Posted by
Barry Siskind
UFI’s Community Manager

In 1992, the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) formed to address the global issues of climate change. The participating countries were those who had adopted the Kyoto Protocol.

Each year UNFCC and its members meet to discuss the implementation of the Protocols. In 2011, COP17 was held in Durban, South Africa.

Justin Hawes, who is the Managing Director for Scan Display also managed the South African Climate Change Response Expo (CCR Expo). He will be bringing some of the lessons he learned to the UFI Sustainable Development Focus Meeting, on December 11th, in Geneva.

Here is a preview of his remarks:


What were the most important lessons you took away from your involvement with COP17?


I learned a great deal, the most important lessons being:

As an organiser, only you know what you have planned to deliver. Therefore you should not beat yourself up if there is a discrepancy between your plans and what transpires. Rather focus on what actually happens and ensure it is the best it can be.

To use some metaphors of South African wildlife – sometimes you need to be a rhino, and simply keep pushing certain aspects through in a myopic manner to get the results you need. At other times you need to be an Indian Myna – a small woodland bird which has adapted extremely well to urban environments – and be willing to change your plans and expectations to suit new developments. The trick here is to recognise which elements should be non-negotiable and which elements can be afforded more flexibility.


If you had an opportunity to do it over again what would you do differently?


If I had to do it over again I don’t believe I would change much about the CCR Expo. I am not saying it was perfect – we had unexpected problems with storms and heavy downpours of rain, which for an outdoor event always has consequences. In our case it resulted in some challenges with the electricity for the exhibition marquees. However I am happy that in the limited time available we were able to create something very special and ensure all of our numerous stakeholders were happy.

This UFI Focus meeting is open to all exhibition professionals. For the full programme and to register online just click here: