Guidelines for Organizers of Side Events during the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP12)


Side events organized within the sidelines of the official sessions of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and/or its subsidiary bodies convened by the UNCCD provide an informal opportunity for Parties and accredited observer organizations to exchange information and experiences on diverse issues related to the objectives of the Convention.

The twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) and meetings of its subsidiary bodies will be held from 12 to 23 October 2015 at the ATO Congressium Centre in Ankara, Turkey (< >).

General guidelines for organizers of side events

1.    The proposed side event should be directly related to the goals and objectives of the UNCCD and should reflect an approach to sustainable development that integrates the land-based perspective.

2.    Every effort should be made to align the proposed event with the main thrust of the agenda of the COP12 and its subsidiary bodies. The side event should constitute a potential contribution to the outcome of the conference. The agenda of the COP is available on the UNCCD website.

3.    In order to accommodate as many requests of side events as possible, side event proposals that involve several organizing partners (jointly organized by two or more entities) are particularly encouraged. Preference will be given to events that are organized jointly by civil society organizations, governmental and intergovernmental partners. Organizers of closed events will be accommodated where possible but are advised to look for alternative locations.

4.    Non-governmental representatives proposing a side event must be accredited to the UNCCD.

5.    Side events are open to all registered delegates participating at the official sessions of the COP or any of its subsidiary bodies. The side event organizers should make appropriate arrangements to enable the registration of individuals, invited speakers, or guests to the event who may not be registered delegates.

6.    Inter-governmental meetings always have priority over other events or meetings. As per general practice, no event can be organized during the official meetings of the Conference. Side events may have to be cancelled at the last minute if an inter-governmental meeting needs to use the room where the side event was scheduled to take place. In these cases, the secretariat will attempt to reschedule the cancelled event to another location or another date.

7.    The secretariat is responsible only for room allocation. Time slots and rooms will be accommodated according to availability on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to in-session activity, last-minute changes or even cancellations can occur on rare occasions for some side events.

8.    Standard equipment (i.e. sound system, one table microphone for each two delegates and fixed projection facilities) will be provided in the side events meeting rooms. Side event organizers can request additional technical equipment and services for their event on a commercial basis from local service providers including, microphones (standing microphones or use of the sound system in the conference rooms), projection screens, sound recording (based on the availability of recording equipment in the room).

9.    A list of available services that may be obtained on commercial basis from local accredited providers (such as catering, technical equipment, interpretation, shipment and storage etc.) will be made available on the host country COP 12 website:<>.

10.  Depending on the venue and availability, internet connections may be provided during the side event. The UNCCD side event team should be notified in advance so that the necessary connection can be arranged. This may involve additional costs that need to be covered by the side event organizer.

11.  Publicizing a side event is the responsibility of its organizers; the Secretariat will not produce fliers, distribute notices, or run other publicity efforts for side events.  A daily calendar of side events during COP12 will be published in the Official Journal of the session.

12.  Printed materials may be distributed by using tables or other such facilities that may be available outside the meeting rooms. Since side events take place in the rooms where usually official meetings are conducted, organizers are requested to remove all their materials when leaving the rooms after their side event.

13.  Given the paper smart nature of the COP, the UNCCD secretariat encourages organizers to eliminate or reduce the documents produced for the advertisement of the side events and their organization.

14.  Only printed materials that are directly and thematically related to the agenda of COP12 and the meetings of its subsidiary bodies can be distributed during a side event or at any time at the session. The secretariat reserves the right to remove materials judged to be inappropriate.

15.  The sale of printed materials (or any other items) at the premises of the session during the side events or at any time is strictly prohibited.

16.  Displays and exhibitions can only be organized through the secretariat. Side event organizers are advised not to set up displays or put up posters on meeting room walls during a side event or at any other time during the meeting to avoid removal and loss of their materials.

17.  Depending on the venue, food may not be allowed into side event rooms.  Therefore, catering shall be provided as much as possible, outside the side event rooms. Organizers will be responsible for ensuring that no food or drinks are brought into the side event room so that the room is left in suitable condition for future users.

Submission of Proposals for Side Events

Requests to hold side events during COP12 should be submitted by 31st August 2015. Information on the approved side events will be sent by the UNCCD secretariat approximately one month prior to the session.

Accredited organizations interested in organizing a side event during COP12 must submit a proposal using the Application Form for Side Events enclosed as an Annex to these guidelines. The application should include a detailed description of the proposed event, including its theme focus, speakers/presenters and its potential contribution to the COP12.

All completed and signed forms must be emailed to: [email protected] to the attention of the side events team or faxed to +49-228-815-28 98/99. Please indicate in the title of the email the name of the organization and a short title for the side event for ease reference. Note: Only submissions received before the 31st August via the e-mail indicated above will be considered.

For more information on side events, please contact:


The UNCCD Secretariat

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +49 228 815-2800



Annex: Application Form for Side Events