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COP29 hosting

Julian Popov: It would be a shame if the COP29 hosting dispute diverts attention from the essential negotiations in Dubai

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One of the contentious issues that diplomats are trying to resolve on the eve of the COP28 UN climate summit is the hosting of the next COP29 meeting, informs Politico. According to expectations the host of the forum in 2024 should be a country from Eastern Europe. Russia however is against a state from the region that is also a member of the EU to accept COP29.

At the same time Azerbaijan and Armenia are blocking each other’s bids and the choice to host COP29 is deadlocked days before the start of this year’s conference in Dubai. This puts global efforts to tackle the climate crisis at risk.

If no one takes over, this year’s host will remain at the helm until COP30 in 2025, and the UAE will continue to be in charge of negotiating key decisions such as climate finance and the parties’ commitment to post-2030 climate goals, adds Politico.

Does Bulgaria have a chance for COP29?

Russia’s official position is that it does not believe that Bulgaria or any other EU country will be impartial in leading the COP29,” Bulgarian Environment and Water Minister Julian Popov told Politico.

Bulgaria has already officially offered to host the next conference. Behind closed doors, however, the Russian arguments are that they are blocked by EU countries on various topics related to the war in Ukraine,” adds Popov in the interview.

This is the way Russia is retaliating against the EU.

Russia has chosen to hold these negotiations almost hostage,” Tom Evans, policy adviser on climate diplomacy and geopolitics at the non-governmental research organization E3G, told Politico.

The debate over the next host of the conference is fueling geopolitical tensions ahead of the Dubai forum, which will take place at the height of global discord over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the war between Israel and Hamas and the debt crisis gripping developing countries.

The hosting of COP conferences traditionally rotates between the five UN regional groups. The group of 23 Eastern European countries must choose the host country by consensus. In the past, COP conferences simply approved the chosen host candidate put forward by the respective regional group.

Today, the decision must be made in the midst of contentious negotiations on a range of issues from the future of fossil fuels to financial support for poorer countries.

It would be a shame to let the hosting dispute distract from the substantive talks in Dubai. We still don’t know who will lead the process next year. This harms the entire process of the COP and will inevitably have a negative impact on the quality of the negotiations,” Minister Popov also told Politico.

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