What is COP?
COP which stands for Conference of Parties is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference where all States that are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP to to review the national communications and emission inventories submitted by Parties.
The COP meets every year, unless the Parties decide otherwise and meets in Bonn which is the seat of the secretariat with an exception if another Party offers to host the session. They can shift among the five recognized UN regions – that is, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe and Others. The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany in March in 1995 and last year it was held in UK in Glasglow.
Importance of the Paris Agreement
The UN has been mobilising every country on earth for nearly three decades to attend the global climate summits (COPs) therefore climate change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority. This is the reason why the Paris agreement which was born at COP21 in Paris in 2015 is important. The Paris Agreement officially recognizes the urgency to scale up our global response to climate change, and supports even greater ambition from governments. Countries committed to come up with national plans outlining how much they would reduce their emissions – known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or ‘NDCs’.
The commitment aims to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is important because every fraction of a degree of warming will result in the loss of many more lives lost and livelihoods damaged.
Under the Paris Agreement, it was agreed that every five years they would come back with an updated plan that would reflect their highest possible ambition at that time.
Last year was the 26th annual summit thus the name COP26 with the UK as President, COP26 took place in Glasgow.
In the run up to COP26 the UK worked with every nation to reach agreement on how to tackle climate change. World leaders arrived in Scotland, alongside tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for twelve days of talks.
Countries updated their plans for reducing emissions however, commitments laid out in Paris did not come close to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, and the window for achieving this is closing.
This year the 27th annual summit (COP27) will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt where actors from government, private sector, civil society, industry and academia will gather for two weeks to develop pathways and measure progress toward achieving our climate targets and ensure we are delivering a just & equitable energy transition.
In recognition of the critical role that youth will play on the road to and at COP27, several organizations are commited to ensuring that youth can access and be represented within all facets of the energy transition and climate change, including a presence where energy-related decision making occurs.
You may checkout the following opportunities that are offering assistance to the youth so that they can participate in the COP conferences: