At the end of the first week and half-way through the The 4th Preparatory Committee Meeting for the World Summit on
Sustainable Development (PrepCom IV) the security situation on Bali remains calm, despite a general air of discontent being voiced against the governments of the developed nations for allegedly failing to embrace the concerns and aspirations of the debt-ridden third world.
Numbers Not Materialized
Earlier predictions of between 6,000-10,000 visitors to Bali in connection with the PrepCom IV
conference seemed to have been grossly overstated. While no official figure have been reported, the general consensus is that the total number of participants is nearer to 2,000 official delegates and interested representatives of non-government organizations (NGO's) on the island. With the exception of a small illegal encampment at the Udayana University Campus in Jimbaran, predictions of large "people's camps" filling Serangan island have not materialized.
A warning of a
room shortage issued by Bali Tourism Board has also failed to occur. While hotels in the Nusa Dua are running at very high occupancy levels, rooms are still available all of the major tourist areas of Bali.
Security Crunch in the Week Ahead
A massive security presence comprised of over 5,000 Indonesian police and military personnel backed up by an even larger force of volunteer Balinese pacalang, or local village forces, have managed to overwhelm the number of attendees at the event. During the first week of PrepCom IV, demonstrators have been largely absent from the main conference area near the Bali International Conference Center (BICC)
with the exception of a single, small peaceful group of South African anti-debt protestors who penetrated police cordons by arriving at the
BICC in a delegate bus. That group, after briefly unfurling a banner and poster then adjourned at the police's request to an area removed from the main conference hall.
The critical test of the security
preparedness for the conference lies in the remaining week of the conference which culminates with the main pelanary sessions June 05-07,
2002. While the initial week has been preparatory in nature, VVIP ministerial delegations from over 130 nations will be on hand for the final week when papers and declarations are put in final form for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) scheduled to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa in Late August of this year.
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