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UNFCCC negotiation meetings

International discussions on climate change take place in various fora throughout the year but the most important forum is the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The final days of these conferences are held at ministerial level.

Logo of the UNFCCC

The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC. All governments that are Parties to the UNFCCC are invited to participate in these meetings. Representatives of business, international organisations and civil society participate as observers.

In addition, the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) is the supreme decision-making body of the Kyoto Protocol. At CMPs all governments that are party to the Kyoto Protocol are represented, while those that are not Parties attend as observers.

The European Union is a Party to both the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, as are all EU Member States in their own right.

Decisions by the COP and CMP are prepared by the Subsidiary Bodies of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol.

There are two permanent subsidiary bodies: the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).

In addition, there is one temporary subsidiary body, the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).The Platform has a dual mandate:

  • to draw up a new global climate agreement covering all countries, to be adopted in 2015 and to enter into force in 2020;
  • to identify ways to achieve more ambitious global emission reductions for 2020 in order to close the growing gap between current emission pledges and what needs to be done to hold global warming below 2°C.

The ADP is due to finish its work its work in 2015.

SBSTA and SBI meet twice a year, in the framework of the annual COP/CMP and at the Bonn Climate Change Conference held each year in May or June. The ADP also meets on these occasions, but also holds additional sessions at other times.