SLoCaT’s Response to Chile’s Withdrawal to Host COP25 – Note from SLoCaT Secretary General Maruxa Cardama

Dear Colleagues and Partners

The Government of Chile has made the difficult decision not to host COP25 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Commission Forum in view of the complex situation that the country is undergoing.

On the UNFCCC website, Executive Secretariat Ms. Patricia Espinosa has indicated that they are exploring alternative hosting options. Mr Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the Ministry for Environment (BMU) of Germany, has announced in Twitter that they have started consultations with the UNFCCC Secretary and COP24 Presidency. We understand that next steps will be primarily decided by the COP24 Bureau, which consists of the COP24 President and representatives of Parties on behalf of UN regional groups and Chairs of UNFCCC bodies, in consultation with the UNFCCC Secretariat. At the time of writing this message, it remains unclear how next steps in terms of date, venue, scope, format and conditions for participation in an eventual alternative COP could look like.

We would like to express our solidarity with the people of Chile. We are certain that their experience in collectively setting a renewed trail towards social cohesion and equity will be inspirational to all nations. There is no corner of the globe that is spared from the sheer need of responding to the interconnected challenges of this 21st century with socio-economic and environmental justice for all citizens.

In these demanding times, we encourage world leaders to continue to support the crucial UNFCCC process and the UNFCCC Secretariat, by overcoming barriers towards the organisation of COP25 in solidarity; as well as by showing robust climate action and ambition in 2020. Urgent and meaningful climate action is essential to achieving socio-economic and environmental justice.

We would like to express our sincerest appreciation to the entire Chilean Presidency Team for their hard work over these past months. We applaud Chile’s commitment to action towards overall decarbonisation and mobility transformation in particular and look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration.

In the current circumstances, in the SLoCaT Secretariat, we have decided to postpone the second COP25 infowebinar on behalf of the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC), which was scheduled for today in order to convey updates on our progress towards the organisation of our traditional Transport Day; as well as on our engagement with the Chilean Presidency towards the planned High-Level Meeting of Transport Ministers. In our capacity of appointed Marrakech Process co.-leads for transport, we remain in regular contact with UNFCCC colleagues; as well as with SLoCaT members directly engaged in UNFCCC delegations and constituencies. Special thanks go to ICLEI and GIZ colleagues for the intelligence exchanged over the past hours, as we all try to identify possible ways forward. We will promptly relay information through our social media channels as it becomes available. In the meanwhile, we encourage all partners to stay tuned for additional updates from the UNFCCC Secretariat.

This is not the first exceptional occasion experienced throughout the decades of UNFCCC process. In 2000, COP6 Den Haag was concluded in Bonn 8 months later, followed by COP7 Marrakech 5 months later in the same year. In 2013, COP23 was held in Bonn under the Presidency of the Government of Fiji. In both cases, Bonn was announced as the venue pursuant to the provisions of the UNFCCC, supported with appropriate time for planning and logistical preparations.

We can all understand that the challenge of identifying at this notice a host and suitable venue with the complexity of logistics traditionally associated to a fully-fledged COP is enormous. Scenario playing is tempting. A possible scenario could be a “reduced” COP25 hosted in Bonn or another available city, for Parties to discuss and negotiate a limited agenda of mandated items. Whether the use of online technologies for sessions or side events would be realistic in such scenario or not, is part of an exercise of reading in the tea leaves at this moment. Another scenario could imply COP25 being held in 2020. As you may know, the UK proposal to host COP26 in Glasgow in November 2020 on behalf of Western Europe and Others Group can only be confirmed at the COP25. The early UK national election recently confirmed for 12 December 2019 adds another parametre to factor in.

We thank our members and partners in advance for their patience as general information becomes available and we recalculate our plans. Please feel free to reach out to me or to our COO and Membership Director Talya Enriquez Romano for any queries.

Best regards

Maruxa Cardama – Secretary General, SLoCaT Partnership