At the heart of COP26 were the negotiations involving the 197 Parties to the UNFCCC.
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.
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.
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.
In 2020 the UK secured the agreement from the COP Bureau to postpone and reschedule COP26 to 2021, but the work 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 read 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:
Letter to all Parties from the COP26 President, ahead of Pre-COP (22 September 2021)
July Ministerial: Chair’s Summary (5 August 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)
*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.