THE EARTH TIMES
SEPTEMBER 5, 1995
Giving the media a helping hand
BY ASHALI VARMA
Beijing, China: One of the most tedious but rarely publicized exercises of a United Nations conference is the media accreditation process. Sonia Lecca of Peru, Chief of Media Accreditation and a veteran of many UN conferences, and her staff started working on this process for the Fourth World Conference on Women several months ago. The logistics were daunting, several thousand journalists, delegates and NGOs to be accredited from all over the world. Now, even though the Conference has formally opened, the accreditation process continues as some journalists and others arrive late.
Lecca does not like to be in the limelight. But behind the scenes she is the person who not only organizes the logistics of passes for participants but has to deal with different host countries and also has to iron out the complaints of the media concerning access to the major players of a conference.
“I would like to say that the Chinese have been very cooperative in setting up the accreditation office,” Lecca said in an interview with The Earth Times. “It is one of the best I have seen so far.” In the last one year, Lecca has handled the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, and the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen.
“They sent one of their officials, Zhang Lirong from the Foreign Ministry, to Copenhagen during the Social Summit, to study the logistics, and he consulted with me on what are the ways on which the Chinese could build on the services offered by the host country,” said Lecca. As a result the office for accreditation is large and well-organized and all the equipment is new.
“In addition,” said Lecca “the Chinese staff is extraordinary, very efficient and disciplined and eager to learn. I could confidently leave the accreditation process to them if I needed to,” she added. “I have only to ask for something and it is provided immediately. Even our offices in the Conference Center are very well equipped. With the computers and copier and a very adept Chinese staff, we have the addresses, telephone numbers and names of all the journalists accredited the Conference at Beijing.”
And according to the present statistics this Conference is expected to have an overall attendance of 25,000 people which compares to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.