The draft framework for political dialogue (FPD) is now almost completed to await for the much anticipated Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement signing which is expected to take place next month, according to reports coming out from the FPD consultations in Rangoon which ended Friday, 10 July.
“But unlike the NCA draft, it is not an instrument for agreement,” said academic Hannes Siebert, who has advised all stakeholding parties creating their own FPD drafts. “On the contrary, it (the finished product) is an instrument for further negotiations.”
The draft produced by the consultation, which had been held since 16 May, has two columns: one, identified areas for agreement and, two, suggestions made by participants to resolve contentious issues like the number of different dialogue partners in the political dialogue (PD) and decision-making.
Some participants saw that the number of different PD partners is less important than how decisions are to be made: “Just suppose we have chosen a simple majority formula to decide on issues. Then large dialogue groupings will have a clear edge over smaller groupings,” said a participant. “But if we are to choose the consensus formula, it doesn’t matter which grouping is larger or smaller.”
The almost two-month long consultation was participated by technical teams from the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), National League for Democracy (NLD) and the 56- party alliance, and representatives from the Karen National Union (KNU), Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), Karen Peace Council (KPC), Myanmar Peace Center (MPC), Euro Burma Office (EBO) and Pyidaungsu Institute for Peace and Dialogue (PI).
The polished draft is expected to be ready for consideration by participating parties sometime this week. “As the NCA signing is expected during the first week of August, while the election campaigns are expected to begin on 8 September, we may have about three weeks to debate and approve on the FPD draft,” said another participant.
The topics discussed by the FPD consultation are as follows:
2. Aims and Objectives
4. Agenda and Issues
5. Steps and Roadmap
6. Mandate and Managing Process
7. Consensual Decision Making Formula and Mechanisms
8. Composition and criteria for Participation and Inclusivity
9. Structures, mechanisms and procedures
10. Support structures: Shared knowledge, technical background papers, research, deadlock breaking, facilitating and technical
11. Sequencing of agenda and process
12. People’s participation and regional dialogues and consultations
13. Communications: Internal, external and public
14. Implementation process