Sheikh Hasina reaches the Spanish capital to attend the annual global climate summit
The 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25), the annual global climate summit, kicks off today in Madrid, where some 200 nations are meeting for talks on finalizing the "rulebook" for the 2015 Paris climate treaty, which becomes operational in 2021.
This year, COP25 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will run from today until December 13 in Madrid under the Presidency of Chile with logistical support from Spain.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday reached the Spanish capital to attend the summit alongside other global leaders.
She was set to attend the inaugural ceremony of COP25, its general roundtable titled “National Plans to Increase Ambition by 2020” at Feria de Madrid this morning.
The prime minister is scheduled to return home on Wednesday, after attending a number of summit events and meetings with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte and Spanish President Pedro Sanchez.
The conference was originally planned to be held in Brazil in November, but a year before its planned start, newly-elected President Jair Bolsonaro withdrew the offer to host the event, citing economic reasons.
Then Chile stepped up and became the new host, but violent social unrest in the lead up to the meeting forced it late October to withdraw from hosting.
Then by mutual agreement between the UN, Chile and Spain, the latter became the new host.
At COP events scheduled for today and Thursday, young people will get a chance to voice their views about the need to protect the planet for their own and future generations.
Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg is sailing back to Europe across the Atlantic on a low-carbon journey to the climate conference, after its venue was abruptly moved to Spain from Chile.
Some climate experts are concerned that the last-minute venue switch for the COP25 talks may hamstring broader participation, especially by Latin American activists.
The cancellation on Chilean soil disappointed many civil society groups, who could not afford to travel to Spain at short notice, they noted.
One thread uniting popular climate change movements around the world is a push for governments to take social equity into account when addressing the threat - a conversation that should start at COP25, analysts said.
Niranjali Amerasinghe, executive director of ActionAid USA, said justice issues should be key to climate responses, whether in ensuring a sustainable future for young people or helping poor communities hit hardest by wilder weather and rising seas.
"Those things resonate a bit stronger given the (global) political context," she added.
Scientists have warned that efforts to cap warming to 1.5°C are failing and that carbon emissions - which are on the rise - would need to fall 7.6% a year to meet the target.
The United Nations has reported that greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, the main driver of climate change, hit a record high last year.
The UN has also warned that global temperatures are on track to rise almost 4°C by the end of the century, which could make some places virtually uninhabitable.