World Resources Forum 2013: Behind the Curtain

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World Resources Forum 2013 is just about to end – participants slowly drink their last coffees, organizers run around trying to fix the last problems that arise. The posters are slowly being taken down.

Murmi the Marmot - everyones favourite companion at this year's World Resources Forum.

Ieva Maniusyte

Murmi the Marmot - everyones favourite companion at this year's World Resources Forum.

The main organizers seem to be particularly stressed. “I am sorry, not now…”- when stopped, just sincerely apologizes asking to come back after a while. Though the lady that you normally see just after entering the Conference Center (the one that sits just next to a pile of marmots) smiles – almost no one is at the reception.

“I am Alexandra Schutzbach”, she says modestly. And no, this is not the first World Resources Forum she has to work at. She was also greeting the participants at the WRFs that took place in 2011 and 2009. “I currently work for EMPA St. Gallen – this is why I am here.”

When asked if working in such an event is not a demanding job, she quickly reacts: “No no, it is fun. It is really interesting to meet so many different people from different countries. It was real fun.”

When talking to the people who know the backstage of the Forum  well, you would expect to hear a variety of different stories they have. But Schutzbach hems and haws a moment: “No, not this year… No, I do not think we have had something. A few years ago, people kept losing strange things, but now… well, actually, you know, there was one thing this year.”

It seems that the nice gesture of two ladies from Uzbekistan will remain in the heart of the organizers for a long time. “Yesterday, just after the dinner was over, they left us some traditional presents. And for Martin, you know Martin? So, he received a traditional cloth, like a rope – and he was so happy, glowing!”

“It is not often that participant give us presents. Yes, they always say “Thank you” when leaving, but this is it. This is really special to me.”

A participant willing to ask for something or just simply say “Thank you” comes by. And everyone is back in their normal routine. The only thing that changes: It is supposed to snow tomorrow – as promised during the opening ceremony.

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