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COP28 glossary: Explaining the most used conference terminology

COP28 glossary: Explaining the most used conference terminology

Michael Button

Senior Policy Manager - Real Economy

Acronyms are a familiar sight for investors and anyone working in the sustainability space, but it’s easy to lose track of COP-specific terms between conferences. This glossary aims to help you get up to speed on some of the most commonly used terms, listed in alphabetical order.

 COP – Conference of the Parties

The full event title is “Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” (UNFCCC - definition below). Unless agreed otherwise, all countries who have signed the UNFCCC foundational treaty meet annually at the COP.

The important role of host nation is circulated between the five UN regional groups: African States, Asia-Pacific states, Eastern European states, Latin American and Caribbean States, and Western European and Other states.

EMDCs / EMDEs - Emerging Markets and Developing Countries/Economies

A catch-all term for an enormously diverse range of poorer or less economically developed nations. Sometimes referred to as the “global south”, in contrast to advanced economies in the “global north”. Many question the accuracy and effectiveness of these broad categorisations.

GST – United Nations Global Stocktake

The first set of Global Stocktake results will be published this year at COP28. It’s a two-year assessment which takes stock of the world’s collective progress towards achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, referred to by some as the ‘world’s biggest report card’.

The GST is focused on three main areas: mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation and support, the last of which includes finance. The results evaluate progress on a global level, but countries are expected to consider its outcomes when they next update their nationally defined contributions (NDCs).

GCF - Green Climate Fund

Established in 2011 to help fund clean energy and sustainable development projects in developing countries. It is the world’s largest climate fund, mandated to support developing countries raise and realise their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) ambitions towards low-emissions, climate-resilient pathways.

High-Level Climate Champions

The champions connect the work of governments with the many voluntary and collaborative actions being taken by non-state actors - including cities, regions, businesses and investors - working towards the Paris Agreement.

There are two champions each year: one from the previous host nation, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin from Egypt in this case; and one from the upcoming host nation, H.E Ms. Razan Al Mubarak from the United Arab Emirates.

LDCs – Least Developed Countries

The Least Developed Countries are 46 nations that are “especially vulnerable to climate change but have done the least to cause the problem.” The group coordinates its decision-making at COP negotiations.

33 of the LDC countries are in Africa, nine in Asia, three in the Pacific, and one in the Caribbean. The list is reviewed every three years by the UN Committee for Development Policy and those countries qualify for special concessions to help them ‘graduate’ from this status.

MDBs - Multilateral Development Banks

International financial institutions chartered by two or more countries to encourage economic development in poorer nations. MDBs provide loans and grants to member nations to fund projects that support social and economic development, often at low or no interest.

MPGCA - Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action

Supports the implementation of the Paris Agreement by facilitating collaboration between governments and non-state actors. The partnership is led by the UNFCCC High-Level Climate Champions.

Mahesh Roy, IIGCC Investor Strategies Programme Director also co-leads the finance workstream for the MGPCA and we are working with them at COP28.

NCQG - New Collective Qualified Goal on Climate Finance

A new climate finance goal for the post-2025 period which countries will have to set next year at COP29. It replaces the current goal of mobilising $100bn per year for climate action in developing countries by 2020, which was agreed at the Copenhagen Accord in 2009 and reinforced by the Paris Agreement. 

Developed countries have so far missed this goal and an emergency delivery plan at COP26 warned that they may not hit it until 2025, though new data indicates that they may achieve it in the 2022 annual review.

This failure jeopardises trust between nations, and the hope is that discussions at COP28 will align agreement on this new NCQG goal to restore it.

NDCs – Nationally Determined Contributions

A party member’s individual, self-defined national climate pledges as part of the Paris Agreement. NDCs detail what a country will do to help meet the global goal to limit temperature increases to 1.5°C by 2050, including how it will adapt to climate impacts and ensure sufficient finance to support these efforts.

Each participating country is required to establish an NDC and update it every five years "to reflect the highest possible ambition", with the next wave due by the end of 2025.

SIDs - Small Island Developing States

A distinct group of 39 states and 18 associate members that face unique social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities, including climate change. SIDs are located in three regions: the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, and the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, is one leader from the SIDs taking an outsized role in climate conversations. She leads calls for a reform of finance between developed and developing countries, known as The Bridgetown Initiative, which aims to stop poorer countries from spiralling into debt during climate disasters.

UNFCCC - United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The UNFCCC was established in 1994 to support the global response to the threat of climate change. Its framework convention is referenced in subsequent climate agreements and is considered a foundational text for international climate action. The UNFCCC Secretariat hosts several negotiation sessions ahead of each COP to narrow down discussion points at the event.

The UNFCCC has almost universal international membership, with 198 (country) party members. It also maintains the registry for nationally defined contributions (NDCs) and provides technical analysis of climate change information.

Find out more about IIGCC activity in our overview of IIGCC at COP28.

If you’d like to be the first to hear about IIGCC’s work at COP28 and access our webinars, insights and analysis, why not speak to our investor relations manager today to find out more about becoming a part of IIGCC?