CCE Statement on Relocation of COP25

A statement from Citizens’ Climate Education on the decision to move the COP25 UN climate negotiating session to Madrid.

The COP25 is a moment of historic importance, when nearly 200 nations will share strategies for rapid upgrading of ambition in national climate action.

We were, of course, disappointed to learn of Chile’s decision not to host the COP25 in Santiago as planned, but we understand the need for an urgent national discussion about specific reforms to achieve a more just social, economic, and political reality for the Chilean people.

We recognize also that the change of venue disrupts the many months of hard work done by people of good will, both within the Chilean COP25 Presidency team and among the wider civil society. The COP25 Presidency had made historic strides in the expansion of meaningful space for citizens and stakeholders to engage in the COP process.

Our mission is to bring people into responsible, constructive relationship with their representatives in government, for the sake of our collective climate future.

Climate disruption is a crisis of structural injustice brought to industrial scale and projected through natural systems. No nation is well-positioned to resolve injustice if its systems and institutions are themselves are not reliably just.

We hope the Chilean government will honor its stated commitment to open engagement with citizens and civil society, both in the relocated COP25 process and in its negotiations with Chilean citizens calling for reform. We believe that commitment demands full respect, at all times, for the primacy of the most fundamental human right—the right to remain free from the threat of repressive violence, and to be protected in that right by the rule of law. We do not believe there is any circumstance in which citizens seeking solutions should be met with military deployments, violent force, or extrajudicial activity by security forces—of any level of authority, in any country.

Addressing the root causes of climate disruption means addressing the drivers of socio-economic inequality and injustice; it means fostering healthier economies that deliver more value to more people, and allow local communities to thrive without being dependent on business models that pollute or generate structural injustice.

By calling for the integration of the science of the ocean and cryosphere, land use and terrestrial ecosystems, and the dangers of global heating above 1.5ºC into NDCs [1], the COP25 Presidency has issued the highest-ambition call to the COP ever made. It is also true that without rising to that level of ambition, the 196 Parties in the UNFCCC process will not be able to achieve enough climate-smart change quickly enough to avoid disaster.

We thank Spain for volunteering to host the COP25 in Madrid, and ask Spain’s government to also support the broad engagement of civil society, citizens and stakeholders. As the COP25 is relocated to Madrid, we reaffirm our commitment to create spaces for meaningful participation by people of diverse voices and circumstances around the world.

Our OpenCOP process will create opportunities for engagement through:

Representing—and building on the work of—155,000 Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers in 52 countries requires that we work for a future in which the right to a safe future of liberated, inclusive prosperity is honored for all. We invite all observers, and all Parties, to formalize their commitment to that climate-smart future of shared prosperity, and to work with others toward a more open process of decision-making, at all levels.

[1] Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the global climate response under the Paris Agreement.