Representatives from Durham University will be attending COP26 following confirmation that we have been granted provisional observer status for this year’s event.
The application process began in 2020 and saw us detail how we met 10 criteria needed to gain the observer status for COP26. This included demonstrating our interest in, and commitment to, climate change research and education, and the SDG agenda.
Having met all of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requirements and been recommended for provisional observer status for this year’s COP, we can now send a group of representatives to attend the landmark climate change event in Glasgow this autumn.
During COP26 a decision will be made by the Parties to the UNFCCC on whether the University, and other provisional attendees, will be granted formal observer status.
Formal observer status would allow us to attend future conferences and Meetings of Parties under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, as well as to apply for exhibits and side-events.
If the formal status is granted at COP26, Durham would join the list of less than 30 universities in the UK with formal COP observer status.
Attendees from the University will be able to observe open sessions and negotiations at the event in Glasgow, giving them an inside-view on how the climate crisis is being addressed at the highest levels.
Our hope is that this will spark new research and collaboration opportunities and enhance our understanding of the processes of international negotiations around the climate crisis.
Durham is already a hub for innovative thinking when it comes to climate change. In September we will be hosting an international, multi-disciplinary conference asking whether international law is equipped to support a sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
We will bring together experts in international law, climate science and epidemiology, to explore some of the complex linkages between air pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss and human health.
Meanwhile our experts are also sharing their knowledge in other ways. In September Professor Karen Johnson from our Engineering department will give a keynote speech at the Orkney International Science Festival about her work on soil regeneration.