COP26 expert database

08 Jul 2020

Originally featured on UK Parliament POST  (July 7)

COP26 is the 26th round of the UN’s annual climate change summit, in which the international community meets to negotiate and agree on its response to climate change. Originally due to be held in November 2020 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, COP26 will be held in Glasgow between November 1 and 12 2021. The summit is widely considered to be the most important COP since the 2015 Paris Agreement was reached at COP21. This is the first year in which countries are due to present new ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ (NDCs) – pledges outlining how they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades.

The COP Presidency rotates each year, and this year is jointly held by the UK and Italy. The UK Government, led by the COP26 Unit in the Cabinet Office, is leading on preparations for the summit. Preparing for an event as complex as COP (in which 30,000 delegates are expected) will involve a substantial logistical and diplomatic effort. The UK Government will lead work on COP26, but many other groups, including the UK Parliament and the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will be involved in the delivery of COP26.

Parliament’s role in COP26

One of the main roles of Parliament is to scrutinise the work of the UK Government, which will include government preparations for COP26. Over the next 18 months, Members of both Houses will constructively examine how the Government is conducting its preparations. During the summit, they will examine the progress and outcomes of COP26. This scrutiny will take the form of select committee inquiries, debates in both Houses, and wider political engagement by Members.

Both the Environmental Audit Committee and the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee are already holding inquiries into COP26 and the UN climate summit process, for example, and much more work is expected across Parliament before November 2021.

In order to conduct this scrutiny effectively, parliamentarians and parliamentary staff need to be able to rapidly access the expertise of individuals and organisations who are knowledgeable in COP26 and the topics it will consider.

COP26 database and expert survey

The Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology (POST) is inviting anyone with expertise in COP26, the areas it will consider, or the UN climate summit process, to sign up to the COP26 Expert Database. We will ask you to provide some information on your expertise and your contact details. Your information will then be held on a database that parliamentarians and staff can use to find experts in a particular area. For more information on who will have access to this information and how you might be asked to contribute, please see the FAQs below.

In addition to the expert database, we are asking those who sign up to answer a small number of questions on their views on the priorities for COP26 preparations and COP itself. The questions are deliberately quite high level and will be analysed by staff at POST to produce a briefing on COP26 scrutiny priorities. This briefing will serve as evidence to the BEIS Committee’s inquiry on “Net Zero and UN climate summits”.

We would be very grateful if you, or anyone you know with expertise in areas relevant to COP26, were to contribute.

For more information click here.