The word ‘COP’ is an acronym for ‘Conference of the Parties’. The 'parties' are the governments around the world that have signed the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) - a treaty agreed in 1994.
Since many believe that the COP26 summit is the world's last chance to bring climate change under control, such signatory governments hold conferences once a year to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and discuss efforts to jointly address climate change through collaboration between governments, civil societies and businesses.
Every year, the COP is hosted by a different nation and the first such COP meeting – ‘COP1’ – took place in Germany in 1995.
The conferences are attended by world leaders, negotiators, ministers, and also by representatives from civil society, business, international organisations, and the media.
COP26 is the first UN environmental summit to be conducted in person in November 2021 since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The COP26 Conference is the agreed five-yearly stocktake agreement where countries are likely to agree to climate action targets.
The Glasgow summit is also the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC to be held since the Paris Agreement took over from the Kyoto Protocol in 2020.
The 26th UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change, also known as COP26, will be held in United Kingdom's Glasgow in November under the presidency of the UK, with Italy as a co-host. The 10-day conference will bring together more than 30,000 delegates from across the world.
The climate change summit will be attended by representatives of around 200 countries where the world community will negotiate reductions of global CO2 emissions to 45 per cent by 2030 and reach "net zero" by 2050, to limit temperature rises at 1.5 degrees Celsius - the safe cap set as a goal in the Paris accord, reduce coal use, sort out rules for a global carbon market and raise billions in climate finance.
The 2021 climate change conference seeks to initiate the process of setting the long-term climate finance for the post-2025 period.
The COP26 treaty-bound parties also aim to finalise the Paris Agreement’s ‘implementation guide’ – the Paris Rulebook.
The COP27 summit will take place in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh city.