SANTIAGO – Despite the crisis in Chile, ex-Foreign Affairs Minister Teodoro Ribera confirmed the two high-profile summits Chile scheduled to host this year – COP25 and APEC – will not be canceled. The events are planned to take place in a couple of weeks, but are now surrounded by controversy, due to the current uncertain political climate.
With two international summits ahead, and amidst a historical crisis shaking the country, Foreign Affairs Minister Teodoro Ribera confirmed to daily La Tercera before he resigned, “We will carry on with the planning of both events, [still] logically adapting to our circumstances.”
The Conference of the Parties (COP25) climate summit and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference are global signature events. For the former, apart from officials from 196 countries, personalities like climate activist Greta Thunberg and Youth for Climate founder Anuna De Wever are also expected. Meanwhile, chances are Presidents Trump and Xi could sign a trade war truce during the APEC event.
But in light of the historic, million-strong march that took place on October 25, and the ongoing unrest that started last week, some figures expressed concern about the conferences. Yet, according to La Tercera, the UN Office of Climate Change in Bonn said “[the UN] has received guarantees from the Chilean government, which has taken measures to reestablish order in Santiago and other parts of the country. We will continue our planning for the COP25, with the safety and protection of the participants as our highest priority.”
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🗣️ #NoEstamosEnGuerra: Chancellor Teodoro Rivera said that the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP25, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will not be cancelled; instead, preparations will adapt to the current national circumstances.
From December 2 to 13, COP25 is scheduled to take place in Santiago de Chile. As the main global summit to fight climate change its purpose is to boost environmental policies and open conversation and projects to save the planet. Additionally, participants will examine the progress made under the Paris Agreement and aim to strengthen previous commitments.
The APEC forum is planned for November 16 and 17, also in the capital. It focuses on the economic development of its 21 member economies, with among them Russia, Japan, China, Australia, Canada, the United States and Mexico. APEC includes the biggest economies and focuses on free trade. Any deals signed could therefore boost global growth, with former Foreign Affairs Minister Ribera saying they could “give indirect jobs to 7 million people,” according to La Tercera.
The decision to carry on with both conferences caused preoccupation among some politicians. Senator Ximena Rincón, for example, said she would present a petition to move the COP25 to Costa Rica, arguing that Chilean authorities should completely focus on their country’s situation, instead of organizing massive international events. Former presidential candidate José Antonio Kast also rejected the event, saying in La Tercera newspaper that “there weren’t the right financial conditions to host the COP25 or APEC.”
For the government, canceling the events is not an option because too much effort went into planning; one year just for APEC. Former Foreign Affairs Minister Ribera said on CHV News that he consulted with participant governments, “and none has questioned their participation.”
Both summits could boost the Piñera administration’s international image, just when calls for his resignation surge and a UN mission is on its way to investigate human rights abuses by armed forces during the recent protests. Conversely, if his government fails to end the protests in time, his reputation will be irreparably tarnished. But with more than a million Chileans in the streets on Friday, the summits could turn out the least of his concerns.
Camila Huecho is a journalism student at Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, currently interning at Chile Today. As a freelance illustrator and Fellow at the Melton Foundation, she works to bring information and cultures together through communications and art.