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MARKETING: City Bids For Climate Change Conference


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The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17), the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change comes to South Africa from 28 November to 09 December 2011. But will it be Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban that hosts the conference?

That is the question every eco-pundit is asking as the three major cities square up against each other.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Cape Town’s bid patron who remarked that it would be incredible if the announcement of the "new deal" could be made on Robben Island, with all its symbolism regarding the struggle for justice.

The main tenets of Cape Town's bid for COP 17 include:

•       A no-compromise safe and secure host venue for a potentially volatile gathering

•       The unique opportunity to stage a real “People's COP”, where everything is in walking distance

•       Conference venues of the highest international standing

•       An extensive accommodation selection for all, unique in Africa

•       Proven ease of logistical arrangements

•       Sound media and communications facilities

•       A charismatic city, with striking biodiversity and rich cultural heritage

•       Critical global position of Cape Town: Gateway to the Antarctic

•       Cape Town - climate change and sustainability leader

•       A proven track record in hosting major global events and international conferences.

The bid for Cape Town as the host city has been led by the City of Cape Town and developed and promoted by a ‘coalition for climate change’. Representatives include Provincial Government, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town Routes Unlimited (Cape Town Convention Bureau), Cape Town Partnership, Accelerate Cape Town, Wesgro, Cape Chamber of Commerce and tertiary academic institutions, among others.

The coalition believes that this collaboration is one of the strengths of the bid as it demonstrates partnerships in action. As a member of the BestCities Global Alliance, Cape Town is in a position to learn from the experience of Copenhagen, also a member in the alliance. The Copenhagen Convention Bureau has already committed to share all relevant information, contacts and advice related to organising COP 17 with the Cape Town Convention Bureau as a partner in the global BestCities Alliance of Convention Bureaux should Cape Town be awarded the opportunity to host this event.

Supporting the bid is the fact that Cape Town was the first city in Africa to develop an integrated environmental policy and has for some years led the way in Africa with regards to sustainability. The City has a dedicated Section 80 Committee on Energy and Climate Change that has completed a study to identify the carbon footprint of hosting the event and identified what is needed to make it a carbon-neutral event. Cape Town strongly supports the national Climate Change Strategy and will do whatever it can to support the national process”, said Alderman Felicity Purchase, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Development and Tourism.

According to Andrew Boraine, CEO of the Cape Town Partnership, one of the unique feature’s of Cape Town’s bid is that is modelled as a true ‘Peoples’ COP’ with the layout designed in such a way that the venues and connections to hotels, commercial and retail centres are within walking distance – or at least a short distance away.

The judging process to select the host city has been a series of assessments, the first being the submission of a bid book, the second being a presentation on 17 September 2010 to high level officials from a range of departments in Pretoria and the third, a submission on 27 September, of responses to a series of written questions. An inter-ministerial committee met in recent weeks and it is believed that a delegation of officials from the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn will be arriving on 18 October to review the favoured city.

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