COP25: Chile

On March 7th, the UNFCCC Secretariat announced that Chile will be hosting COP25 on December 2nd-13th of 2019. While the exact venue has yet to be decided, the event will be hosted in Chile's capital city of Santiago. This announcement was important because the date of the next conference of the parties has been up in the air since Brazil rescinded their bid to host.

The Chilean government has had some exceptional environmental policies over the past few years. Under Former President Michelle Bachelet's administration, they approved the Energia 2050 policy, a framework document for transitioning their electricity grid to 70% Renewable Energy by 2050. They have taken steps to create new ecological preserves- most notably Marine Sanctuaries in Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and the Juan Fernandez Archipelago. Together with Kristen Thompkins, who's husband founded The North Face apparel company, they were able to add 13,000 hectares to create the Network of Patagonia National Parks in 2018. Just last month, Chile rolled out their Plastic Bag Ban on all major retailers in the country. Small Businesses have another year to find alternatives to plastic. Electric buses and newly marked bike lanes throughout Santiago also are expected to help the country to meet their NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) of de-coupling economic development from carbon emissions.

This COP is expected to showcase a lot of the progress the Chile has made, and hopefully create replicable examples for other countries of renewable energy policies that they can bring home to create equitable and environmentally sustainable energy sources. This could also become another Ocean COP, as COP23 was under the Fijian Presidency, given Chile has 4,270km of coastline.

At COP23, I had the opportunity to meet with the Chilean Delegation, hear some of their goals, and attend a panel discussion where Former Minister of the Environment Marcelo Mena shared about Chile's forestry preservation policies. I believe that we are very fortunate to have a country as organized and progressive as Chile hosting this 25th Conference of the Parties, the 25th meeting since the Rio Earth Summit where it all began. The Chilean government has taken great strides to protect it's natural spaces and work towards the Sustainable Development Goals. At this Silver Jubilee COP, Chile hopes to be a strong leader that carries the parties towards a more meaningful commitment to achieving "well below 2.0" going into the first Global Stocktake in 2020. 

-Sarah Voska, Online Youth Exchange Director