The Conference of the Parties, or COP, has emerged as a crucial platform for nations worldwide to address the complex and urgent challenges of climate change. As a series of international meetings convened under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the COPs play a pivotal role in shaping global responses to the environmental crisis. This article explores the evolution of COPs, their significance, key milestones, and the ongoing efforts to combat climate change on a global scale.
The COP gatherings bring together representatives from UN member states, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental entities to negotiate and collaborate on climate policies and initiatives. The primary goal is to achieve international consensus on addressing climate change and its impacts, coordinating efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting sustainable development practices.
COP1 (1995) – Berlin Mandate: The first COP set the stage for subsequent negotiations with the adoption of the Berlin Mandate, outlining a framework for the negotiation of legally binding emission reduction targets.
COP3 (1997) – Kyoto Protocol: Perhaps the most iconic outcome, COP3 resulted in the Kyoto Protocol, establishing binding emission reduction targets for developed nations. This marked a significant step towards addressing climate change through international cooperation.
COP15 (2009) – Copenhagen Accord: Despite not achieving a legally binding agreement, COP15 produced the Copenhagen Accord, a significant political commitment to limit global temperature increases and establish funding mechanisms for developing nations.
COP21 (2015) – Paris Agreement: A historic milestone, COP21 led to the adoption of the Paris Agreement, a landmark accord with the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It emphasized nationally determined contributions, transparency, and financial support for developing nations.
COP26 (2021) – Glasgow Climate Pact: COP26 brought nations together to accelerate climate action. The Glasgow Climate Pact aimed to strengthen commitments, enhance adaptation efforts, and solidify financial support for developing countries.
COP27 (2022) – Delivering for the people and the planet: On 20 November, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), that took place in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh, concluded with a historic decision to establish and operationalize a loss and damage fund.
COP28 (2023) – Africa’s Stand and Victories: African economies grapple with the complexities of climate change. Nancy Githaiga, Country Director of the African Wildlife Foundation, sheds light on Africa’s victories, emphasizing the groundbreaking agreement on the loss and damage fund—a crucial step forward. Githaiga underscores the importance of acknowledging the impact of climate change on Africa’s justice and the continent’s potential to contribute innovative solutions.
Challenges and Achievements:
The COPs face numerous challenges, including conflicting national interests, economic considerations, and the varying capacities of nations to adapt to climate change. However, these conferences have also witnessed remarkable achievements, fostering collaboration, setting emissions reduction targets, and mobilizing financial resources for climate projects.
As the world grapples with the increasing urgency of climate action, future COPs will be instrumental in refining and strengthening global commitments. This includes addressing issues such as loss and damage, enhancing adaptation measures, and promoting sustainable development pathways.
The COPs have evolved into a crucial platform for fostering international cooperation on climate change. Despite challenges, these conferences have played a vital role in shaping global climate policies and commitments. As we move forward, the international community must continue to leverage the COP process to implement effective and equitable solutions, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.
The world is demanding a new way, and COP28 UAE will deliver it. Action Agenda is designed to move the world from Agreement to Action. Information on COP28’s Action Agenda can be found in the COP28 President’s Letter to Parties: https://www.cop28.com/en/letter-to-parties
Africa news wrapped up the discussions at the COP28, here.
Written by: Arthur Daka