NGOs are concerned about the change in venue for the NGO Forum, which will be held in parallel to the FWCW in Beijing. Last Saturday, NGOs were informed that the original site was structurally unsound. The site that has been proposed in its place is said to be closer to the airport and cheaper lodging, aesthetically more pleasing, and to contain better facilities for small working groups.
NGOs' priorities, however, seem to be focused on proximity to the government conference site and the requirement of a large meeting hall. NGOs were told that the new site is 45 minutes from the government meeting place, but independent sources suggest that the distance would be closer to an hour away. The NGOs' plans to hold opening Plenary sessions each morning would be impossible in the largest meeting hall at the new site, which has capacity for 1700. Some NGOs suggest that they would need a facility that could accommodate 15,000. Members of the NGO Forum will travel to Beijing this week to visit the proposed site, and possibly to explore alternatives.