Brazil has withdrawn its offer to host Latin America and Caribbean climate week, a key milestone leading up to the annual UN negotiations. Initially set to take place from 19 to 23 August in Salvador, the event is part of a series of regional summits to encourage dialogue between governments and civil society, in support of national climate pledges.
The reversal comes months after Brazil backed out from presiding over the Cop25 UN climate summit, prompting a frenzied search for alternative venues. Chile stepped in with less than a year to prepare.
“We do not accept hosting the event because it is an action in the run-up to Cop25,” Brazil’s environment minister Ricardo Salles told daily O'Globo. “It does not make sense to host an event from the climate conference, if we are not going to hold the conference.”
In a note to participants, UN Climate Change said “regrets” the government’s decision and it was seeking other options in the region, but would make no official comment until it received notification in writing.
According to Salvador City Hall, the event had been confirmed last year under Michel Temer’s interim government. André Fraga, the official charged with UN liaison, was informed of the cancellation on Friday night, in a phone call from the federal environment ministry.
“I have been informed that Minister Ricardo Salles was not comfortable with holding the event in Brazil,” Fraga told O Globo. “He claimed what all of this government claim: that the event only serves as a platform for NGOs, that it is useless and that the environment ministry’s focus is the urban agenda, which has nothing to do with climate change.”
The environment minister denied having a problem with campaign groups, saying: “It has nothing to do with the participation or not of NGOs, it has to do with our main agenda which, as I said, is an urban environmental agenda. We do not support a meeting organized before our administration, with a different agenda from the one we prefer, which is the issue of the urban environmental agenda and sanitation, dumps.”