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How COP20 mobilised over 100,000 people, embraced sustainability

Peru, the bustling Peruvian capital city, received more than 14,000 visitors from abroad and nearly 80,000 citizens attended Voices for Climate in those 12 days

Welcome to COP20 in Lima, Peru. Photo credit: huffingtonpost.com
Welcome to COP20 in Lima, Peru. Photo credit: huffingtonpost.com

After two weeks of intense activity from December 1-12 2014, COP20 (20th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) mobilised a large number of people gathered in Lima to be part of an international event that brings together representatives from governments, civil society, business and authorities from 195 countries.

“I congratulate and thank Peruvians and citizens from Lima because with their hospitality Peru has held the largest event of its history, successfully without incidents, making nearly 14,000 people, who have come from abroad, feel at home,” said the Ministry of Environment and President of the COP20, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal.

COP20 was held at the General Army Headquarters in a facility built for the occasion. This structure had more than 30 meeting rooms and two plenaries with capacity for 2,000 people. On the other hand, the Ministry of Environment promoted a space for participation called “Voices for Climate”. This was free and open to the public and it showcased the progress Peru has made in the country in five emblematic issues: Mountains and Water, Forests, Sustainable Cities, Renewable Energy and Oceans.


A city on the move

COP20 was able to mobilise and create awareness in citizens about the effects of climate change in the world, and especially in Peru. “Voices for Climate” received – in 12 days – over 80,000 visitors and the Indigenous Maloca more than 35,000. In addition, more than 400 conferences in which new research projects and initiatives were presented were organised. Personalities from different fields as Christiana Figueres, Rajendra Pachauri, Fabien Cousteau, Lucho Quequezana, Charly Alberti, among others, attended Voices for Climate.

COP20 also received seven presidents, among which were Evo Morales of Bolivia; Enrique Peña Nieto, of Mexico; Michelle Bachelet of Chile and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia. It was also attended by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon; John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States and Al Gore, former US Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize. During the full duration of the COP, over 140 press conferences were held and more than 900 journalists from around the world covered the international event, while 1,200 Peruvian volunteers participated in the conference, assisting national and international guests.

The thousands of attendees took daily buses from seven different points in the city to the venue on established routes and flexible hours. This was planned to avoid generating more traffic in the crowded city and to have a safe transportation system. On the other hand, the campaign Play Your Part, generated more than 330,000 citizens’ commitments nationwide and continues to work to raise awareness among citizens and businesses to fight climate change.


Sustainability at COP20

COP20 is the first event in Peru to separate the waste generated in five categories (organic, plastics, paper/cardboard, glass and general waste), announced the Organisation and Logistics committee for COP20. It will also be the first conference in Peru to measure (by means of independent verification/ validation) and offset its carbon footprint, via Verified Emission Reductions generated by a REDD+/ reforestation project in protected areas in Peru. Once the certifying organisation AENOR has verified the conformity of the process of calculating and offsetting of the emissions, its carbon offsetting certificate will be awarded to COP 20.

All cups used in the venue are biodegradable. In addition, the majority of plates and forks/ knives/ spoons are biodegradable and/or recyclable (all available stocks of biodegradable dishes in Peru have been depleted).  The income from selling the recycled materials will be given to ANIQUEM, the Assistance Association for Burned Children. This organisation provides free physical and psychological rehabilitation to children and youth suffering from injuries related to burns as well as training for their families to provide home therapy.

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