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November 11, 2013 - November 22, 2013
The 19th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is currently underway in Warsaw, Poland. The Conference kicked off Monday 11 November, and will continue until 22 November 2013. The conference is attended by Government delegations from the countries that are signatories to the UNFCCC, as well as accredited observers from businesses and industry, environmental and civil society organisations and research institutions. Parallel to the negotiations that take place between the government delegations there are 175 side events, where accredited observers share and discuss a broad range of climate change related issues, work and research.
The UNFCCC is an international environmental Treaty formulated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the Earth Summit, in 1992. When it was initiated the key aim of the Treaty was to stabilise the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. The first COP was held in 1995 in Berlin, and the COPs have since taken place in various locations around the world, including Durban in South Africa in 2011.
The conference also serves as the meeting of the 9th session of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first emission reductions commitment period ended in 2012. Negotiations will focus on a new legally-binding climate change agreement that includes commitments from both developing and developed countries, and which is expected to be put into force in 2020. Other topics that will be covered in the negotiations at COP this year include improvements to several UNFCCC action mechanisms, and improvements of the measurement, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions. Negotiations will include strategies around financing the consequences of extreme events caused by climate change, and developed countries will be put under pressure to take responsibility and compensate developing countries for losses suffered due to climate change impacts.
Media updates indicate an enthusiastic atmosphere among participants, but also mixed expectations concerning negotiations and the final outcome of the conference.