One half of the boards with side events, and that is only the listings for the next few days!
View down one of the many rows of booths.
My view from the back of the main plenary session.
The main benefit of actually being here, thus far, is catching the many side conversations and the so-called side events. Hundreds of official side events will take place over the two weeks of the conference, by hundreds of different NGO organizations. There are so many that it is very hard to keep track of when and where they’ll be happening! The side events happen in a big building next door to the main meeting area in some 10 or so large rooms. If I’m lucky, the room will have a sign next to it saying what it will be, otherwise I end up wandering around. Additionally, some organizations such as the International Energy Agency have full day mini-conferences.
A third option of information diffusion is to visit the 200 or so booths hosted by NGOs and trade groups. Most have brochures or other informational pamphlets, and some even give out books and CD/DVDs. I’ve built a solid collection that has almost burst my back-pack. I could probably spend the next 6 months doing nothing else but reading the giveaway stuff from COP17! There are also daily periodicals put out by at least 5 different groups, including a magazine called Outreach that published articles by Paul and myself.
Maybe you’ve gotten the impression that there is an overwhelming amount of information, at least that is how I feel. I haven’t even described the four football field sized tents out by registration, which is a hodgepodge of booths promoting services offered by businesses and other South African groups.