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What is the CBD COP? Views 1294 Date 2014.05.29

Like other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) of the United Nations, the CBD convenes a “meeting of the Conference of the Parties” (COP) at regular intervals. In the case of the CBD, COPs are held for two weeks every two years, with the 11th and most recent (CBD COP-11) in Hyderabad, India in October 2012. This CBD COP-12 is scheduled for October 2014 in Pyoungchang County, Korea.

The COP is not just another CBD meeting. It is the central mechanism that the Secretariat of the CBD exists to service. Attended by up to about 10,000 delegates including ministers, country leaders and the highest-ranking officials of the UN, the COP provides an opportunity for all 193 Parties (192 national governments plus the EU) to discuss Decisions proposed for adoption, with interpretation in all six of the UN languages. These Decisions essentially add to or revise the text of the Convention and guide the work of the Parties and the Secretariat.

Since ICLEI and the SCBD began partnering and raising awareness of the need for national governments to engage with and support local and subnational governments, three consecutive CBD COPs have adopted decisions specific to subnational implementation. This is a first for any MEA in the history of the UN.

CBD COPs are attended by delegations led by, but not limited to, national government representatives as well as other visitors from the host country and elsewhere. Spaces in and around the COP venue provide the opportunity for participants and visitors to exhibit, engage, and hold smaller events throughout the duration of the meeting.

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