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Climate conference Swiss federal authorities not keen on hosting COP26

Geneva view

View over Geneva, with the main building of Palais des Nations  and the famous water fountain "Le Jet d'Eau"

(© KEYSTONE / SALVATORE DI NOLFI)

Switzerland does not want to put its name forward to host a key international climate summit in 2020, known as COP26. The federal authorities say it would not be “wise”.

Officials from Geneva, home to over 30 international organisationsexternal link, including the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), had expressed an interest in holding the conference, but the government is against the move, it said on Friday, confirming a report on Swiss public television RTS.external link​​​​​​​

“In principle a COP (Conference of the Parties) on climate change takes place in the country which has the presidency,” a spokesperson for the environment ministry told Keystone-SDA.

‘“It’s indeed expected that the presidency will be attributed to the [UN designated] ‘Western European and Others Group’. But Italy has already announced its candidacy. The United Kingdom and Turkey have already indicated their interested, should Rome withdraw.”

Decision in Poland

Normally, the first country to announce its intentions is awarded the conference. The final decision will come in Katowice, Poland, which is due to start hosting the COP24external link from Sunday until December 14.

“In addition, it’s very short notice to organise such an event”, added the spokesman. “COPs have 20,000 participants, a budget of CHF150-200 million and a huge number of staff. We can’t manage all that.”

“In this context, it does not seem wise to put forward a Swiss candidacy.”

The ministry had confirmed at the end of October that it has received a request from Geneva to host the COP26.

The COP conferences are held every year, gathering together all the signatory countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Changeexternal link, which was agreed in Rio in 1992.

Brazil was due to host next year’s COP25, but it has already announced it had withdrawn its offer. Brazil’s nationalist president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, is known for his controversial views on the environment

Keystone-SDA/RTS/ilj

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