The United Nations Climate Change Conference is the foremost global forum for discussions on climate change. The annual Conference of the Parties (COPs) are convened under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and serve as formal meetings of the Parties to the Convention.
COPs advance work on multi-lateral agreements, assess the progress of global efforts to limit global warming and provide a focus on a common way forward to tackle the realities of climate change.
Having grown steadily over the past two decades the conferences are now the largest meetings convened by the UN, and Heads of State and high-level government officials regularly attend as well as tens of thousands government delegates, representatives of civil society, intergovernmental (IGOs) organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international media.
The 26th Conference of the Parties is the most significant COP since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 as nations will be reviewing their emissions targets. Five years ago world leaders committed to an historic agreement to tackle climate change. They agreed to keep global mean temperature rises well below 2 ℃ and to strive to limit the rise to 1.5 ℃. COP26 will have the aim of ratifying the Paris Agreement.
Made up of international negotiations, global civil society activity and protest activity, the COP26 conference will be the biggest and most complex event ever staged in Scotland, with the largest gathering of Heads of State ever to happen in the UK.
COP26 will run from 9 - 20 November 2020 at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) It is expected that around 30,000 accredited delegates, observers and media from nations and territories around the world will arrive in Glasgow, over the course of the COP. The Blue Zone, centred at the SEC, is where the main negotiations take place. The Green Zone is where the civil society and businesses have their voices heard through event, exhibitions and workshops, promoting discussion, awareness and education among direct action groups in relation to fighting climate change. It is also an opportunity for the host country to showcase its innovative projects and technologies.
In addition to the main negotiations we can expect hundreds of meetings and social gatherings to take place during the period of the COP. The whole city will feel its presence.
The Pre-COP where views are exchanged on key political aspects of the upcoming conference is being hosted in Milan, Italy.
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Glasgow will be ready to host a safe and successful conference with residents and businesses alike playing a major part. As a world-renowned events city, Glasgow was chosen as host because of our track record, the excellence of the Scottish Event Campus and the accommodation within an hour's travel and because of the progress on sustainability by both ourselves and Scottish Government.
Glasgow is also currently ranked 4th in the world in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index). The GDS-Index was launched in 2016 and promotes responsible business tourism best practice.
Energy, low carbon and sustainable conferences are regularly in the top three key sectors for conferences in the city.
The city's partners are committed to making Glasgow one of the most sustainable places in Europe, where a high quality of urban life and green business practices generating sustainable profits go together. Glasgow was one of the foremost cities of the first global industrial revolution and now it is forging a new economy in the middle of the green revolution.
This is drawing upon the city's native spirit of innovation, partnership and entrepreneurialism - and it needs the active participation of a strong public sector and engaged business community. The city wants to see both green and inclusive economic growth so that sustainability and social justice are hallmarks of Glasgow's message to the world and its offer to residents, businesses and investors.
The council declared a climate and ecological emergency for the city in May 2019 and then published the recommendations of its Climate Emergency Working Group. A summary of the climate emergency recommendations and a copy of the full report can be accessed at: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/article/24899/Climate-Emergency-Group-Sets-Out-a-Path-to-Carbon-Neutral-Glasgow
The key ambition is for the city to become carbon neutral by the year 2030. This is a journey that needs all partners to work together across public, private, academic and community sectors - with significant challenges around decarbonising heat and transport in particular.
The Leader of the Council has therefore re-launched a Sustainable Glasgow partnership, which will act as the shared means of delivering a collective will to grow a greener Glasgow.
Get Ready Glasgow is the umbrella brand for all the work being carried out to keep the city functioning in the lead up to and during the conference and making sure the city is prepared to welcome delegates, media and visitors from around the world.
It will be used in the lead up to and during COP26 to tell audiences about the event.
Planning teams concentrating on city operations are working in key areas to manage the impact of the main COP conference and side events, on the surrounding areas; and what impact the events will have on the services that the council provides to businesses and residents in their day-to-day lives.
It also highlights the opportunities that will be presented during - and in the approach to Conference Time.
The campaign brings together partners including the council, Police Scotland, event organisers and the Chamber of Commerce, to produce communications, hold engagement events and promote the measures being put in place to minimise disruption.
One of the most important elements of the Get Ready Glasgow campaign is getreadyglasgow.com that will act as a focal point for accurate and timely information on the impact of city events and development projects, to keep the city moving and business and residents to go about their daily lives.
It also has a particular section with advice and guidance for businesses on how they can capitalise on any opportunities that come with the city playing host to such a high profile event, becoming more sustainable and how they can continue to operate while COP is underway.