The United Nations Climate Change Conferences, which have typically taken place annually since 1995, are referred to as COP (Conference of the Parties).
The purpose of these conferences is to review through negotiations and debate the progress of members of the United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC) to slow climate change. COP membership is made up of 197 countries that are signatories to the UNFCCC and through the yearly meetings they review and set goals towards limiting climate change. New agreements and treaties are often achieved as the result of COP, with the aim of improving targets, settling on guidelines, or creating legally binding agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. The 197 countries taking part are organised in five regional groups which typically alternate hosting future COP meetings and the COP presidency. These regional organisations are also represented on the UNFCCC Bureau, which serves as the COP President's advisory body.
Government representatives or "observer" organisations, such as charities, are also present at COP and all participants are overseen by the United Nations.
Reviewing the contributions of each Party and outlining how they are addressing climate change is a crucial component of COP meetings. Members will provide Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) if they are also signatories to the Paris Agreement.
NDC’s are nation's plans to cut emissions and prepare for the effects of climate change. For the United Nations to succeed in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement depends on how successful each country is in achieving their goals.
At the end of COP 27 Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary stated: “Ultimately the critical focus is achieving the goal of limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. And that requires extraordinary action.”
The next Conference of the Parties (COP 28) will take place in United Arab Emirates in November 2023.
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