Written by: Kimberly White 

The UN Climate Change Conference, COP25, has officially been moved to Spain. Initially set to take place in Santiago, Chile, COP25 will take place at the scheduled time from December 2nd-13th in Madrid.

“We are pleased to announce the COP Bureau has agreed that COP25 will take place from 2-13 December in IFEMA – Feria de Madrid in Madrid, Spain,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change.

The announcement came after the Chilean government cancelled the global summit due to a wave of protests in Chile. What begun as a protest over a 3.7% metro fare increase, has since expanded to protests about social inequality. The recent unrest is the worst Chile has seen since the end of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship in 1990. 

“This has been a very difficult decision – which has caused us great pain – because we understand perfectly the importance [of the events] for Chile and for the world,” said Sebastian Piñera, President of Chile. 

“Chile maintains it’s commitment for climate action and sustainable development, and will keep coordinating the Climate Ambition Alliance and working for carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Carolina Schmidt, COP25 President-designate.

Usually, host countries have one to two years to prepare and organize ahead of a COP summit. With only a month to prepare, Madrid will face logistical and security challenges ahead of COP25. The Summit is set to bring together governmental and environmental leaders from 196 countries. Past COP summits have drawn large crowds. COP24 in Katowice, Poland had nearly 30,000 participants. 

“It will be our pleasure to host COP25 in Madrid. A privilege to back and facilitate global action on climate; an honour to stress the European and LAC Spanish soul. Progressive and constructive multilateralism is the best answer to global challenges,” said Teresa Ribera, Spanish Minister of Ecological Transition. 

COP25 plays a crucial role in putting the Paris Agreement into practice. COP25 serves as the deadline for participating countries to update their first commitments and provides an opportunity for nations to “raise ambition ahead of implementation in 2020.”