UNCCD first major UN conference to be eco-friendly through a partnership with the Gyeongnam Provincial Government and SK Telecom
Changwon, Republic of Korea, 17 October 2011 – In an effort to bring state of the art service provision to parties and reduce overall environmental impact, conference participants are using tablet personal computers (PCs) during the tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
“Using the latest advances in technology, the UNCCD is constantly seeking ways to improve its conference management process and contribute to enhanced environmental standards”. UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said. “Encouraging sustainability in all areas also helps our work on combating desertification, land degradation and drought.”
The UNCCD partnered with the Gyeongnam Provincial Government and SK Telecom to provide 1000 Android-based Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tablet PCs to conference participants for accessing official documents and the daily journal along with a variety of other material, directly from the tablet PC, using an Android based application. The tablets further offer internet access, photos and videos programmes together with Android-based web applications.
“We have reduced the time it would take normally for participants to access key conference documents,” said Mr. Tarun Wadhawan, the Information Technology officer who first developed the idea. “Participants no longer need to carry and maintain the nearly 100 official documents produced at previous conferences and the Conference’s Internet café is underutilized,” he pointed out.
The present first phase focuses on an eco-friendly approach that maximizes the sustainable use of paper while offering to participants an enhanced in-session access to documentation services, through state of the art electronic tools. Based on the participants’ feedback and post session statistics, further phases will be gradually introduced over the forthcoming sessions of the UNCCD governing bodies.
The tablet application was presented to Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik of the Republic of Korea and UN General Assembly President in the afternoon, following the opening of the COP’s Ministerial segment.
Each of the 194 Party delegations is allowed up to four tablet PCs. Representatives of international organisations and civil society organisations receive one Tablet PC each on a first come, first served basis.
A loan station, using an interface application with the UNCCD registration system, was set up at the conference for participants to collect their tablet PCs with a dedicated help desk.
The UN plans to follow COP10's example at future UN conferences, including at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, often referred to as Rio +20, to be held in Rio de Janeiro next year. The vision is to minimize the ecological footprint of UN conferences to the greatest extent possible.
“This is only the beginning,” Mr. Gnacadja said. “As we head towards the Rio +20 Conference, our vision of becoming land degradation neutral entails an in depth look at the impact of all products on the land all the way from the supply chain to the consumer.”
About the UNCCD
Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention's 194 signatory Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought.