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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Skyline of Baku, Azerbaijan

What is COP? It's short for the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and is the major UN climate conference. The 29th annual summit, known as COP29, will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 11-24 November 2024.

At the summit, delegates including heads of state, climate experts and negotiators will come together to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change – key negotiations will focus on building momentum on the progress made at COP28. 

As well as the negotiations, there will also be space for countries, international organisations and other delegates to showcase climate action, highlight diverse climate change issues and share knowledge. 

In addition to the main COP summit, this year will also see COP16, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) held in Colombia in October; and COP16, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December. 

The Azerbaijani COP Presidency 

Mukhtar Babayev, Azerbaijan’s minister for ecology and natural resources and COP29 President, set out his goals to “build bridges between the diverging north and south to keep 1.5°C in reach” as the incoming President in an op-ed for the Guardian.

Babayev is an oil industry veteran and sceptics have already critiqued Azerbaijan’s potential conflict of interest given the country relied on oil and gas for more than 92.5% of its export revenue last year. Azerbaijan also reportedly has plans to expand its fossil fuel industry. However Babayev set out the “intention of Azerbaijan to turn the corner on our economy to green directions.” This has been signalled by Azerbaijan committing to joining the Global Methane Pledge, investing in solar through a major project with BP and leveraging its offshore wind capacity.    

In response to the uncertainty created by the many elections anticipated in 2024, Babayev has warned that the governments that assume power after elections will be held to the same climate obligations as their predecessors.  

What will be discussed at COP29? 

Topics which seem likely to feature prominently at COP29 include: 

  • Climate finance - the new finance goal, known as the new collective quantified goal (NCQG), is due to be adopted at COP29, building on the $100 billion per year committed in 2009 and extended to 2025
  • Updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – climate action plans to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. The NDCs are due to be updated between November 2024 and February 2025
  • Aligning biodiversity and climate 
  • Agreeing the specifics of the Global Goal on Adaptation.

About COP - the UN's climate change conference

Image: Skyline of Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo by Lloyd Alozie on Unsplash

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