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Azerbaijan to Host COP29 Climate Summit Despite Concerns

December 12, 2023
Photo: Azerbaijani Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Mukhtar Babayev

After months of deadlock over where the next United Nations’ Climate Change Conference is to be held, Azerbaijan is set to host COP29.

Under UN rules, the COP presidency rotates every year between different blocs, with the 2024 conference due to be hosted in Eastern Europe. Consensus between member states is required to designate a host country.

Russia had pledged to veto any proposal from a European Union (EU) member country, after the EU had imposed sanctions on Moscow due to its invasion of Ukraine.

Azerbaijan and longtime adversary Armenia had been blocking each other’s bids. In September, Azerbaijan took full control of the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region, leading to an exodus of the territory’s Armenian population.

To win its bid to host COP29, Azerbaijan struck a deal with Armenia to avoid a veto, Reuters reported.

Speaking at a COP28 closing session on Monday, Azerbaijani Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Mukhtar Babayev extended “deep appreciation to the countries of the eastern European group for the decision to endorse Azerbaijan as a host country of COP29.”

“Azerbaijan understands the critical importance of collaborative efforts to combat climate change,” he stated.

An oil and gas producer and a member of the OPEC+ group, Azerbaijan’s bid raised the same concerns around hosting the climate conference as when the United Arab Emirates was chosen. As a fossil fuel dependent country, oil and gas production accounted for nearly half of Azerbaijan’s GDP and more than 91% of its export revenue in 2022.

Azerbaijan’s human rights record also drew criticism. The country is ranked as “not free” on the Freedom Index, with a score of 9/100 on political rights and civil liberties.

The COP29 conference is set to take place from 11 to 22 November. Meanwhile, Brazil was chosen as the host country for COP30, to be held from 10 to 21 November 2025.


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