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COP11 good for tourism industry

Namibia stands to benefit immensely from hosting the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP11) slated to take place from the 16-27th September 2013 in Windhoek.
This is the first time a COP of the UNCCD will be held in the SADC Region and the event is expected to attract between 2000 to 3000 delegates including Heads of States, Ministers and other international dignitaries.
The influx of such a high volume of delegates into Windhoek for a period of 2 weeks will have a positive knock-on effect on the tourism industry. The economy, accommodation establishments, tour operators, restaurants, retailers, transport providers and sellers of arts and crafts all stand to benefit greatly from this opportunity. The successful hosting of UNCCD COP11 will further enhance Namibia’s international reputation and attract similar such events in the future.
At the technical level, Namibia will serve as President of the UNCCD from the opening day of COP11 until UNCCD COP12, which will take place in 2015. This two-year term as President offers Namibia the unique opportunity to drive the global agenda on issues of desertification, land degradation and drought.
Plans are currently underway to prepare for the event and a national preparatory committee has already been set up with representatives from 38 institutions. The committee has been divided into sub-committees which are coordinating Namibia’s two track preparatory approaches focusing on technical and logistical issues. An Events Management Company – Conference Systems Namibia (CSN) – has been appointed to manage all logistical preparations with support from the logistical sub-committee.
Also, a website for the host country of COP11 is currently running and two UN planning missions, which involved the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, and a range of sectoral experts on security, information technology and conference management were held. A third meeting took place this week from 10 to 12 July 2013.
Delegates from the 195 country Parties of the UNCCD, various UN organisations as well as intergovernmental and civil society organisations are expected to debate and arrive at solutions towards improving the living conditions of people in drylands; maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity; and mitigating the effects of drought. Each of these are critical issues for Namibia, especially during the current drought situation facing the country.
During the conference, a two week exhibition will also be held in which organisations and countries from around the world will showcase and share their good practices in a wide range of areas relating to sustainable land management and its role in enhancing food security and poverty alleviation.

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