MADRID – Chile officially received the presidency of the Conference of Parties from Poland, as the climate summit got underway in the Spanish capital on Monday.
In a ceremonial act between the Chilean Minister of the Environment Carolina Schmidt and her Polish counterpart Michal Kurtyka in Madrid, Chile received the presidency of COP25.
The Chilean minister lamented the fact the event had to be moved to Madrid after a wave of protests, which started on 14 October, plunged the Latin American country into a deep social crisis.
“In Chile and the world, we are experiencing social and environmental crises.
“To face them, we must return to our roots: we must listen to each other to rebuild trust and dialogue with a willingness to change,” Schmidt said at the handing over ceremony.
Schmidt said that Chile was assuming the presidency on behalf of Latin America and the Caribbean, where developing countries are severely affected by climate change.
“We have different social, environmental and economic problems than developed countries that deepen with climate change.
“They are differentiated emergencies that we can only face if we work together with multilateralism and solidarity,” she said.
The world will only be able to face the biggest collective challenge together, she urged.
The minister said that a transition to sustainable, low-emissions and climate-resilient economies needs to speed up and she pressed governments to make more ambitious pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the 2020 deadline.
“Those who don’t want to see it will be on the wrong side of history,” Schmidt said.
Meanwhile, acting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez met with 15 European Union leaders.
Sanchez arrived at the venue in the capital where the summit launched at 8.30 am (7.00 GMT) to meet senior EU representatives including the new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and recently appointed vice president and High Representative of EU Foreign Policy and Common Security Josep Borrell.
“Spain hosts the COP25 with the ambition and leadership of the EU,” Sanchez tweeted Monday morning.
“This Summit will mark the beginning of the mobilization and the concrete actions of governments to increase emissions reductions. It is #TimeToAct.
“First meeting with the new leaders of the European institutions,” the PM added posting the tweet with a photo alongside the EU’s top brass.
According to the agenda provided by the Spanish Government, Sanchez will hold two bilateral meetings with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, followed by a meeting with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Sanchez will then launch the COP25 and open the climate conference with a speech.
The Spanish Government said Sanchez would also be meeting Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, and President of Ecuador Lenin Moreno, in a schedule that is yet to be determined.