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What is COP?

Updated: 2012-11-26 11:27

Since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1994, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC has been meeting annually to assess progress in dealing with climate change. The COP is the 'supreme body' of the Convention, its highest decision-making authority. The COP is an association of all the countries that are Parties to the Convention.

There are now 195 parties to the convention taking part in climate change negotiations. All parties to the UNFCCC are represented at the COP at which they review the implementation of the convention and any other legal instruments that the COP adopts and take decisions to promote the effective implementation of the convention.

Successive decisions taken by the COP make up a set of rules for practical and effective implementation of the convention. In 2010, governments agreed that emissions needed to be reduced so that global temperature increases could be limited to below 2 degrees Celsius.

The COP is assisted by two subsidiary bodies. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) links scientific, technical and technological assessments, the information provided by competent international bodies, and the policy-oriented needs of the COP. The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) was created to develop recommendations to assist the COP in reviewing and assessing implementation of the Convention and in preparing and implementing its decisions.

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