COP stands for Conference of the Parties. Parties are the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - a treaty agreed in 1994, which has 197 Parties (196 countries and the EU).
After the success of the 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the 1987 Montreal Protocol, UNFCCC was adopted to provide a framework to create a binding agreement for reaching reduction commitments. Previously binding agreements failed, mainly due to resistance from the United States.
United Nations climate change conferences are among the largest international meetings in the world. The negotiations between governments are complex and involve officials from every country in the world as well as representatives from civil society and the global news media.
COP26 is the 2021 edition of the United Nations annual climate change conference, hosted by the United Kingdom, together with partners Italy, in Glasgow.
It will be the 26th meeting of the Parties, which is why it is called COP26.
COP26 Agenda: What do we need to achieve?
Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach
Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets (NDCs) that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. To deliver, countries will need to accelerate the phase-out of coal, encourage investment in renewables, curtail deforestation and speed up the switch to electric vehicles.
Work together to deliver
We can only rise to the challenges of climate change by working together. At COP26, we must finalise the Paris Rulebook (the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement). And, we have to turn our ambitions into action by accelerating collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society to deliver on our climate goals faster.
To realise our first two goals, developed countries must deliver on their promise to raise at least $100bn in climate finance per year. International financial institutions must play their part and we need to work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.
Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as we reduce emissions, with devastating effects. At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to protect and restore ecosystems, build defences, put warning systems in place and make infrastructure and agriculture more resilient to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.