As COP25 moves to Madrid, IIED highlights responsibility to poorest countries

Press release, 1 November 2019
In response to the news that the UN climate negotiations (COP25) will take place in Madrid, Spain, from 2-13 December 2019, rather than Santiago, Chile, IIED climate change director Clare Shakya says:

“With time running out to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown, it is imperative that the international climate talks do not lose momentum. 

“COP25 is a vital step in the pathway to COP26 in 2020 when we will have the first big moment of accountability following the Paris Agreement, and countries will be setting out further concrete action for how they will not only fulfil the commitments made in Paris, but increase their scale and ambition.”

Chile president Sebastian Piñera announced the country was withdrawing from hosting COP25 and the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting last Wednesday. The decision followed two weeks of protests against social inequality in Santiago and across the country.

“Social justice has to be at the heart of climate action, as shown by the people of Chile and many other people taking to the streets worldwide,” said Shakya.

“We must therefore ensure that the change of venue must not reduce access and opportunities for the poorest countries, and the social movements representing the poorest communities, to be heard. These are the people who suffer the greatest impacts from climate change, yet have done the least to create the problem.”

The change of host venue also affects the 17th Development & Climate Days, which was due to take place in Santiago from 7-8 December, in the middle weekend of COP25.

IIED is among the organisers of the annual event, which provides an informal space for policymakers, scientists and development practitioners to come together to explore common concerns and discuss strategic action.

Shakya added: “Over many years, D&C Days has proved to be extremely effective way for us to explore the ambitious plans and transformational systems that are needed to deliver climate resilience for all. Along with our partners, we are currently exploring the options for continuing to host and participate in the event at COP25.

“However, acquiring visas for grassroots participants to come to Madrid could be a challenge in the short time period available, and without these vital voices the ethos of D&C Days is potentially compromised. We therefore call for EU embassies worldwide to offer a fast and priority service to process visas of those travelling to the COP over the coming few weeks.”

As a result, registration for D&C Days has currently been halted, and organisers will be in touch with those who have already registered when more information is available.

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