UKZN to accommodate alternative COP17 civil society events

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has been identified as the site of this year’s COP17 alternative space, known as the ‘People’s Space’, where national and international civil society will come together around the global issue of climate change.

The contract to utilise UKZN was signed on November 3, 2011, between the C17, a body mandated by over 80 South African civil society groups to coordinate civil society activities around COP17, and UKZN management, with the assistance of the university’s Centre for Society and School of Development Studies.

C17 aims to provide a space in which to strengthen the climate justice movement in South Africa, while at the same time consolidating civil society actions across the world during the two weeks of negotiations.

The establishment of a parallel space at COP negotiations each year responds to the marginalisation civil society frequently experiences at these events and the lack of progress that has been made by international governments in addressing climate change.

‘The People’s Space’ will thus serve as the space in which the people of the world can make their voices heard and where civil society can work towards creating another vision for addressing climate change by building a strong movement of like-minded activists and ordinary people from around the world.

Howard College venue just 6km from the COP

Situated just six kilometres from the official UNFCCC event at Durban’s International Conference Centre (ICC), UKZN’s Howard College will provide room for key civil society events for the duration of the two-week conference from November 28, to December 9, 2011. C17 will engage with eThekwini Municipality to provide transport between the ICC and UKZN.

The People’s space is expected to attract between 5 000 and 6 000 people during the course of the conference. Events include the Conference of the Youth (COY7) the weekend ahead of COP17, the international labour movement’s Pavilion of Work, as well as numerous panel debates, art exhibitions and film festivals.

In addition to access to the People’s Space, C17 is coordinating the Global Day of Action on December 3, 2011, to relay civil society’s dissatisfaction with the pace of the UNFCCC negotiations. A peaceful march through the streets of Durban attended by upwards of 20 000 people will be supported by people around the world as they take action in their home countries.

C17 will also establish a climate refugee camp at Block AK near the ICC from the December 1 to December 6, 2011, highlighting the plight of climate refugees worldwide.

To apply for use of the space go to For more information, or to receive communiqués on civil society activities at COP17, go to, and follow us on facebook and Twitter.

Contact information

People’s Space enquiries – Bryan Ashe:
Media enquiries – Laura Tyrer:
Global Day of Action enquiries – Desmond D’Sa:
General enquiries – Siziwe Khanyile:

About UKZN

The University of KwaZulu-Natal will be the host site for the ‘People’s Space’ activities, organised by civil society, associated with the international climate change negotiations to be hosted in Durban from November 28 to December 9. These activities will include public seminars, exhibitions, films and cultural activities. Many of the world’s leading experts on climate and civil society will be on hand over the fortnight. Academics and activists will intermingle with those attending the United Nations COP17. The UKZN Centre for Civil Society and School of Development Studies will arrange local public events, web access and media relations to ensure that civil society’s views are heard and respected.

About C17 (the COP 17 Civil Society Steering Committee)

The Civil Society Committee for COP17 (C17) includes representatives of various organisations including social movements, labour, environmental justice organisations, international environmental NGOs and faith-based organisations. It is a facilitatory body established to coordinate the participation of international and national movements and organisations of civil society in the common process but will not seek to represent them or to enter into negotiations with, or lobbying of, governments on their behalf. Rather, the C17 seeks to create opportunities for civil society engagement in the 2011 climate change negotiations during 2011, civil society engagement with the South African government around climate change negotiations and positions, a platform for the expression of diversity in civil society and environmental movement building in South Africa and the region.



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6 responses to “UKZN to accommodate alternative COP17 civil society events

  1. Well done for this hard work, looking forward to this hopefully life changing conference. We are previledged to have Rehad Desai touring the UK talking about the conference – something that most people were unaware of.


    please do keep us posted. can the public attend?

  3. Pingback: Other activities happening during COP17 | ecoalgae

  4. jabu lethuli

    need accomodation in people space or alternative one for the last week of the conference. Prepared to pay R200 a night

  5. phinda

    the people space was very poorly organised and the organisers need to apologise to the african participnats who were given a second class citenzen treatment.

    this is the kind of treatment african people were recieving from white colonialism and apatheid era. and the african fouth so much that they can recieve the same treatment from other black people just becouse this black individuals have been entrusted with a little of some power. this incompitent individuals should face the music and answer for their uncalled for behaviour before it polute the whole of our beautful continet africa

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