Highlights and images for 2 December 2019


Teresa Ribera, Minister for the Ecological Transition, Spain; IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee; Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Spain; Carolina Schmidt, COP 25 President, Chile; UN Secretary-General António Guterres; and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, welcome delegates to the offical opening of COP 25.

The Chile/Madrid Climate Change Conference opened under the glare of camera lenses and flashes: the fast-paced atmosphere inevitably created when Heads of State and Government arrive. Roughly 50 world leaders gathered to hear UN Secretary-General António Guterres somberly declare that the “point of no return is in sight.”

As these dignitaries shared experiences on raising climate ambition in their countries, many emphasized that enhanced action is a moral imperative. Notably, several speakers spoke of a “climate crisis” and paid tribute to youth movements for holding decision makers accountable for increasing ambition. Another message that resonated across statements was the need to support the most vulnerable, with the Dominican Republic emphasizing the importance of public services, especially regarding education and health, and Luxembourg announcing national plans to make public transportation free for all. The EU highlighted its plan to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050.COP 25 President Carolina Schmidt, Chile, underscored the need to reinvigorate multilateralism and ensure that negotiations spur the just and inclusive transition which is urgently needed to address the reality of vulnerable communities around the world.

Throughout the day, delegates met in plenary to launch the work of all five UNFCCC bodies. Much of the morning involved discussions on the agendas of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA). Various parties and groups had proposed several new agenda items. Some of the items to be taken forward include:

  • Privileges and immunities to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will be considered with other GCF-related issues on the COP agenda;
  • The special needs and circumstances of African and Latin American countries will not be on the CMA agenda, but the special circumstances of Africa will be discussed informally; and
  • The report of the Adaptation Committee will be added to the CMA agenda, and parties will discuss the global goal on adaptation in an informal meeting.

Some delegates worried if the disagreements over the agendas, and the means to resolve some of them, had eroded trust among negotiators. Others disagreed and looked forward to a more “normal” pace of work tomorrow.

For more details on the day’s negotiations and to hear what delegates said in the corridors, see our daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB).

Formal Opening of COP 25

Delegates gather in plenary for the opening of COP 25.

Michał Kurtyka, COP 24 President, Poland

Carolina Schmidt, COP 25 President, Chile

Michał Kurtyka, COP 24 President, Poland, welcomes Carolina Schmidt, COP 25 President, Chile, to the podium to take over the presidency.

Delegates congratulate Carolina Schmidt, COP 25 President, Chile, on her election.

Ayşin Turpanci, Turkey

Ayman Shasly, Saudi Arabia

Dmytro Matiuschenku, Ukraine, calls a point of order during the session.

Ceremonial Opening of COP 25

View of the dais during the ceremonial opening of COP 25.

IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Spain

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

High-Level Roundtable

The high-level roundtable was convened to discuss aggregate efforts to address climate change and share views on how, in the run up to 2020, the gap in ambition could be bridged through new or updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Norway

Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg

President Alexander Van der Bellen, Austria

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, France

Prime Minister Henry Puna, Cook Islands

Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) Plenary

View of the dais during the opening of the SBI plenary.

SBI Chair Emmanuel Dlamini, eSwatini

Outi Honkatukia, EU

María del Pilar Bueno, Argentina, Co-Chair of the Adaptation Committee

Chizuru Aoki, the Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) Plenary

The “Warming Stripes” by Ed Hawkins are projected in plenary as the SBSTA opens.

Pasang Dolma Sherpa, Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP) Facilitative Working Group

Jörg Schulz, European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)

Elena Manaenkova, World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

SBSTA Chair Paul Watkinson, France

Joint Plenary for Statements

View of the dais during the joint plenary for statements.

Adalah Atteereh, Palestine, speaking on behalf of the G-77/China

Mohamed Nasr, Egypt, speaking on behalf of the African Group

Franz Perrez, Switzerland, speaking on behalf of the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG)

Ruel Yamuna, Papua New Guinea, speaking on behalf of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN)

Lois Young, Belize, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)

Zakir Hossain, Farmers

Antonia Zambra, Women and Gender

Mariano Sanz and Natalia Carrav, Trade Union NGOs

Action for Survival: Vulnerable Nations COP 25 Partners Leaders Event

Delegates during the high-level event.

President Juan Orlando Hernández, Honduras

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, US

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh

Dignitaries Attending COP 25

Dignitaries gather in the VIP lounge before the start of the opening ceremony.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Republic of the Congo

President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Costa Rica

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Spain

Sergio Bergman, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Argentina (center), and President Mauricio Macri, Argentina (right)

Family photo of the presidents, prime ministers, and other high-level dignitaries attending COP 25.

Around the Venue

UN Secretary-General António Guterres arrives at the venue.

Ovais Sarmad, UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa

Carole Dieschbourg, Minister of the Environment, Luxembourg

Helmut Hojesky, Austria

Members of the African Group speak informally.

Delegates from Liechtenstein.

Artwork on display as part of the 'Armazón Exhibition' that connects the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the fight against climate change.


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ENB images are free for use with attribution. For the Chile/Madrid Climate Change Conference, please use Photo by IISD/ENB Kiara Worth.

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