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Sunday, November 27, 2022

After the water shortage, free drinks for everyone

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I have been working in news websites for the past three years. I am currently an author at 24 hours world, where I mainly cover world news. I have also written for The Huffington Post and The New York Observer.
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The concession stands at the conference site have started giving out not only water tetrapaks but all soft drinks for free. The prices for coffee, sandwiches and other snacks have been halved. As has been heard, this should remain so until the end of the conference at the end of next week.

During the first days of COP27, with its thousands of participants from all over the world, the water on the conference site had become scarce. As early as Monday evening, the conference participants were no longer getting any supplies from many of the water dispensers. The participants had not expected this – even if water in the desert landscape of the Sinai Peninsula is fundamentally scarce and the problem is also increasing in other parts of Egypt as a result of climate change.

Short supply of snacks

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On Tuesday, the organizers provided supplies. But on Wednesday, many free water dispensers were empty again. An NGO representative with experience at the COP complained that there were not enough water dispensers on the site anyway. “It puts people under stress when they have to search for water all the time.”

On the other hand, lemonades from the beverage giant Coca-Cola were available for purchase. To the displeasure of many environmental activists, the US company is one of the sponsors of this year’s world climate conference. Environmentalists have long accused the company of contributing massively to global plastic pollution.

Participants also complained about a shortage of snacks at the food stands and long queues at the food stands. “The food supply is catastrophic,” said an NGO representative who has been taking part in world climate conferences for 15 years.

Because she also doesn’t have time to stand in long lines at the food stands on the conference site, she “secretly spreads sandwiches every day at the breakfast buffet in the hotel,” said the NGO representative.

Prices way too high

For the many participants from developing countries, the prices on the conference site – for example the equivalent of a good ten euros for a sandwich – are also far too high. “I’ve never seen the price level like here at a COP,” said the NGO representative.

In view of the bottlenecks, “many now resorted to carting water bottles and food” from a nearby supermarket, according to a newsletter from the climate network GSCC on Wednesday. The network immediately provided practical help by listing the pavilions on the conference site where free coffee or tea is available. “Oases in the desert” was the joking title of this offer.

The turning point came on Thursday. Cold drinks for free and everything else for half price, announced the staff at the snack stands, beaming with joy. The result was not only significantly shorter queues because there was no need to pay for soft drinks, but also happier customers.

It was “a nice gesture” and “first of all it was well received,” said the NGO representative. And from his point of view, a good supply of food and drink is not so unimportant for the success of the COP27. “If people don’t feel comfortable, how are they supposed to negotiate properly?”

Source: Nachrichten

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