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An almost empty conference room, some people are searching seats. A big screen in front shows the title of the event,

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, participating in meetings and events remotely, connected from the private home through a computer or a phone, has become not only necessary but normal. Even though the Palais des Nations has reopened its doors for meetings in person, UN Geneva currently offers to hold meetings fully remotely or as a hybrid event with some participants present in the conference room while others are connected from outside. 

Allowing remote participation certainly has its advantages, giving representatives with limited financial resources the opportunity to participate in a meeting (avoiding the costs of travel to and accommodation in Geneva); and saving travel time, enabling high-level representatives with a tight schedule to participate. 

However, online meeting participation comes with a set of challenges - connectivity issues, technical failures or disturbing background noises being some of them. 

This page shows how remote participation is enabled in meetings and conferences organized by UN Geneva, which features are available to remote participants, and which guidelines participants should follow in order to make their active involvement in a remote meeting a success. 

Not all meetings are open to remote participation. The meeting organizers decide whether a meeting can (or must) be attended online. The form of the meeting (in-person, hybrid or online) will be indicated on the event page in Indico.UN. 

Delegates need to register in Indico.UN to participate online, just as they would register for an in-person event. Usually, the registration form includes a question about the form of participation, or the meeting organizers set up a second registration form for participants intending to partake remotely. You will find guidance on the respective event page in Indico.UN. 

A remote meeting or meeting component will usually take place using WebEx or Zoom, depending on the requirements of the meeting (e.g., number of participants, interpretation, etc.). Both platforms have a web application. Meeting participants will not need to download any software, although it is recommended to do so. Delegates will receive the meeting invitation link (either per mail or via Indico.UN) through which they can join the event. 

The meetings are moderated, and participants will usually have to join the meeting using their full names in order to be admitted, especially when the meeting is private.

illustration of a computer screen with a checklist.

Zoom offers the option of remote interpretation. Participants in a Zoom meeting will need to download the software to make use of this function. An "interpretation" button on the Zoom interface allows users to select their preferred language. 


During the meeting, no remote participants will be able to take the floor directly – i.e., they cannot simply turn on their microphones and start speaking. Rather, in order to take the floor, they need to:

  • Click on the ‘Raise Hand’ function.
  • Wait for the chairperson’s approval.
  • The technical moderator will unmute the speaker’s microphone.
  • The speaker can then take the floor.
  • The technical moderator will mute the microphone should the Chair so request, or should the Chair interrupt the delegate.
  • The technical moderator will mute the speaker’s microphone at the end of their intervention.
  • When the Chair calls upon a remote participant, he must click on the ’Raise Hand’ function.

In-person participants should follow standard procedure for requesting the floor. 

As an alternative means of communication, the chat/Q&A function is available during meetings with remote participation. It allows meeting attendees to interact with the chair and the panelists without requesting the floor.

There will be an opportunity for all participants to test their connection, their equipment and the quality of their sound as the meeting will always be open one hour in advance of a virtual/hybrid session. We strongly recommend that all key speakers, notably Chair(s) and panellists, connect for this test before the start of the meeting to check their connectivity (connection to the platform, audio- & video settings, etc.). Remote participants are strongly advised to download the zoom desktop app and ensure it is up to date.

In meetings which avail international Sign and captioning services, one of the meeting participants will be called "IS + CAPTIONING". 

  • On your Zoom client, find the video or thumbnail of this participant.
  • Click on the three dots on the upper right side of the participant's picture and select "PIN". The video will be pinned to your screen and will be visible to you throughout the meeting. 

Meetings with interpretation

Remote interpretation is a challenge as the sound quality does not compare to the sound inside a meeting room. Any additional disruption makes it difficult for interpreters to deliver on their duties. Please read the following tips and see the video examples to create an ideal setting for remote meetings and their interpretation.