UN delegation pleased with COP 17 preparations

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Durban - A UN delegation to South Africa, which is here to check on preparations for the upcoming climate change conference, is happy with the organisation thus far.

A team from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held a press briefing in the city to update local media on their current visit, and reported that they are pleased with what they are seeing.

The UN delegation has been meeting with various government departments and other stakeholders to attend to all infrastructure and logistical details for COP 17, which will take place in Durban in November and December.

Almost 15 000 people are expected to attend to the conference, while between 20 000 and 25 000 are expected to visit Durban during that period.

Kevin Grose, a member of the UNFCCC Secretariat, explained that COP17 is an inter-governmental event, meaning that representatives from 194 governments will be in Durban.

The 194 governments will be presented with documentation and data for discussions. These talks are expected to be laborious and lengthy because all the states will be looking to arrive at agreements on the climate challenges that face the planet.

He said the UN is grateful to South Africa for taking the responsibility to host the mammoth event and it will be two weeks of hard work.

Julie-May Ellingson, head of Durban's Strategic Projects Unit, said the city has hosted complex conferences before and is ready for the for COP 17, adding that her team is working close with all government departments to meet all of the UN's requirements.

Grose, who will be coordinating the media for the conference, said his team has met with the SABC this week, who will be responsible for national coverage.

There are two events being planned to assist media, including the local contingent, in covering the event. Reporters will be taught on how to report on political discussions emanating from climate issues.

Another important facet of the conference will be the information technology set up.

The South African government, meanwhile, will be hosting a series of events during the build-up to the conference to get its people involved and educated about climate change.