When 34,000 delegates turned up to the UN Climate Conference at the Bella Center in Copenhagen on its first day, the sheer number forced the UN to set last minute quotas for delegates from non-governmental organisations.
The delegate numbers represent more than double the capacity the venue can normally accommodate -15,000. Over 5,000 journalists are also accredited to cover the 11-day event.
“Due to these constraints,” says a UN statement, “NGO delegates will be allowed access to the building according to a quota system”. A similar system was implemented at the most recent UN climate gathering in Barcelona in November. “According to this system, only a pre-arranged percentage of each organisation’s representatives will be allowed access to the building during peak times.”
Diplomats from 192 countries have convened for the event, which has been deemed the largest and most important UN climate change conference in history.
CNN reported that the Danish police had been turning away people at the security gate that connects the Bella Center to Copenhagen’s transport lines. One delegate protested: “But we have come all the way from China. Please let us in.”
A second wave of 50,000 people is expected to ascend upon the venue on 12 December for a ‘day of action’ protest. A further citywide non-violent protest is due for 18 December. Quotas are unlikely to apply.