at the EB. As to the proposal for a maximum optimal number of agenda items, we support the rationale of the proposal. Still we question if the proposal in itself would limit the work load, since it could be circumvented by an increasing practice of introducing sub-items.
There is also a proposal to minimize the late submission of documents for meetings of governing bodies. We think that measures taken should facilitate and improve the quality of discussions in governing bodies, and that the options outlined risk the opposite. We would need to establish procedures to deal with the consequences of late documents and decide whether affected agenda items can be discussed, and which documents could be considered for the discussion. These procedures would take up additional time in governing bodies. It remains the responsibility of the
Secretariat to ensure timely disbursement of documents. If this requires increased administrative capacities, we urge the DG to take necessary action, and make proposals to governing bodies as required.
Finally, rather than introducing measures to limit the number of progress reports, we propose that these reports are taken up for substantive discussion only at the WHA. Comsidering that progress reports require no decisions by the Board and that these discussions consume a great deal of time, we see no reason to duplicate the debate that in any event takes place at the WHA. We therefore request the EB members to consider this proposal for inclusion in the draft decision.
We also note the proposal made by Australia on this point, which speaks to much the same purpose.