A COP18/CMP8 Doha Priority
An action plan is currently being developed by organizers of the COP18/CMP8 Doha to target and reduce one of the world’s most environmentally unfriendly industrial processes: paper waste. Meeting on the side-lines of the Bangkok Climate Change Conference, COP18/CMP8 Doha’s logistical team is engaging with their UNFCCC counterparts to tackle this pressing environmental issue.
One initiative in the pipeline, which would mark a first for any COP, is to implement the United Nations’ “Paper-Smart” project, which aims to reduce paper printing by digitizing all official U.N. documents. Instead of working from and consuming millions of sheets of paper, delegates will be able to read documents at designated “Paper-Smart” (or ISPS by its initials) computer stations, manned by a trained staff that can provide print on-demand facility if necessary. One organizer working closely on the ISPS project explained that the project is a “war on waste,” and not on paper usage.
The project was implemented at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainability in June 2012, but will likely be implemented with greater efficiency given Qatar’s highly developed IT infrastructure. Beyond that, the project, if implemented, will be improved in one very important way:
in an effort to ensure the utmost transparency and inclusivity of the Doha
meetings, access to public documents in the digital system will be extended
to NGOs and the media.
Doha’s team is also spearheading several other initiatives that will help us win the war on waste. The team is currently developing a Mobile Application, for smartphones and tablet computers, that participants at COP18/CMP8 can use to connect to all the documents and information they need in a digital, paper-free way. The area of the Organizing Committee in charge of the program said that the Mobile Application is a “must-do,” and it has proven effective and useful in cutting down on paper in other conferences.
As a host, Qatar, will provide important documents to visiting delegations primarily through various electronic means such as the Mobile Apps , USB Memory Sticks and other means, so as to cut down on paper waste. The Organizing Committee’s Media Team has already used Memory Sticks in its communication with media outlets, while the committee’s own internal guideline draft has been informing the committee’s decisions on reducing its own paper waste. Organizers believe that their commitment to reducing paper waste is a step in the right direction, one that will help the upcoming Doha conference to be not only a platform for climate change negotiations, but exemplary of the progress we wish to see in the world.