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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

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 COP26 official website.

The conference was scheduled to be held in Glasgow and Milan from 9-20 November 2020. However, on 1 April 2020, the UNFCCC, the UK Government and the Italian government announced that COP26 had been postponed due to Covid-19.  On 8 January 2021, Alok Sharma was appointed full-time President for COP 26 by the UK Government.

The UK Government has set out the following priorities for COP26:

  • All countries to submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions, committing to further cuts in carbon emissions by 2030.
  • All countries to commit to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible
  • Developed countries to honour their commitments, including meeting the 100-billion dollar goal for climate finance
  • Seeking to agree a package which takes forward the Paris Agreement.

The work on COP26 is being led by the Cabinet Office, which has a COP26 Unit with a staff of 160 and budget of £216m transferred in from 11 Departments since the Spending Review 2019.

For further background on climate change, including UK policy and previous COP climate conferences please see the Commons Library Climate Change Overview page.

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