Where is COP26 being held and who's attending? Everything you need to know

The climate conference is taking place in Glasgow this year, with thousands of people attending

Updated on 04 November 2021 • Written By Rosie Conroy

Where is COP26 being held and who's attending? Everything you need to know

COP26 is taking place in the UK this year, hosted and held in Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow. Home to nearly 600,000 people already, Glasgow's population will swell by over 20,000 people during the event. 

Much to the contrary of what many people will have been expecting, Glasgow has put on a show weather-wise in the conference's first week, with the sunshine making an appearance for the first couple of days. While delegates and world leaders are up north they are predominantly being hosted in the city’s largest venue – the SEC. Standing for the Scottish Event Campus, the SEC is Scotland’s biggest exhibition centre and was chosen for its eco-credentials. Having won the Gold Green Tourism Award, the team here are also committed to reducing the environmental impact of their operations.

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This, as you might have guessed, is the conference’s 26th iteration, with it first being held in Berlin back in 1995 – an event which was dubbed COP1 at the time. Previous years have proved tense and ended disappointingly, with few agreements made between participating countries. Every so often, though, a huge breakthrough is achieved (as was seen at COP21 in Paris when nearly every involved country agreed to a new climate treaty). This year, British organisers are hopeful that similar steps will be taken by the participating heads of states. So far, a coalition of 190 countries and orgs have joined in agreeing to eliminate coal and to prioritise clean energy.

Where is COP26 being held in Glasgow?

While there are many COP26 events happening across the city, the main venue is the SEC down by Glasgow’s River Clyde. From here attendees will get a view of the city’s Science Centre as well as the local BBC buildings.

The vast area is split up into various uses which include press rooms, action zones, delegation offices and more. The public are also able to attend the SEC during COP26, with a specially designed 'Green Zone' being ticketed for visitors. 

What does COP26 stand for?

COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and the 26 is added to indicate the event is in its 26 year. Most people refer to it as COP, as the full title is a bit of a mouthful.

Which countries are involved in COP26?

Over 200 countries are represented at each COP conference, with leaders coming to the event from all over the world. Aside from presidents and prime ministers, businesses, NGOs and faith groups are also invited to take part. Notable omissions from this year’s line up include Russia's, China's, Turkey's and Brazil’s presidents. Here are some of the countries who are attending COP26:

- Argentina
- Australia
- Canada
- Colombia
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- EU representatives from the 27 member states
- France
- Ghana
- India
- Israel
- Italy
- Nigeria
- Scotland
- South Korea
- Sweden
- Switzerland
- US

COP26 delegates and participants list

With so many countries taking part, the official list of attendees is nearly limitless, but here are some of the conference’s most notable attendees:

- President Joe Biden, United States
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson, United Kingdom
- First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland
- Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, United Kingdom
- Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Israel
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Australia
- President Emmanuel Macron, France
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada
- Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Italy
- President Ivan Duque, Colombia
- Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, Sweden
- President Guy Parmelin, Switzerland
- President Moon Jae-in, South Korea
- President Felix Tshisekedi, the Democratic Republic of Congo 
- President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria
- President Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghana
- President Alberto Fernandez, Argentinia

Alongside the official attendees and world-leaders are many protesters who have travelled internationally to make their voices heard on the climate crisis and who are attending various rallies and marches across the city. Her Majesty The Queen is a notable absentee after being advised to rest up after a recent stint in hospital.

When does COP26 finish?

COP26 finishes on Friday 12 November, after two weeks of events, having kicked off on Sunday 31 October.

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