Article / 03 Dec, 2019
‘25x25’Art Exhibition at COP25 to Inspire Climate Action

UN Climate Change News, 3 December 2019 – At the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid, Spain, art work is on display which captures the sentiment of top artists regarding climate change and status of global climate action and their hopes for the future.

The exhibition is the result of a partnership between What Design Can Do and UN Climate Change which features the work of renowned designers who have designed unique posters specifically for COP25 with the objective of encouraging more ambitious climate action.  

“Social movements need the power of graphic design to express their message with slogans and iconic images. Facing the biggest threat of our times, the climate crisis, we need the power of design to channel our message and boil it down to firm visual statements”, said the co-founder and creative director from What Design Can Do, Richard van der Laken.

What Design Can Do (WDCD) is an international platform that mobilizes global creative communities around issues like climate change and social justice. It has come forward with the theme “25x25” – looking back at the past 25 years since the inception of the UN Framework Convention and ahead the next 25 years.

The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, two years after being adopted at the "Rio Earth Summit" in 1992, with the ultimate goal of preventing dangerous human interference with the climate system. Today, it has near-universal membership - 197 Parties have ratified the Convention.

Whilst considerable progress has been made since then through the conclusion of major global agreements, greenhouse gas emissions unfortunately continue to rise, and the world is a state of climate emergency as the impacts of climate change – including more frequent drought, storm and floods become ever more apparent. The sense that the world is in severe danger is reflected in several of the artworks.

“Whilst the international community has put important institutional structures and processes in place to tackle climate change, and concluded a historic global agreement in the form of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the 25th anniversary of UN Climate Change secretariat serves as a reminder of how much more there is to accomplish and of important decisions that need to catalyse transformational climate action”, said the Deputy Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Ovais Sarmad. “What we now need is the political will so that the Paris Agreement can be fully implemented and its goals met”.

The selected artworks will be on display at the UN Climate Change Pavilion at COP25 and presented online with the hashtag #25x25. The theme of COP25, “Time for Action”, is the theme of the 25x25 poster exhibition.

For more information on the 25th Anniversary of UN Climate Change, see our INTERACTIVE TIMELINE  on UNFCCC 25 Years of Effort and Achievement - Key Milestones in the Evolution of International Climate Policy.

See below some of the artworks featured in the exhibition:

Snow man, Dean Poole
Snow man, Dean Poole / Alt Group Auckland, New Zealand


Act Now, Lesley Moore
Act Now, Lesley Moore / Amsterdam, The Netherlands


React, Studio Vrijdag
React, Studio Vrijdag / Utrecht, The Netherlands


Future, Ariane Spanier
Future, Ariane Spanier / Berlin, Germany


Global cannibalization, The Daily Gorilla
Global cannibalization, The Daily Gorilla / Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Gond Painting, Dilip Shyam
Gond Painting, Dilip Shyam / Bophal, India


Soon, Herman van Bostelen
Soon, Herman van Bostelen / Amsterdam, The Netherlands


ACT, Erich Brechbühl, Mixer
ACT, Erich Brechbühl, Mixer / Lucerne, Switzerland


About partnerships between UN Climate Change and non-Party stakeholders

The partnership with What Design Can Do is part of a series of partnerships between UN Climate Change and relevant stakeholders to support climate action. The partnerships for COP25 with non-Party stakeholders are foreseen in the Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPGCA).

The MPGCA was launched at COP22 by the Conference of the Parties, explicitly welcoming climate action of all non-Party stakeholders, including the private sector, to help implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement. All entities of society and business are strongly encouraged to scale up their efforts and support actions to reduce emissions, as well as to build resilience and decrease vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

More information on partnerships at COP25 is available here.

Claribelle Poujol, Head of Resource Mobilization and Partnerships: +49 1520 9059820,

About What Design Can Do

What Design Can Do (WDCD) is a platform to showcase the role of design in addressing the societal issues of our time. At their annual conferences in Amsterdam, Mexico City and São Paulo they invite speakers from all over the world, like Dutch product designer Bas van Abel, Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane, MoMA curator Paola Antonelli and Google Lab’s creative director Robert Wong, to share their vision. One of the main attractions though is the crowd itself.

What Design Can Do is the perfect place for designers and creatives to meet businesses, industries, NGOs and governments who aim to start using design innovation. In workshops, speed dates, design jams and masterclasses attendees are challenged to actively participate.