SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s government announced Friday that a U.N. Latin America regional group has endorsed a Brazilian city in the Amazon region to host the 2025 U.N. climate change conference, though the world body has not yet publicly confirmed the venue.
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva initially said Brazil will hold the conference, known as COP 30, in the city of Belem, state of Para, in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest, reflecting his intention to bring attention to the Amazon.
A statement from the Brazilian government later clarified that the region’s support was merely a step in the selection process. The “support for the Brazilian candidacy demonstrates the region’s confidence in Brazil’s capacity to advance the agenda in the fight against climate change,” the statement read.
The latest U.N. climate conference was hosted by Egypt in Sharm el-Sheikh, and this year’s will take place in Dubai.
The U.N. has not yet announced the 2024 venue, let alone the 2025 one, but the locations tend to rotate among regions, and the Brazilian government statement Friday indicated that a Latin American working group was choosing the 2025 venue, and had endorsed Belem. The final decision won’t be made until COP 29 next year.
“It will be a honor for Brazil to welcome representatives from all over the world in a state in our Amazon,” Lula said in a video posted on his social media channels. “I went to COPs in Egypt, in Paris, in Copenhagen, and all people talk about is the Amazon. So I said, ‘Why don’t we go there so you see what the Amazon is like?’”
Brazil’s foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, says in the video that the decision was made at the U.N. on May 18. The U.N. has yet to confirm the venue.
Brazil’s announcement comes in a week that Lula’s administration’s environmental governance has faced headwinds from Brazil’s congress. Lawmakers by a large majority approved a measure that eroded the environment ministry’s authority over construction in forested and coastal areas, as well as other development.
Also this week, the congress is debating whether the state-run oil giant should be allowed to drill off the coast in the Amazon states of Amapa and Para.