UNCCD COP 11 preparations on track

05 Sep 2013 01:20
WINDHOEK, 05 SEP (NAMPA) – Windhoek residents need not fear major disruptions to traffic on the B1 road during the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 11) as delegates are being ferried between the Hosea Kutako International Airport and areas in Windhoek to the main event.
The conference is set to take place here from 16 to 27 September this year, and fears have already been expressed that not only the traffic from the airport, but also around the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino (WCCR) - where the COP 11 meeting will be held - will be disrupted as the expected thousands of delegates are ferried around the capital.
Events’ Director Martin MacPhail told Nampa in an interview here on Tuesday that the intersection at the B1 Road and the WCCR will be manned by traffic officers.
He said to provide for the smooth and safe flow of traffic, no less than 25 luxury coaches will transport delegates on three fixed routes between the city and the resort, while at least 15 20-seater buses and 15 minibuses will also be used.
MacPhail is employed by Conference Systems, the events’ management company which has been appointed to see to it that everything runs smoothly for the UNCCD COP 11.
The main challenge was a big enough venue to host the conference in. To overcome that barrier, Conference Systems was tasked by the United Nations (UN) with erecting various temporary structures there for the conference.
Preparations are well underway for the COP 11 meeting, which will see between 2 000 and 3 000 delegates from 195 countries meet in the capital for two weeks.
MacPhail, who is responsible for the logistics and safety during the event, told this news agency on the sidelines of a media tour of the venue that preparations are currently ahead of schedule, and although there is still a lot of work to do, he is not worried.
“In terms of the infrastructure itself, it is enormous and brought a lot of business to Namibia and Namibian companies. At this stage, there are between 300 and 400 people working at the site, but it will grow rapidly as we approach the weekend and all the service providers are brought in,” he noted.
To ensure the delegates’ safety, the entire site is secured, and a cordon fence is currently under construction, while access control will be very strict to ensure the safety of all delegates attending the conference.
“To complement these safety measures, there will also be a police presence throughout the two weeks,” MacPhail stressed.
Since all structures being erected for the event are temporary, engineers will sign the project off with certificates of compliance to ensure that the structures do not pose any danger to delegates.
Two domes have been erected at a cost of N.dollars 8 million. The main dome can seat more than 3 000 delegates.
A visibly excited MacPhail explained how a minimum of 300 computers will also be installed around the premises for delegates to use, while Internet access installed by Telecom Namibia will be ‘state-of-the-art’.
Office needs like faxes, scanning and copying will be handled by an office at the site, capable of handling all the delegates’ need.
A document reproduction centre will furthermore be at hand, where it is expected that delegates will require at least 1,5 million copies during the course of the event.
Expected delegates will, amongst others, represent UN organisations as well as inter-governmental and civil society organisations, who will debate and arrive at solutions towards improving the living conditions of people in drylands, maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity and mitigating the effects of drought.