The Brazilian city of Belém will host the Cop30 climate talks in November 2025, according to the Brazilian government.
In a statement, the Brazilian presidency said the United Nations (UN had confirmed that the northern city, commonly described as the gateway to the Amazon river and rainforest, would host the talks.
A spokesperson for the UN’s climate change body (UNFCCC) told Climate Home that the Latin America and Caribbean region had informed them that the group is endorsing Belém’s bid. The choice now just needs to be rubber-stamped at the Cop28 talks.
Brazil’s president Lula da Silva, who will be in the final few months of his term during Cop30, said that the Amazon rainforest had been the main topic of conversation at climate talks in Copenhagen, Paris and Sharm el-Sheikh.
“If everyone’s talking about the Amazon, then why not hold the Cop in an Amazon state so that they can find out more about the region? About its rivers, its forests, its fauna?”, he said.
Lula has been promising to tackle deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which hit a 15-year-high under former president Jair Bolsonaro.
He has named Marina Silva, who oversaw a significant drop in deforestation during his first stint as president in the 2000s, as his environment minister.
Belém is the capital of the Amazonian state of Pará and is the second most populous city (1.5 million people) in the Amazon region after Manaus (2.2 million).
Former Brazilian environment minister Izabella Teixeira told Climate Home in January that the Brazilian government had chosen Belém over Manaus because its state governor Helder Barbalho is “the essential political player in Amazon”.
While Belem is at the mouth of the Amazon river near the Atlantic coast, Manaus is deep in Brazil’s interior. Lonely Planet calls Belém the Eastern gateway to the Amazon region.
Teixeira has said having a Cop in the Amazon would be “amazing”. Climate campaigner Cintya Feitosa said that having the talks in the Amazon region “can send a signal to the global community of the relevance of the Amazon to the climate negotiations and include its population in the main rooms”.
But, while this is an important symbolic signal, “the environment does not live only on nice gestures”, said Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, a Brazilian NGO.
“Brazil is today the country that deforests the most in the world and Pará is the state that deforests the most in the Amazon. It is essential to get to Cop30 with this situation reversed”, said Astrini in January.
Teixeira also previously said she was “concerned because of infrastructure, costs, digital infrastructure, hotels – everything that you need when you have a Cop with 30,000 people”.
She said flying to the Amazon region was particularly expensive. Return flights from Sao Paulo to Belém are currently around $250 three months in advance. Demand from Cop30 travellers is likely to push these prices up.
One Brazilian campaigner, who did not want to be named, told Climate Home Belém is “a lovely colonial city, but between ‘lovely’ and ‘able to host a COP’ there’s a huge distance”.
The city does host large events. Every October, the city hosts more than one million pilgrims who participate in a procession of the image of the Virgin of Nazaré.
The host of UN climate talks rotates each year among the UN’s regional groupings.
In 2021, Cop26 was in the British city of Glasgow. The UK is part of the Western Europe and others group which includes Canada, Australia and New Zealand with the USA as an observer.
Last year’s climate talks were in the beach resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, which is in the African group.
This year’s will be in the United Arab Emirates, which is in the Asia-Pacific. South Korea had indicated an interest but backed down.
Next year’s event will be in Eastern Europe and the president of Bulgaria has said his country wants to host it.
Before the Bulgarian announcement, the new Australian government had said they wanted to co-host it with a Pacific nation but that would mean persuading the Eastern Europe group to let them swap turns.
Then it is the turn of Latin America and the Caribbean. No country other than Brazil publicly indicated a willingness to host the talks.
Previous Latin American Cops have been held in Argentina’s Buenos Aires, Mexico’s Cancún and Peru’s Lima.
Chile’s attempt to host talks in 2019 was abandoned after mass protests and the talks were held in Madrid instead.
This article was updated on 3oth May to include the UNFCCC’s statement