COP – A brief explanation

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The UNFCCC Conference of the Parties(external link) (COP) is an annual international climate change meeting held by the United Nations. International climate negotiations at COP are where the world takes decisions on the global response to the climate crisis including the implementation of the Paris Agreement. World leaders and ministers attend COPs, increasing political collaboration and will, as well as holding countries to account on their climate actions. COP is increasingly becoming a platform for countries, NGOs, businesses, youth, and indigenous organisations to run side initiatives and events that seek to get ahead of the global rules, showcase world-leading climate action, clean tech businesses and innovative transition tools. Often more than three quarters of the 30-40,000 participants at COP are not negotiators.

Where is COP this year?

The 28th session (COP28) will be held in Expo City Dubai between 30 November and 12 December 2023. The United Arab Emirates, as host, are expecting more than 80,000 delegates including a significant business presence. You can find out more about COP28 and the UAE’s priorities on their website(external link). Hotels and flights book out quickly, so you will need to get on to this ASAP.

What are the key expected outcomes for COP28?

The first Global Stocktake (GST) of the Paris Agreement will conclude this year, providing a timely and necessary opportunity to get-on-track with delivering the Paris Agreement goals. The GST is like taking an inventory – how are we going, and what do we need to do about it? By identifying gaps in the climate response, we have an opportunity make decisions to course-correct and get back on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Other key outcomes this year will include, constructing a framework for the global goal on adaption, and work on a fund and funding arrangements for loss and damage. Work on a wide range of issues will be undertaken, including climate finance, agriculture, just transition, mitigation and carbon markets.

What is New Zealand’s role?

New Zealand is an active participant in the annual COPs and global climate regime. The Government sends a small delegation of officials from New Zealand and Tokelau, plus invited non-officials such as Iwi / Māori representatives, and business leaders to COP each year, led by the Minister of Climate Change. In addition to this official delegation, many New Zealanders (including businesses, NGOs, researchers and media) also participate in COP as observers.

New Zealand has three priority international climate change objectives: fostering global action; supporting Pacific resilience; and supporting our own transition. For our Pacific neighbours the climate crisis is an existential threat, and we push for collective action to get back on track to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees.

Find out more about New Zealand’s role in global climate agreements.

Can I go to COP28?

Most events related to the COP (including negotiations, most side events, country and organisation Pavilions) require a ‘badge’ for access. Countries and accredited organisations (list) can give out badges.

For COP28 the New Zealand Government is offering ‘Party overflow’ badges to interested New Zealanders. This is intended to increase accessibility and inclusion, and to reflect our commitment to a whole-of-society response to climate change.

Participants are responsible for their own funding and travel arrangements. You will not be part of the official delegation or be authorized to speak on behalf of the New Zealand Government. A badge will allow you access to the conference venue, so you will be able to attend events and as space allows, observe some of the negotiations.

Applications for a COP28 Party Overflow badge have closed.


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