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Switzerland decides against hosting COP31 in 2026

Giant puppet with globe in background
Little Amal was a giant puppet at the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2021. Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

The Swiss government has come out against a bid to host the 31st United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP31) in 2026.

One of the reasons given for the withdrawal is that Australia has already expressed an interest in hosting COP31 in collaboration with Pacific Island states.

“Because of the strong impact of climate change on these countries, their bid would be more likely to be selected. In addition, Australia has never hosted a UN Climate Conference, unlike Switzerland,” the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

The government also shared that an in-depth analysis of the COP31 organisational review by several ministries indicating that it would have been possible in principle to organise the climate conference in Switzerland in 2026.

The costs of such an organisation have been estimated at around CHF300 million ($300 million).


Instead, the government said it intends to launch initiatives in partnership with the chosen host for COP31, for example in the area of sustainable finance and market mechanisms for reducing emissions abroad.

Switzerland is not closing the door on hosting a future COP, however. The government stated that it will consider a bid when the Western European group of states are again in the running, probably in 2031.

In addition to organising the two-week conference, the presidency of a COP involves preparing the content of the negotiations and leading them.

The COP is the most important international conference for the global fight against climate change. Since 1995, it has been hosted each year by a different country. For a fortnight, it brings together between 25,000 and 40,000 participants, including heads of state and government, representatives of civil society and the media.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR