Home » Experts & Interviews » How to Capitalize on the Newly Established UN entity, Green Climate Fund (GCF)

How to Capitalize on the Newly Established UN entity, Green Climate Fund (GCF)

As Songdo, Incheon was officially chosen as the base for a newly established entity of the UNFCCC, the MICE community in Korea was overwhelmed with excitement. Such enthusiastic responses from the industry were generated due to the potential economic and socio-cultural impact of having a highly acclaimed international body namely the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in place. But the critical question is yet to be answered: how can we as an industry take full advantage of having the GCF under our roof? The Global MICE Insight interviewed the formal Senior Information Technology and Joint Secretariat Social Officer of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Sue-Kyong Shin, to get the answer to this question.

 

GMI: Ms. Shin, what are the primary objectives of the IMF in-house PCO, and what role did you play within the organization?

Shin:

International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (Bank) hold joint conferences (meetings) on an annual basis, each spring in April (termed Spring Meetings) and usually during the fall in September/October (termed Annual Meetings).

These Meetings each year bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.

The IMF and the World Bank share a joint office named Bank-Fund Conferences Office (BFCO) that carries out functions to convene joint meetings of their Boards of Governors. Under the supervision of the Secretary of the IMF and the Vice President and Corporate Secretary of the Bank, the BFCO has the following responsibilities and duties:

  • Coordinates the program and related administrative arrangements for the Chairman of the Boards of Governors during the Annual Meetings. The office prepares Board documents concerning the Annual Meetings, information booklets, and production schedules.
  • Prepares the Memorandum of Understanding between the future host country (for Annual Meetings held overseas every third year) and the Secretary of the IMF and the Vice President and Corporate Secretary of the Bank; The office conducts site surveys in countries that have expressed interest in hosting the Annual Meetings, directs preparatory missions to countries selected to host the meetings, and organizes the program for visiting planning teams.
  • Provides organizational and support services for the spring and fall meetings of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Development Committee; also provides organizational and support services for related ministerial meetings, seminars, and press conferences.
  • Prepares and monitors the budgets for the Annual Meetings and the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and Development Committee.

 

There are a number of experts named Joint Secretariat (JS) Officers who are seconded (temporarily released from their current job to be part of the JS team members to work on Annual Meetings related tasks) from the IMF and the World Bank Group during the build-up period (on an ad hoc basis throughout the year, but more closely for a couple of months prior to start of the Meetings period) of the Annual Meetings. The JS Officers work independently under the general direction of the head of the BFCO, coordinating very closely with other JS Officers in charge of different areas.

 

I wore two hats. As head of the Software Applications Office for the Annual Meetings, my responsibilities were to provide development and maintenance of the information technology (IT) services in conducting the online and walk up registration activities and to distribute badges to the different categories of Meetings participants, Human Resources related processes, and financial transactions for the Annual Meetings.

 

As head of the Social/Protocol Office, I was in charge of all official social events which the host government traditionally organizes for the entitled categories of official participants. These social events typically include:

 

  • Luncheon for Spouses of Governors
  • Welcoming Luncheon/Reception for all Spouses
  • Dinner for Governors and their Spouses
  • Host Government Cocktail Reception for Entitled Official Participants
  • Cultural Event (Concert or Dance Performances)
  • Hospitality Tour Program for Spouses (which may include museum visits, local tours, seminars and other activities that focus on the culture and history of the host country).

The sample activities related to the above events include the designing of the invitation cards, selection of gifts to the participants and spouses, seating arrangement protocols, and responsibility for any unforeseen or emergency situation that could cause embarrassment to any guest.

 

In order to accomplish the duties of the JS Social Office, for example, I would need to closely coordinate with the various JS Offices such as the Security (admittance control at the events), Transportation (for guests to attend different venues for social events) , Procurement (purchase of invitational material, printing), Hotel (to find out where certain VIPs are staying), Office Arrangements (provision of work spaces for my team and necessary supplies), and HR (staff resources to create my team members), Registration (to create guests lists for the social events), etc.

My position as the IMF/World Bank Joint Secretariat Social/Protocol Officer enabled me to participate in the G20 Summit in Seoul in 2010 to assist the G20 Committee Protocol Office.

 

GMI: How is the BFCO structured, and what is the annual budget of the organization?

Shin :

The BFCO usually has 14 Joint Secretariat (JS) Officers who work independently under the general supervision of the head of the BFCO. The JS Officers ordinarily perform their functions during the non-meetings period (for example, I , as a Team Leader for software applications developments, have already completed and tested programs for the launching of various online registrations modules, generation of badge printings, etc.) and have discretion to hire staff resources (from within the IMF or World Bank Group institutions or external contractual expert individuals or service providers) who can support necessary operations for their areas of responsibilities, which include:

  • Communications
  • Documents and Records
  • Finance
  • Meeting Services
  • Social Events
  • Hotel Accommodation
  • Human Resources
  • Language Services
  • Office and Public Spaces
  • Procurement
  • Registration and Credentials
  • Security and Transportation
  • Shipments
  • Technology (voice communication, audio visual production services, computer technology, network engineering, information systems)

Due to confidentially of budget information, I regret that I am not able to provide budget figures at this time, but I will try to make a request if some figures can be publicized.

 


GMI: Does the BFCO manage all of the meetings hosted by the IMF? If not, does it employ 3rd parties as needed?

Shin :

Each JS Officer may work with different service providers or vendor companies, but outsourcing is generally limited to certain areas where the in-house expertise or resource is lacking. For example, the JS Hotel Accommodation Officer uses outsourcing for the preparation of terms and conditions for selected hotels and the allocation, processing, and confirmation of reservations of official participants.

 

GMI: Does the BFCO establish partnerships with the local stakeholders for the operational purposes?

Shin :

We do not generally form partnerships. When the IMF/World Bank Group Annual Meetings are held overseas, however, we form partnerships with the government that hosts the Meetings. We do hire diverse service providers, but they are not in partnership as they are more like subcontractors.

 

GMI: How many meetings are held on a yearly basis?

Shin :

There are two major meetings, Spring Meetings and Annual Meetings. During the period of the Annual Meetings, as well as the week preceding, many related ministerial meetings are held, including meetings of the International Monetary and Financial committee (IMFC); the Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the IMF on the Transfer of Real Resources to Developing Countries (Development Committee); other ancillary meetings of Delegations, regional groups, Executive Directors’ constituencies; and representative of civil society; seminars; and press conferences.

 

The Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank are normally held twice in a row in Washington and every third year in one of the member countries. And “Annual Meetings 2012 Schedule”, containing the list of schedule of events during the most recent Annual Meetings held in Tokyo in October 2012, is as follows.

 

2012 Annual Meetings Arrival Statistics

Category 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Bank Staff

106

195

267

230

218

308

209

250

271

210

230

313

Contractual

0

647

4874

541

577

7072

739

809

303

826

858

468

CSO

0

0

0

0

147

291

249

307

498

356

585

634

Delegates

0

2347

2950

2473

2735

3486

2906

2816

2966

3036

3386

3593

Dependents

0

8

100

21

1

49

1

1

131

1

0

124

Executive Directors

0

370

310

459

485

352

481

483

334

481

509

370

Fund Staff

0

188

158

179

129

163

169

179

150

259

260

177

Guests

0

306

350

265

248

298

255

203

262

215

313

281

JS Staff

0

304

220

211

210

261

236

195

199

174

153

153

NS Staff

0

0

0

0

0

0

12

11

0

0

0

3

Observers

0

246

341

273

284

270

322

407

371

380

604

414

Other Participants

0

28

5

8

4

298

22

29

53

139

293

42

Press

0

1423

1247

605

601

1554

771

963

1158

812

949

1667

Security

0

147

1979

94

117

18

72

61

803

47

71

14

Seminar Speakers

0

22

49

35

11

78

12

19

39

25

1

25

Spouse

0

1

404

2

0

324

45

4

463

5

6

343

Visitors

0

1503

2354

1561

1628

2522

1809

1357

2169

1564

2048

2970

Grand Total

106

7735

15608

6957

7395

17344

8310

8094

10170

8530

10266

11591

 

GMI: What is the general procedure of the Annual Meetings? And what is the average scale of those meetings (i.e. the #. of visitors, guests and speakers)

Shin :

The timeline of key tasks or events to organize the Annual Meetings covering the following schedule is attached:

  • Selection of the country to host the meeting, governance and budget framework, priority planning activities
  • Operational planning
  • Implementation
  • Closure and Dismantling

The Annual Meetings bring together over 300 Ministers of Finance and Heads of Central Banks, or comparable officials, representing 187 member countries. Their discussions require the presence of national advisers and international civil servants and attract large numbers of representatives from both public and private financial institutions who are invited as Special Guests, senior staff of the IMF and World Bank Group Institutions, press representatives, Visitors, and member civil society organizations. Total attendance for participants at recent overseas Annual Meetings has been over 10,000 attendants, including spouses but excluding local staff. Please refer to the attachment “Annual Meetings Statistics” for the breakdown of the participants and their actual attendance figures marked under “ARRIVED”.

 

GMI: Is there a specific type of venues (e.g. purpose-built convention centers, hotels and museums) preferred by the BFCO? How are different types of venues used?

Shin :

Convention Center – For big receptions, it is advantageous if the venue is in the Meetings Center in order to simplify parking problems and the security screening process.

Hotel – For smaller events (less than 150 people), hotels provide nice settings.

Museums – For smaller special events (less than 100), museums provide nice backdrops.

 

GMI: A rosy future of the MICE industry has been painted since Songdo, Incheon was selected as the base for the Green Climate Fund. What kind of impact do you think will be generated by operating the GCF in Korea according to your past experience at the IMF?   

Shin :

There are many different kinds of visitors, and they have a large impact on the places they visit. Meetings and convention participants from outside the host country are generally the highest per capita revenue generators. For example, convention participants typically engage in pre and post-meeting travel, adding a few extra days onto their schedule for side trips to take in the local area and interesting cities around the country. In addition, many Embassies of the member countries host either receptions or gala dinners to welcome the VIPs from their own countries, so the event related activities multiply as spin offs to the main IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings. The visitors also affect the local economies in that the event venues become one of the largest food and beverage users in the area because of the number of meal functions they serve. The venues are also huge users of local services such as maintenance, security, technical, and communications.

 

GMI: What should Korea do as a MICE destination in order to create market demand through capitalizing on the GCF?

Shin:

International convention delegates are the most sophisticated travelers. Since the meetings and conventions have a large effect on the local economy, the local government must make the effort to provide a clean and safe environment with modern facilities and technological services in the convention venues, hotels, and surrounding areas. In addition, the local government must showcase its local products, culture, and services and make an effort to draw more participants to the meetings.

 

GMI: Do you think the GCF should establish an in-house PCO team within the organization as the IMF does?

Shin:

I believe the formation of the Conference Office with a team of JS Officers (hybrid model) using the format that is being deployed by the IMF and the World Bank Group should work well with the organization of the GCF international meetings. JS Officers can be drawn within the GCF staff resources, and any resources or services that are lacking in-house can be augmented through the hiring of PCOs, vendors, or contractors. Other than a few people who are part of the Conferences Office throughout the year, the JS Officers are short-term, seconded from their normal GCF duties. If GCF Meetings are rotated to be held in other member countries in the future, like the IMF/World Bank Annual meetings, the GCF in-house planning team has to coordinate with a planning committee of the member country on a continual basis, as collaboration for these meetings with the next overseas host country is a must.

At any rate GCF would need an in-house Social/Protocol Officer who has expertise in international protocols. For example, when Spain hosted the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in 1994, they wanted to play the Spanish national anthem before the Plenary begins. We had to explain to Spain government the international protocol in such a meeting in order for Spain to refrain from their plan to include national anthem to the program. Not all member countries have the proper understanding of the international nature of these meetings, so a GCF Protocol officer is required who has expertise in this area.

Please take a look at the “Timeline of Key Tasks or Events” below to see both the required coordination of activities with a future host government and the tasks that need to be carried out in preparation for the Meetings.

 

Timeline of Key Tasks or Events

The approximate timeline below is a general outline of the tasks involved in planning and implementing Annual Meetings outside Washington headquarters and also the timeline for planning the preparation for the Meetings in headquarters. The timeline is specified in number of months prior to the start date of the Meetings.

 

Selection, Governance and Budget Framework, Priority Planning Activities

 

54 month – member government submit interest in hosting the Meetings

46 month – BFCO conducts site evaluations for the candidate host countries

42 month – select site of the next overseas Meetings

40 month – host government (HG) establishes the Planning Team and lines of reporting/oversight for the preparation of Annual Meetings

 

Operational Planning

 

36 month – Governors of the Host Government and heads of the Bank and Fund sign Memorandum of Understanding

34 month – Joint Secretariat (JS) Officers’ mission to host country to discuss office arrangements, meeting room arrangements, hotel accommodation, local personnel, local transportation, international transportation, official social events, and supplies/equipment/furniture, etc.

30 month – JS provides Host Government with the number and types of hotel rooms that will be required.

24 month – Host Government staff members of the Planning Team observe Washington Annual Meetings. Host Government begins procurement activities for all goods and services required for the Meetings.

22 month – JS mission to host country to discuss office arrangements, meeting room arrangements, registration, data communications issues, supplies/equipment/furniture, telephone arrangements, printing requirements, transportation, official Bank and Fund social events, security, and hotel accommodations. JS inspects and approves mock-up of temporary offices, including soundproofing, lighting, carpeting, air conditioning, etc.; Host Government reaches agreement with JS on general catering arrangements for the Meetings.

14 month – Host Government in consultation with JS prepares request for proposal (RFP) for audiovisual vendor and Program of Seminars (POS) provider.

Host government proposes suitable local recruitment agencies for recruitment of temporary local personnel.

Initiate and finalize visa and entry procedures for participants

 

Implementation

 

12 month – Host government staff, JS counterparts, and audiovisual vendor to observe Washington Annual Meetings.

Host Government submits for approval the types of furniture and equipment (i.e., copiers, faxes, PCs, printers, telephone switch, telephone instruments) to be provided.

10 month –JS and host government agree on selection of local recruitment agency and brief the agency on requirements.

JS provide job descriptions for local staff required for Meetings.

Host Government provides JS with proposals from prospective vendors for providing printing equipment and operators, print services, and paper for the on-site print shop.

Host Government and JS determine customs clearance, inspection, and arrival procedures for air and sea shipments, and government shipping vendor appointed facilitate customs clearance of JS goods, deliver goods to Meetings site, etc.

9 month – Host Government identifies speakers and sponsors for Program of Seminars.

Host Governments’ hospitality program and official social events finalized.

Host Government to present samples of gifts for participants.

7 month – Host Government’s embassies and consulates are prepared to issue entry document and visas, if required.

JS mission to host country to discuss office arrangements, meeting room arrangements, financial arrangements, local personnel, supplies/equipment/furniture, hotel accommodation, communications, and security.

6 month –JS confirms banking services and arrangements with local bank.

Host Government and JS to finalize details for transport signage and printed materials, i.e., permits and transport booklet.

Host Government and JS finalize transport arrangements at airport, between airport and hotels and Meetings site, and for all social and cultural events, as well as arrangements for Delegation cars, diplomatic vehicles, taxis, and rental cars.

5 month – JS confirms quantities of furniture and equipment desired.

3 month – Host Government provides JS with draft of the Guide for Participants and other Host Government publications

JS opens satellite BFCO Office in host city.

Host Government makes promotional presentation in Washington to Bank and Fund staff.

Host Government provides JS listings of Host Government Special Guests and Visitors.

JS conducts recruitment interviews for local staff.

Host Government finalizes the booklet for the spouse hospitality and tours program (in English, French, and Spanish).

Host government and JS cable/wire and set up all offices, function spaces, meeting rooms, and other space required for Meetings.

Host Government assigns hosts for each official social event.

Host Government begins local staff registration

2 month –Data communication links activated.

Some JS Offices start operation at Meetings site.

Limited shuttle bus service begins for JS staff.

HG security staff begin to take up posts as necessary.

1.5 month – Uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to be activated.

In consultation with JS, HG to tet electrical circuitry at Meetings site.

1 month – Hotel reservation cut-off date.

Supply room to begin operation.

Remainder of JS offices at Meetings site to open..

HG and JS setup all remaining space, e.g., medical room, plenary hall, lounges, food courts, and bank.

HG delivers to Registration Office the hospitality program booklets, guidebooks, transport schedule, gifts, and all other materials to JS.

HG delivers to Registration Office all prepared Participant Handbooks adninvittions for Social and cultural events.

Arrangements for banqueting facilities to be uses by JS are finalized.

15 days – HG tests emergency plans in consultation with JS.

11 days – Security perimeter in place.

All facilities for the Meetings to be ready.

8 days – Delegations begin to occupy their offices.

Registration opens (on-line registration usually opens two to three months in advance).

All meetings facilities to be fully operational.

6 days – Press room opens.

5 days – Annual Meetings and related proceedings begin.

Closure and Dismantling

The JS will close down operations one week after the conclusion of the Meetings. The schedule for closure of all operations and vacating the spaces used for the meetings is coordinated between JS and HG planning team in advance, to ensure an orderly dismantling process. The JS Procurement and Finance Offices will process all invoices submitted for payment. All remaining payments will be processed from Washington.

 

GMI: There are a number of PCOs and meeting professionals in Korea. What do you think they can do to meet the market needs?

Shin:

A convention is a highly complex enterprise that uses dozens of services to deliver the right experience. A convention requires event organizers, audio visual companies, lighting specialists, decorators, communications suppliers, printers, security companies, etc., as well as all the activities surrounding the convention such as banquets, special presentations, side trips, and entertainment. As such PCOs and event experts can provide contractual assistance for their specialized services to assist in preparation and operation of the meetings, conventions, tours, and exhibitions.

 

GMI: How can we capitalize on the GCF to stimulate and boost the MICE industry in Korea, especially the number of meetings hosted?

Shin:

It[the GCF] needs to build a clear event timeline and outline and organize[s] a planning committee consisting of staff that has expertise in each area of the meetings operations. It is important to engage a Social/Protocol Officer early on to ensure that international protocols are properly followed, as international meetings are very different from national meetings. The surrounding area where the meetings will be held should be upgraded (facilities, all kinds of services, and shopping experiences) to match the expectations of the sophisticated travelers. It helps to have a friendly community where people can speak English so that the travelers can communicate better and feel more at ease.

 

I had a chance to attend the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Annual Meetings held in Jeju Island in 2004. Some of the Meetings participants were frustrated because, outside of the major hotels, there was nothing much to eat (mainly seafood was available), and they could not communicate with merchants and taxi drivers (I noticed during my last visit in 2011 that the situations there have improved).  

 

28Ms. Sue-Kyong Shin, a recently retired (April 2012) Senior Information Technology Officer (Team Leader) and Joint Secretariat Social Officer (Protocol) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was wearing two hats in her working life at IMF. The first was as Senior Information Technology Officer (Team Leader) in Financial and Administrative Systems Division, Technology and General Services Department for 35 years. As a Team Leader, she was responsible for managing a group of system analysts in providing and supporting financial and administrative software application developments such as the IMF’s financial operations with 187 member countries, Annual Meetings, Conferences and Event Management, as well as the Facilities and Real Estate Management computer systems. 

Her second role was as Joint Secretariat Social Officer (Protocol), Bank / Fund Conferences Office for World Bank Group and IMF. As the head of the Social Office, she was responsible for coordinating and implementing various activities in support of major Annual Meetings official social events such as receptions/luncheons/dinners/cultural programs/sightseeing tours, including events hosted by heads of state (Presidents/Kings) for the World Bank and IMF member countries.

Ms. Shin was born in Seoul, Korea and has lived in Washington from her teenage years. After retiring from the IMF last year, she currently works as a free lance consultant in planning international conferences/conventions and delivering lectures on international protocol and executive business etiquettes mainly in USA, Greece, and Korea.

 

 

comment closed

Copyright © 2009 · Global MICE Insight · All Rights Reserved · Posts · Comments