The Conference of Parties (COP) is the decision-making body responsible for monitoring and reviewing implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The objective of UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to prevent dangerous levels of human induced climate change, also known as anthropogenic climate change, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.
The first COP was held in Berlin, Germany in March, 1995. Annually, the 197 members of COP, comprising of nations and territories, known as ‘Parties’, who have signed the UNFCCC come together to review progress, long-term goals and agree on international climate action to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep the global average temperature rise this century as close as possible to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries committed to bring forward national plans setting out how much they would reduce their emissions – known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or ‘NDCs’.
They agreed that every five years they would come back with an updated plan that would reflect their highest possible ambition at that time.