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Christian Aid disappointed with Chile's cancellation of climate summit

by Tola Mbakwe

However, it said it stands in solidarity with Chile after its president cancelled the summit due to civil unrest.

Dr Alejandro González, Christian Aid's senior advisor on climate change for Latin American countries said: "The climate emergency is real and all our efforts to take action now must be a priority.

"The fact that this COP would be held in Latin America and the Caribbean would have given us an excellent opportunity to discuss the challenges the region has in the face of an unfair system that deepens climate change effects while driving profound inequalities."

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has said he is cancelling two major international summits so he can focus on his response to nationwide protests that have left 20 dead, hundreds injured and businesses and infrastructure damaged.

The decision to call off the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) and UN global climate gatherings, planned for November and December, respectively, dealt a major blow to Chile's image as a regional oasis of stability and economic development.

Mr Pinera said he was forced to cancel both events due to the chaos unleashed by 13 days of protests.

Demonstrators are demanding greater economic equality and better public services in a country long seen as an economic success story.

"This has been a very difficult decision that causes us great pain," Mr Pinera said in a televised address.

"A president always has to put the needs of his countrymen first."

Dr González added: "The protests in Chile are an important reminder that transformation must be undertaken to address both inequality and climate crisis, and that climate justice and social justice cannot be treated separately.

"Therefore Christian Aid stands in solidarity with the Chilean civil society which has worked very hard in the past year to enable COP25 to be a space of real climate action and with the Chilean people who are peacefully expressing their call for a just social and economic system, where democracy and constitutional rights are respected."

A UN official said that all UN venues are being considered as options.

Those would include cities such as New York, Geneva, Bonn, Vienna and Nairobi.

The Santiago conference was meant to work out some of the remaining unresolved rules for countries on climate efforts.

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