21 November 2011
Durban is ready to welcome over 15 000 delegates and more than 10 000 observers from over 190 countries for the UN Climate Change Conference kicking off in exactly one week, says Durban/Ethekwini Mayor James Nxumalo.
The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change takes place at Durban’s International Convention Centre from 28 November to 9 December.
“As these delegates, observers and NGOs arrive, we must ensure that we are prepared to host them in the warmest way possible – warm people, warm food, warm beaches, warmth all around,” Nxumalo told journalists on Saturday.
“But being the warmest place to be also signals to us that our earth is getting warmer, and we must do something about that!”
Opportunity to showcase the city
The city will ensure that when delegates leave the climate change talks, they will be well versed with Durban’s Greening Projects.
Nxumalo said hosting COP 17 meant a massive boost for the city’s, and the province’s, economy.
“We will be benefitting enormously through the huge international exposure and the many economic benefits. One example is our accommodation. I am sure that this will be fully booked for the event period, with over 160 000 bed-nights of accommodation being sold.”
As the host city of COP 17, there is a golden opportunity for Durban to communicate its achievements to local and international media.
“Durban’s bold response to the challenges of climate change has positioned the city as a global leader in the field of climate protection planning,” Nxumalo said.
‘A truly African city’
“It is a truly African city, a place of rich contrasts where sophisticated, first-world urban development and high density townships give way to undisturbed rural landscapes where people follow traditional African lifestyles.”
During COP 17, the mayor will be sharing experiences and strategies to improve climate change mitigation and adaptation with mayors from around the world.
Over 550 volunteers will be deployed throughout the city during the conference. The volunteers will wear an official, easily identifiable green-and-white COP 17 Volunteer uniform, and will be stationed throughout the city, at shuttle pick-up points and bicycle nodes.