COP: Pursuing progress, achieving commitments

COP is a key organ of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), adopted in 1992 following the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.  Its aim is to understand and find solutions to the negative effects of climate change.

As part of this common, global vision of combatting climate change, most of the world's countries have met almost every year since 1995.

Since Copenhagen, successive COP sessions have achieved progress in many areas.

2009

AfDB

COP15 (Copenhagen)

In spite of the failure to conclude a new climate agreement, a 2o Celsius limit was set for a rise in average global temperature.

Developing countries committed to contribute USD 100 billion a year by 2020 to support mitigation and adaptation action in developing countries.

2010

AfDB

COP16 (Cancun)

Solidified commitment to 2o Celsius limit.
The suggestion for tighter limit of 1.5o Celsius was posed by Small Island Developing States (SIDs).

2011

AfDB

COP17 (Durban)

The year 2015 was proposed as the time limit for a new climate change agreement more ambitious than the Kyoto Protocol.

The agreement is expected to be universal and legally-binding in nature, while keeping in mind the “common but differentiated responsibility” principle.

Working groups were put in place to better define the way forward to 2015, such as the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.

First Africa Pavilion was created to illustrate the unique challenges faced by the African continent in terms of climate change, beyond what has been accomplished with regard to fighting climate change.  Launched at the initiative of the AfDB and its partners, the African Union Commission/NEPAD, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), this Africa Pavilion will be set up at all subsequent COPs.

2012

AfDB

COP18 (Doha)

Launched an interim 2nd commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2020).

2013

AfDB

COP19 (Warsaw)

The crucial role of storing carbon biologically through a mechanism to reduce emissions linked to deforestation and forest management (REDD+) is acknowledged.

Agreement made on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification principles to foster transparency and accountability amongst parties to the convention.

Implementation of “Warsaw’s international mechanism relative to the loss and damage linked to climate change”, recognizing the need to compensate developing countries for damages resulting from climate change.

2014

AfDB

COP20 (Lima)

Clarified aspects linked to new agreement to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at levels that prevent dangerous anthropogenic changes to the climate, honoring the 2o Celsius limit. 

Decision is taken on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

2015

AfDB

COP21 (Paris)

All countries in Africa, except Libya, submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

Africa made its voice heard, thanks mainly to the Africa Pavilion organized by the AfDB and its partners, the African Union Commission/NEPAD and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), as well as through lobbying and support.

Two major initiatives were launched for Africa, the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) and the initiative on adaptation and loss and damage.

The Paris Agreement was adopted following COP21. The 195 UNFCCC partner countries signed this Agreement, which aims to continue the work of the Kyoto Protocol.

2016

COP22 (Morocco)

COP22, which is the COP for action following the adoption of the Paris climate agreement, will be held on the African continent – at Marrakech in Morocco.  It is the 4th COP to be held in Africa and the 2nd in Marrakech.

Morocco is already committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2030, i.e. an overall decrease of 523.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2 Eq.) for the period 2020-2030.  Another goal over the same time period is for 52% of electric power to come from renewable energies (20% solar, 20% wind, and 12% hydraulic energy).

2017

cop23

COP23 (Germany/Fiji)

This is the very first COP to be chaired by an island nation, Fiji, which is bearing the full brunt of the effects of climate change, including natural disasters, rising sea levels and rising ocean temperatures. But as this Pacific archipelago does not have capacity to host the 15,000 to 20,000 delegates expected, the conference is being held in Bonn, Germany, home of the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which also hosted COP5 and COP6-2 (the Resumed sixth session of the Conference of the Parties).

The goal of COP23 is to make progress on the rules of implementation for the Paris Agreement, which are to come into force in 2020. Ratified by 168 countries, including 43 in Africa, and by the European Union, at the time of the conference opening in Bonn, the Paris Agreement stipulates that global warming is to be kept below 2°C, or even below 1.5°C, as desired by Fiji and other island States.