Eve of the Event

Copacabana beach by night

So we’ve mostly adjusted to the time zone difference and the climate. Well, sort of. It just keeps getting hotter and hotter. On the morning of the 3rd day, it is 32 degrees (celsius) which is the hottest of the three days we’ve been here (and it’s only 10am).

Took a trip to the RioCentro conference centre, where the “important” part of the conference is taking place. While it is very cool to have a UN pass again, our passes only have a brown “N” on them, which I assume means “NGO” or something to that effect. The kind of pass you really want to have is the red “D” which means delegate, or diplomat or something like that. Curiously enough, the media center is an unsecured area and anybody with any kind of pass can pass freely through it.

I originally thought this would be great because, even though free WiFi is provided throughout the complex, the media center should have a faster connection because they have to upload photos, videos, etc. But this is not the case. Perhaps they have their own special network, or some alternative “wired” arrangement for things like that. There is also a large food court with some quite decent food, although to my surprise there was only one dedicated vegetarian caterer, run by a bunch of hippies who all look like yoga teachers (my kind of people).

Good thing for them though, because in trying to secure some food to have at our official side event, we were able to make a deal with these guys to provide some finger food. There is an “official” catering company at the conference who can provide the standard coffee and biscuits deal, but at a price that I can only describe as “absurd”. The price only makes sense  when you consider that most event event organizers will have planned all this stuff in advance, before arriving at the conference center, and without really considering the price tag (this is the unfortunate reality of a lot of “aid” organizations – that they are run a lot like corporations, so there is a great deal of waste).

The venue (T-6) where our event is to take place

The conference center itself is not a terrible achievement of logistics, but it certainly could have been organized a little better. There is a print center, but it is only available for delegates to use, meaning NGOs like us (who are generally far less well-resourced than government-supported delegates) have to organize our own printing at a site which is not at the facility. This is a problem when you consider that RioCentro, despite its name, is a long way from the center of anything important in Rio. Indeed, most of the participants are staying on or near Copacabana Beach (and why wouldn’t you… have you seen my pictures?) because that’s where all the hotels are at, and the shuttle bus takes about an hour to get from one place to the other. As a result, the flyers for our event didn’t get printed until the evening before our event, which is really a little bit late.

Nevertheless, despite these setbacks we seem to be getting a lot out of being here. Spending a lot of time with our Worldwatch colleagues from the Washington D.C. office is been a good experience, and the resulting discussions will be valuable for our future collaborations. Just last night, we were supposed to host some Chinese but (strangely) they didn’t show up, so we had most of the Worldwatch crew in the apartment, so we sat down, had a few drinks, and had a chat about saving the world.

this is the flyer for our side event. if you are in Rio, or know anyone who is, I would really appreciate it if you forward it to them

so… you may have noticed (and I really only just did) but the date, time, and venue of the event aren’t on our flyer. The time of the event is 19:30, the date is the 19th of June, and the venue is T-6 in RioCentro. So yeah… that’s what happens when you write up and design a flyer in five minutes – you miss small details.

You may have also noticed that I am moderating. That will be interesting. Maybe it was my subconscious secretly not wanting anyone to come to the event which made me miss those little details?

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