Spain To Host Climate Conference On Behalf Of Chile From December 2-13 In Madrid

The UN COP Bureau has accepted Spain’s offer to host the COP25 Climate Conference in Madrid from December 2-13, following a tumultuous few days after Chile suddenly withdrew from hosting the conference due to a massive wave of protests in Santiago.

In a short statement released Friday, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said, “We are pleased to announce the COP Bureau has agreed that COP25 will take place from 2-13 December in Madrid, Spain.”

Spain offered to host the upcoming UN Climate Conference (COP 25) on behalf of Chile on Thursday, which said on Wednesday that it could not stage this year’s meeting in Santiago due to security concerns related to the civil unrest that has been raging for the past two weeks in the capital city.

“Following [Wednesday’s] announcement, the Government of Chile, as incoming Presidency, has informed me that they received a generous offer of support from the Government of Spain to hold the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid on the same dates as originally planned. We are hopeful that the COP Bureau can consider this proposed solution as soon as possible,” said Espinosa, in a curt statement on Thursday, released by UN media. “It is encouraging to see countries working together in the spirit of multilateralism to address climate change, the biggest challenge facing this and future generations.”

The Spanish offer shed a glimmer of light over the troubled preparations for the 25th annual meeting of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) after plans fell into disarray for the second time in a year. Late last year, Brazil withdrew its request to host the 2019 conference, after the election of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro claimed the move was due to budget restrictions, but the new Brazilian leader has also appointed a climate skeptic as foreign minister, and has also taken steps to increase development in the sensitive Amazon rain forest region.


The bold, face-saving measure by Spain to host the 2-13 December conference should help revive some of the momentum around this year’s COP event, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Framework Convention. This year’s COP is also significant as it comes on the heels of the 23 September UN Climate Summit, where countries made a lukewarm showing of commitment to key mitigation measures that climate experts say are desperately needed to keep global warming below 2° C.

Even if formal country commitments to climate action remain weak, the annual conference usually draws tens of thousands of participants – and features a wide array of events and exhibits not only for official delegates but also involving civil society, businesses and the public.

Observers close to the conference preparations had assumed that following Chile’s announcement, the meeting by default would be moved to Bonn, Germany, home of the UNFCCC Secretariat. Now, however, the UNFCCC has accepted the offer by Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to use Madrid as the alternative location, which the Chileans have accepted and recommended to the UN.

Under the proposed arrangements, Chile would still assume the presidency of this year’s COP, while Spain hosts the event. A similar arrangement occurred in 2017, when COP23 was held in Bonn, while Fiji held the presidency.

1 November 2019 – This story has been updated to reflect recent announcements from the COP Bureau confirming the new location of COP25.

Image Credits: Cuellar .