The regional groups of the CD, whose consultations are not covered by the consensus rule but have nonetheless fallen prey to it, might weigh the desirability of moving away from lowest common denominator outcomes and developing a habit of reaching more nuanced ones. For example, a group position that reflected a "vastly prevailing" viewpoint but that noted a different, minority approach albeit one that was not being insisted upon, or on which, perhaps in face-saving terms, instructions were being sought ... an outcome, in other words, that respected a minority position but that wasn't stalled by it.
In any event, as noted before in this column, indefinite blocking of decisions in the pre-negotiating stage of the CD’s work on a given topic serves only to reinforce doubts about the viability of the Conference. There may not be a consensus that the CD’s days are numbered but the recent writings on the wall of the UN General Assembly are surely salutary nonetheless.
As Ray Acheson wrote in the final edition for 2012 of Reaching Critical Will’s excellent First Committee Monitor, “The important message coming from the majority of member states and civil society at this year’s First Committee is that a handful of countries must no longer be allowed to hold back the rest of the international community in tackling some of the most dramatic problems of our age. Stalemates and watered-down outcomes must urgently be replaced by alternatives that can proudly be deemed “successful” for genuine human security and social and economic justice. Governments and civil society alike should not settle for less.”