At the heart of COP26 will be negotiations involving the 197 Parties to the UNFCCC.

The UK aims to bring countries together to agree a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced outcome that takes forward coordinated climate action and resolves key issues related to the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement*.

Paris set the destination – limiting warming well below 2 degrees, aiming for 1.5 degrees –  Glasgow must make it a reality.

Aims of the Negotiations

We want the outcome to accelerate action to:

  • Reduce emissions
  • Strengthen adaptation and resilience to climate impacts
  • Scale up finance and support

In doing so it should:

Negotiation issues

At COP26 delegates will be aiming to finalise the ‘Paris Rulebook’, the rules needed to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, and conclude outstanding issues from COP25 in Madrid. They will also seek to deliver on all essential negotiating items for 2020 and 2021.

From our extensive engagement with countries, the most commonly raised priorities include:

  • Enabling ambition through carbon markets
  • Rules for the transparent reporting of action and support 
  • Common timeframes for emission reduction commitments 
  • Enabling enhanced adaptation action 
  • Averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage 
  • Means of implementation, including the initiation of deliberations on a new goal for global climate finance after 2025 
  • Responding to the latest science and the ambition of current emission reduction targets 
  • Promoting fair, inclusive climate action

There are many other issues for discussion at COP26, including several important sector specific topics not listed above.

Our approach

Although COVID-19 has posed challenges for the multilateral climate change process, we are committed to making progress in a transparent and inclusive way and in solidarity with all countries. 

We have set out how we will do this on the Road to Glasgow, including detailed plans in collaboration with Chile (the current COP President) and Italy (our Partner for COP26 and the host of pre-COP), as well as the UNFCCC Secretariat and the Chairs of the two UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies. 

COP President Designate Alok Sharma wrote an open letter to Parties setting out what the Presidency has heard from Parties and groups on their expectations for Glasgow and the importance of making progress.

UK engagement

In 2020 the UK secured the agreement from the COP Bureau to postpone and reschedule COP26 to 2021, but the work has continued. We have and continue to:

  • engage widely with ministers and officials to deepen shared understanding on all relevant issues,
  • encourage practical action and commitments on mitigation, adaptation and support, including finance,
  • support UN climate processes, including last year’s June Momentum on Climate Change and the UN Climate Change Dialogues, and the May-June 2021 Climate Change Conference.

In the run up to COP26 we are strengthening ministerial engagement with countries, negotiating groups and non-state actors. 

In collaboration with Chile, we have also begun a new series of monthly multilateral consultations with Heads of Delegations to address specific negotiations issues. These will complement the busy schedule of technical and high-level meetings taking place this year, building the conditions for success at Glasgow.

To enable transparency and inclusivity, you can see summaries online of many of the discussions so far on these critical issues.

We count on the commitment of all countries and partners to achieve a positive outcome at COP26 and beyond.

Below is a list of key communications to Parties from the UK and partners:

Road to Glasgow’ webpage and schedule of informal consultations by the COP25 Presidency and COP26 incoming Presidency

Letter to all Parties from the COP26 President Designate, ahead of Pre-COP (22 September 2021)

July Ministerial: Chair’s Summary (5 August 2021)

Letter from the COP26 President Designate, Alok Sharma, ahead of the July Ministerial (15 July 2021)

Message to Parties, Observer States and Admitted Observer Organizations from the COP26 President Designate regarding COVID-19 vaccination for participants at the United Nations Climate Change (COP26) (28 June 2021)

Letter to Parties ahead of the May-June 2021 Climate Change Conference from the COP25 President, the COP26 President Designate, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary and the Chairs of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (27 May 2021)

Letter to Parties from the COP26 President Designate on making effective progress at the June Subsidiary Bodies session (12 April 2021)

Letter to Group Chairs and Heads of Delegation on the Presidencies plan for informal work in 2021 (20 January 2021)

Letter to Parties from the COP26 incoming Presidency on COP26 accommodation arrangements (20 November 2020)

Letter from the COP25 President and COP26 President Designate on the Presidency’s Open Dialogue between representative of Parties and Observers (16 November 2020) 

Letter to Parties and Observer States on Presidency events during the Climate Dialogues (12 November 2020)

Message to Parties, Observer States and Observer Organizations from the UNFCCC Executive Secretary on outcomes from the meeting of the Bureau on 25 August 2020 (3 September 2020)

Letter to Parties from the COP26 Envoy and COP26 Lead Negotiator on the COP26 postponement

*COP26 will be the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Convention (COP26), the Kyoto Protocol (CMP16), and the Paris Agreement (CMA3). For simplicity, we use COP26 on this website, as referring to activity under the three treaties.


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