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SAEON forges new friendships at COP17


Early morning and SAEON’s Beate Hölscher is ready to meet the throng of visitors to the SAEON stand.


Never too young to learn - the next generation being exposed to climate change at the CCR Expo.

Beate Hölscher, Research Administrator, SAEON

SAEON’s participation in COP17 -- held in Durban from 28 November to 9 December 2011 -- proved to be a worthwhile exercise in terms of exposure, branding and networking.

The principal purpose of COP17 was to develop legally binding international agreements -- through international negotiations -- to help mitigate climate change by controlling emissions of greenhouse gases. Apart from the central negotiations, a Climate Change Response (CCR) Expo was held adjacent to the Durban International Convention Centre where the main negotiations took place.

Global Change Grand Challenge

SAEON exhibited under the banner of the Department of Science and Technology’s Global Change Grand Challenge at the CCR Expo, along with the Africa Centre for Climate and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS), the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas and Inkaba ye Africa Earth Systems Science. The eye-catching exhibition stand focused on SAEON’s contribution towards understanding climate change impacts.

Constructive discussions

Visitors to the stand were encouraged to interact and have constructive discussions with SAEON staff, instead of being overwhelmed with information, an approach that seemed to work very well. A guest register was available for visitors interested in recording specific comments or in receiving SAEON’s electronic newsletter. In the process valuable contacts and networks were established.

SAEON’s Beate Hölscher and Sue van Rensburg distributed CDs containing recent SAEON publications and a bookmark with information on the International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) Network. SAEON Managing Director Johan Pauw was on hand to attend to visitors between participating in COP17 side events.

The DST is gratefully acknowledged for carrying the cost of the floor space. SAEON would also like to thank the DST’s Kogilam Iyer and Leluma Matooane for their arrangements and interface with the organisers, as well as Jennifer Russell for kindly offering accommodation to Sue and Beate at no cost.

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