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South Africa selects Cisco to connect COP17 to rest of the world

29 November 2011
South Africa selects Cisco to connect COP17 to rest of the world

LONDON: Member of The Climate Group, Cisco, is technology partner to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17), where it is providing a number of video conferencing services to delegates in a bid to curb COP17's carbon footprint

Along with its key partners, Neotel and Dimension Data, Cisco is supporting COP17 with all of its network operations throughout the two week summit.

Thanks to the use of Cisco’s TelePresence, COP17 attendees in Durban can have in-person meetings with constituents and colleagues in their home continents cheaply, easily and with a limited carbon impact.

TelePresence is an innovative form of secure, high-definition, face-to-face conferencing which allows for real-time meetings where it seems attendees are in the same room as each other, rather than in remote locations thousands of miles apart. 

Cisco allows essential meetings that may otherwise be geographically restricted –  such as Government officials needing to update off-site stakeholders, consult global experts or conduct press briefings with their countries’ journalists –  to be effortless.

At COP17 venues, there are several private meeting rooms which can be scheduled for meetings, as well as virtual participation at side events that use WebEx on-demand services.

The innovative move to include TelePresence is a result of the South African Government’s commitment to making the climate talks as low carbon and collaborative as possible, and exemplifies Clean Revolution leadership.

Henrik Kjaer, Global Project Lead on COP17, Cisco says: ‘As an IT company, we are firm believers in the ability of IT and networking to transform communities and countries. A conference like this is a testament to that. […] If the people at COP17 can't reach out and disseminate the information that comes out of the discussions, it will reflect badly on South Africa as a host, on the UN and on COP as a whole. So bandwidth is key.”

Molly Webb, Head of Smart Technologies says: “The means by which the delegates in Durban operate must lead by example. With TelePresence in action, Cisco is providing a ‘smart’ backdrop to COP17 which also cuts the summit’s overall carbon footprint and illustrates ICT’s key role in the Clean Revolution. World leaders are sending a clear signal that innovative technologies like Cisco’s are simple, cheap and efficient, and their influential leadership is helping to shape the landscape of smart technologies’ large-scale adoption at a crucial moment in the climate change calendar.” 

Equally pioneering digital communications were used at our annual States and Regions Alliance meeting, which for the first time, was held by video conference rather than on location at COP. Pierre Arcand, Minister of the Environment, Sustainable Development and Parks for Quebec took part in the meeting last week. Commenting on the Alliance’s adoption of this virtual format he said: "International cooperation between sub-national governments that share common interests and ideals is a major driver for Quebec's commitment to driving the low carbon economy. Video conferencing offers welcome opportunities to intensify these contacts without the necessity of international travel and the greenhouse gas emissions that come with it. " 

Further reading

Damian Ryan, Senior Policy Manager, The Climate Group, is writing news and analysis throughout COP17, and providing a more in-depth post-COP Briefing after the events. Keep up to date on our website and by following him on Twitter during COP17.

Our international policy teams are also commenting on key regional positions in the lead-up to Durban; read about AustraliaChinaEuropeIndia and the US.

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