The United Nations has agreed to Spain’s offer to host the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid in early December, after Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced last week that his government would not be able to host the summit of world leaders to discuss urgent climate-change matters due to ongoing political unrest in the Chilean capital, Santiago.
The switch of the COP25 summit venue to Spain with just four weeks notice provides enormous logistical challenges, but acting Spanish President Pedro Sánchez stepped forward within 24 hours of Piñera’s announcement to negotiate the change of venue to Madrid, with the United Nation’s announcing its ratification of the agreement on Friday.
The venue shift will bring an estimated 25,000 delegates from 200 countries worldwide to Madrid’s IFEMA conference center, where from 2nd-13th December world leaders and their representatives are set to finalize the regulatory framework governing the 2016 Paris accord on greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
A statement issued by the Spanish government said that Sánchez offered Spain as an alternative venue “given the short time available, the importance of ensuring that the COP25 is held normally and in accordance with the priorities of Spain’s foreign policy.”
The agreement allows Chile to continue to preside over the COP25 meeting, while designating Spain as the venue host country, a move that the government said “allows Chile and the Ibero-American region to capitalize its commitment to multi-lateralism and (recognizes) the immense effort it has been making since the beginning of the summit preparation began 10 months ago.”
The relocation of this year’s COP25 marks the second time the venue has been changed. It was originally scheduled to take place in Brazil in November, but in November 2018 newly-elected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced his country’s withdrawal of an offer to host the summit, citing economic reasons.
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