Yesterday, I answered the question: What's the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)? Now that we're all on the same page, it's time to focus on yet another acronym. What is a Conference of the Parties (COP)? Based on the first word, it’s clearly a conference, but the explanation doesn’t end there. COP is the highest decision making body of the CBD. A COP has occurred every other year since 1996. At COP, all member states come together to negotiate and adopt decisions and protocols. While both are legal documents, protocols are legally binding and decisions only have some legal force. It is important that countries stick to their commitments; decisions set the tone for a country and while not binding, they can be powerful. Over the course of a COP, member states negotiate and develop decisions and/or protocols over a two-week period. The result of negotiations, and the COP itself, is the production of final documents on decisions and protocols.
For more information and resources about COP:
Check out the Convention on Biological Diversity website
Take a look at this visual representation produced by Earth in Brackets
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