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In November 2021 the UK and Italy will jointly host the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26). This is the international United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference on climate change held every year and attended by signatory countries and other parties, 196 in total. The UK will host the COP events. The pre-COP Summit and other preparatory events such as a youth event will be held in Italy. The UK and Italian governments have committed to putting climate and nature at the heart of the multilateral agenda in 2021, including through the G7, G20 and COP26 Presidencies.

According to the UK Government, COP26 will be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted, with over 30,000 delegates, including world leaders, experts, campaigners and government officials. Further details can be found on the UKCOP26 website.  Alok Sharma is President Designate for COP26 having stepped down from his BEIS Ministerial role in January 2020, to work on COP26 full time.

Alok Sharma set out the four UK  key goals for COP26 in a speech in March 2020:

  1. All countries to submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), committing to further cuts in carbon emissions by 2030.
  2. All countries to commit to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible
  3. Developed countries to honour their commitments, including meeting the 2020 US$100bn dollar a year goal for climate finance
  4. Seeking to agree a package which takes forward the Paris Agreement.

He also provided an update on progress on all the goals to Parliament in a written statement on COP26 on 18 March 2021.

A range of bilateral and multilateral meetings and high level events will have taken place throughout 2020 and 2021 in advance of the COP26 meeting.

Alok Sharma wrote a letter to all parties on 22 September 2021 in which he set out the remaining discussion that would take place in advance of COP26. The letter also set out the “emerging elements of the COP26 negotiated outcome”.

In advance of the COP26, developed countries that have not fully set out the Nationally Determined Contributions are being urged to do so. Developing countries are also calling for commitments on climate finance to be met going forward to 2025.

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