ColombiaOne.comColombia newsBogota and Cali Bid to Host the COP16 for Biodiversity

Bogota and Cali Bid to Host the COP16 for Biodiversity

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COP16 Colombia Bogota Cali
Bogota and Cali formalize their candidacy to host COP16 – Credit: Rosalba Tarazona / CC BY-SA 2.0 Deed / Jefferson Gutierrez / CC BY-SA 2.0 Deed

Bogota and Cali are bidding to host the United Nations Conference on Biological Diversity, known as COP16, to be held at the end of October this year, and not to be confused with the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP29, the climate change summit to be held this year in Baku, Azerbaijan.

COP16 will host political representatives, businessmen and environmental activists from all over the planet, and is the most important global event to highlight bio-diversity, a reality threatened by climate change. The two Colombian cities are competing to host the organization of this important world event in eight months.

Last December it was announced that Colombia would host the 2024 biodiversity conference. The Minister of the Environment, Susana Muhamad, addressing the country’s governors, said “I thank the almost 10 cities in the country that applied, with the support of their mayors and governors, to host the COP. The finalists to host the COP are Bogota and Cali and we are in the last stage of deciding which city will be chosen.”

Twelve days, 12,000 visitors

COP16 will be held from October 21 to November 1 this year. The meeting will welcome approximately 12,000 visitors during the twelve days of the event. Colombia was designated by the international organization as the venue for this year’s edition, after Turkey declined to organize it, due to the devastating consequences caused in that country by the earthquake a year ago.

The Colombian government will finally decide in which of the two cities the international conference will be held, after both have been endorsed by the United Nations. Cali is an important electoral stronghold of President Gustavo Petro and is the more biodiverse option. Bogota, the capital of the country, is presented as a city with a reduced carbon footprint and has an important infrastructure, the Corferias convention center, to host this type of event.

This is an event of great global relevance and the Colombian government has taken very seriously the organization of an event that will put Colombia in a global showcase, precisely οn a topic that is prioritised by this government: biodiversity, a reality in which Colombia occupies a leading position worldwide.

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The Governor of Valle del Cauca Dilian F. Toro and the Mayor of Cali, Alejandro Eder – Credit: Goverment Valle del Cauca

The two candidate cities

The local authorities of Cali and the regional authorities of Valle del Cauca have bet hard to get the organization of the event, joined by social activists.The strong point of the candidacy is the diversity, both environmental and ethnic, of the city and its department. In this context, Cali’s Secretary of Tourism affirmed that the city “is the geographic capital of Choco, the department with the largest black population in the country.

The weak point of this candidacy is precisely the strong point of Bogota, the infrastructure. The event would be hosted at the Valle del Pacífico Events Center, but it would still be necessary to adapt the facilities with additional tents to be able to hold the event in the city.

For its part, Bogota has a more developed and prepared infrastructure to host the participants of this important world forum. The mayor of the Colombian capital, Carlos Galán, has also defended the strengths of his candidacy, highlighting that Bogota has the largest páramo in the world, Sumapaz. The mayor also highlighted the logistical capacity of the capital with “the most modern and complete infrastructure to receive more than 12,000 attendees”. Galan has appointed a high-level team to pilot the candidacy, which has obtained the support of Bogota’s universities.

According to the digital media La Silla Vacia, the criteria to choose the winner will be, among other aspects, hotel and mobility capacities, security, hospital capacity and electricity supply facilities for the media. The decision is now in the hands of the Colombian government.

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David Cooper, representative of the United Nations and the Colombian Minister of the Environment, Susana Muhamad – Credit: Ministry of Environment

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