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

Read COP26 Negotiations Explained

The UK brought 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 kept it alive.

Negotiation issues

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

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

  • 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 were many other issues discussed at COP26, including several important sector specific topics not listed above.

Our approach

Although COVID-19 posed challenges for the multilateral climate change process, the UK COP26 Presidency committed to making progress in a transparent and inclusive way and in solidarity with all countries. 

We set out how we did this on the Road to Glasgow, including detailed plans in collaboration with Chile (the COP25 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 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:

  • engaged widely with ministers and officials to deepen shared understanding on all relevant issues,
  • encouraged practical action and commitments on mitigation, adaptation and support, including finance,
  • supported 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 strengthened ministerial engagement with countries, negotiating groups and non-state actors. 

In collaboration with Chile, we held a series of monthly multilateral consultations with Heads of Delegations to address specific negotiations issues. These complemented the busy schedule of technical and high-level meetings that took place this year, helping build the conditions for success at Glasgow.

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

We counted 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 Presidency

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

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

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

Message to Parties, Observer States and Admitted Observer Organizations from the COP26 President 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, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary and the Chairs of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (27 May 2021)

Letter to Parties from the COP26 President 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 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 was 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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