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Director’s Cut - Friday, 20 March 2009
By Kimo Goree, Director of IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) - kimo@iisd.org
Kimo Goree
Director of
IISD RS
At almost half of the meetings where IISD RS provides conference reporting services, we do not publish the Earth Negotiations Bulletin. Instead, we are hired by the conference organizers to write and distribute the meeting report, which we call “Your Meeting Bulletin,” using our pool of ENB writers.

This week, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin team has been making a big splash in Istanbul, where we have been contracted by the Government of Turkey to provide conference reporting services from the Fifth World Water Forum. Our team of ten writers, editors and local team support at the conference venue are working in a twenty-four hour production cycle with translators and editors in Bangkok, Montréal and Philadelphia. The daily reports that we are providing for the Water Forum Secretariat are similar to the coverage we provided to the Government of Japan in 2003 and to the Government of Mexico in 2006 at the Third and Fourth World Water Forums, respectively, and are part of our growing “for-hire” conference reporting service.

During the first few years of publishing the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, we received requests from governments and intergovernmental organizations to attend and report from their meetings. Impressed by the quality of the ENB and amazed by our ability to distribute reports to tens of thousands of readers around the world by email and from our WWW site, Linkages, they also wanted these same ENB services for their own meetings, conferences, workshops and symposia.

However, our donors were supporting us to publish the Earth Negotiations Bulletin from MEA negotiations and were not prepared to fund our reporting from country-led initiatives, regional meetings and workshops organized by governments, NGOs and UN organizations. So, we offered the meeting organizers our services at a price that covered our costs, and provided our new “clients” with ENB-like reports and the use of our extensive networks for their distribution.

Because of the different funding mechanism, we could not publish them as “ENB” reports. Initially, we called this series of conference reports Sustainable Developments. However, most meeting organizers wanted to have their meeting’s name in the title, so six years ago we began calling the series Your Meeting Bulletin (YMB). So, this week we are publishing the World Water Forum Bulletin from Istanbul for the Government of Turkey, and last month we published the Pew Whales Commission Bulletin for the Pew Charitable Trusts at the meeting of the Pew Commission on Whale Conservation in the 21st Century in Portugal.

In the last three years, our clients have included the Governments of Austria, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, the United States, Suriname, Indonesia and Turkey. Also, we have been contracted by the World Bank, UNIDO, the World Trade Organization, UNEP, the UNFCCC Secretariat, FAO, the UNECE and many others. In total, we are providing our reporting services from between twenty-five and thirty meetings per year, in addition to our usual Earth Negotiations Bulletin schedule of between thirty and thirty-five meetings.

Our clients know that, in addition to receiving a report within 48 hours of the close of the meeting that is identical in quality to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, we also will distribute this report to our estimated 75,000 readers by email and tens of thousands more through our website. Since all of the ENB reports are indexed by Google News, searches for information on the meeting or meeting topic often lead readers directly to our reports. Our high quality digital images contribute to providing a permanent online record of the event.

For us at IISD Reporting Services, these client services not only make effective use of our extensive information distribution network but they also provide additional work for our team of consultants. In the last decade, we have seen that many of our writers remain on our roster for longer periods since we can provide more work from more meetings. The longer our writers work for IISD Reporting Services, the more experienced they are in writing reports from the meetings we cover.

We encourage our clients to contact us for price quotes well in advance of the meeting, since we plan our schedule of events months ahead. Our writers bid to participate in our writing teams for meetings biannually each June and December, so we like for meeting organizers to finish contracting with us by these dates so that our consultants can bid for their meeting together with our planned ENB schedule. For clients who plan to hire IISD Reporting Services, we require at least four weeks between the receipt of the signed contract and the meeting start date.

Depending on the size and length of the conference, we usually provide quotes for various levels of reporting services. The options include either writing daily issues and a summary, or a summary only, plus possible digital coverage (on-line photos and captions.) We also can provide same-day translations in French, Spanish, Arabic and Japanese. Of course, all of the daily reports are photocopied and distributed to the participants and all of our reports, both daily and summary issues, are sent out to our email lists reaching readers around the world.

In the past several years, our “for-hire” reporting services have grown dramatically and we have now hired two of our team members to assist us in drafting proposals to clients and managing the contracting process. If you are planning an event and would like a price quote for services, please contact Leonie Gordon (leonie@iisd.org) or Robynne Boyd (robynne@iisd.org) For a complete list of meetings we have been hired to cover, please visit http://www.iisd.ca/sd/
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