President Muhammadu Buhari has left Abuja for Glasgow, Scotland to attend the 26th conference of parties (COP26) to the United Nations framework convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Explainer

What is COP?

In November 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established, to among other things, provide scientific insights into ways of managing the risk of extreme events and disasters.

Subsequently, in November 1990, IPCC released its first assessment report. In the report, IPCC stated that “emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases”. The report led to an immediate call for a global treaty by international organizations. A month after the report was published, the UN General Assembly established the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for a framework convention on climate change. 

But in 1992, countries entered into an international treaty, which then became the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFC), a framework for international cooperation to combat climate change by limiting increasing average global temperature.

By March 21, 1994, the UNFCCC officially came into force, garnering a near-universal membership of 197 countries. The countries involved are known as ‘Parties’. These Parties meet annually to discuss and negotiate multilateral responses to climate change. The summit where they meet is known as the Conference of the Parties — COP.

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