The United Nations on Monday said next year’s top climate talks will take place in Germany if countries fail to designate an eastern European host, amid a reported impasse caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A decision should theoretically be taken at COP28 in Dubai but there is no deadline, a spokesperson for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) told AFP.
“In case there is no agreement in the Eastern Europe group, COP29 would be held in Germany,” which has hosted the UNFCCC secretariat in the city of Bonn since 1996, the spokesperson added.
The same source added that the UAE would preside over the talks as the chair of the COP28.
An eastern European country is due to host the 2024 talks after this year’s COP28. But Russia is reportedly opposing an EU member holding the event as tensions with the bloc run high during the war in Ukraine.
The 23 countries that make up the COP grouping known as the Eastern European states must unanimously agree on the host country.
The Financial Times has reported that the UAE was offering to host the talks for a second year.
The COP28 presidency office said the host of the next UN climate summit needed to be agreed under the proper procedures. “This is not even on our radar. We remain focused on delivering ambitious climate action at COP28,” it added.
At the same time, Germany was “not keen” to host the summit at the Bonn headquarters of the UNFCCC, two people familiar with the discussions said, on the grounds that the city was not large enough to accommodate the huge crowd that would descend on its confines for the fortnight’s duration.
The German foreign ministry said: “It is important that the EEG group reaches a decision on the COP presidency following the procedures of the UNFCCC.”
Bonn has already hosted two COPs, last doing so in 2017 when the Fijian presidency could not host thousands of delegates for logistical reasons.