We hosted our first side event at the UN meetings yesterday showcasing the Energy [R]evolution. Alex, part of the Energy [R]evolution team, explains how the side events work and how we all try to get delegates in the seats to hear our message.
The Climate Negotiations are bit like a circus with the negotiations as the main act with the NGOs providing the entertainment at the intervals with various art exhibitions, direct communications inside and outside of the COP, fun giveaways (t-shirts, pens, food) and even dressing up in costumes. We do all this in the hope of getting in on the main stage, albeit a little indirectly. Don’t get me wrong – we are not a supporting show – we are very much part of the main act.
The UN graciously acknowledges this by letting us put on side events. These are a daily event and are held at three allocated time slots a day. They are announced daily in the UN’s official programme. However, there are many meeting rooms there are on average 30 of these side-events a day. This makes competition fierce to get the delegates to come to your event – it doesn’t matter how interesting or relevant your presentation is, promotion is still key.
So how to attract people to your event? This is not an easy task as you are not allowed to flier, put up posters in any visible place nor announce it over a loud speaker system!
So there is the obvious ruse of providing food to lure people in with the promise of a free lunch however, the delegates are also practiced trawlers and often will swing by the meeting rooms to cruise the food tables without actually coming along to the event. Then there is the free giveaway ploy – delegates LOVE toys to play with, so any fun gadget that also has a practical application is also a winner. Check out our brilliant Energy [R]evolution pen which we think will be THE writing tool of choice this COP!
We also use our wonderful network of Greenpeace delegates to pass the word on to their contacts and use our booth as the main information base where the Solar Generation crew does a fantastic job of promoting all our activities.
Yesterday, we held our first event, we invited delegates to hear about the real Energy [R]evolution, our promotional tactics obviously worked as not only were all the seats taken but there no standing space left in the room. We’ll be hosting another three side events over the next few weeks, so stay posted for more updates.
Energy Revolution Team
Image © Greenpeace/ Conrad Konstantynowiscz