COP 20: Peru expects $400m economic returns- official

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    Peru is expected to get over 400 million dollars from international co-operation to support environmental projects as part of the benefits for hosting the Climate Change Conference (COP 20) in Lima.

    Mr Eduardo Lopez-Hurtado, Director -General, Climate Change Directorate in the Peru’s Ministry of Environment, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Peru.

    Lopez-Hurtado said that the country had received commitment from international cooperation to finance a forest conservation project worth 300 million dollars.

    “We have also received promise from some countries that they will invest at least 100 million dollars in climate change, green economy and other environmental projects in the country.

    “We have recovered almost all the money we spent in hosting the event in less than one month.This is a very profitable venture and we are happy we hosted the event,’’he said.

    He confirmed that the country spent 91 million dollars to host the 2- week conference.

    He said that 70 per cent of the money was spent on the construction of the physical infrastructure, while the remaining 30 per cent was on communication and knowledge management.

    Lopez-Hurtado, who was also the official in charge of logistics, said that it was difficult at the initial stage to convince the government to invest the amount in hosting the event.

    The official said that the government felt the money should have been invested in the provision of hospital, schools and social amenities for the citizens.

    “But now, the government has seen the immense benefits of hosting the event. We have already recovered over 35 million dollars on the sales of food, souvenirs and in tourism (hotels) out of the 91 million dollars spent.

    “Also, we have recovered 3 million dollars from renting pavilions and offices, got almost 20 million dollars from international cooperation and about 2 million dollars from other activities,’’he said.

    Lopez-Hurtado, however, attributed the success in hosting the event to the commitment of the government, proper planning, effective coordination and dedication from the officials as well as support from international cooperation.

    He said the country got about 20 million dollars support from international cooperation, noting that the support covered about 20 per cent of the budget to host the event.

    The official also attributed the success in hosting the event to the cooperation they received from other ministry officials.

    “We established a National Commission on COP. This is an inter-ministerial commission made up of 13 ministries lead by the Ministry of Environment.’’

    In addition, he said the organiser worked in major five areas in order to effectively coordinate the event.

    He listed areas to include support to the Presidency of COP, internal agenda of the country in terms of climate change, transportation and public outreach and logistic.

    On challenges, he told NAN that they were initially having difficulty in inviting participants from Ebola stricken countries for the fear of spreading the virus in Peru.

    He added that they were able to overcome the challenge by conducting screening from the point of issuing entry visas to participants from those countries.

    “We saw the list of the participants from those countries; they were about 30 people and we asked them to give us vital information on their state of health.

    “They were also received from the airport by our officials from the Ministry of Health for further examination, and we are glad that we did not have any case of Ebola during the period.

    “We also had a challenge of regulating the prices of accommodation from the hotels because as soon the participants arrived, the prices of hotel went as high as 400 dollars per night, but we had to intervene.’’

    NAN reports that Peru is the first country to host the COP in Latin America.

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