Environmental conferences: which were the main ones in history?

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Environmental conferences help consolidate understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change while world leaders forge agreements and commitments on sustainable development. Find out below which were the most important meetings that took place before the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP-26) and what were their consequences.

Stockholm Conference

The first of the great environmental conferences in history was held in Stockholm in 1972 and was called the United Nations Conference on Environment and Sustainable Development. Since then, June 5th, also known as World Environment Day, has been celebrated to mark the first day of this event.

The Stockholm Declaration established 26 principles on development and the environment, starting a series of environmental conferences in which countries recognize their responsibility for sustainability.

First World Climate Conference

The First World Climate Conference (WCC-1) was convened in 1979 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as “a world conference of experts on climate and humanity”. The meeting organized groups to analyze climate information, hot topics and climate change research.

The WCC-1 was held in Geneva (Switzerland) and provided for the formation of the World Climate Program, the World Climate Research Program, in addition to having collaborated to make possible, years later, the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC) in 1988.

Rio 92 Conference

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) received a delegation from 175 countries and was the largest gathering of world leaders at the time. It was also known as the Earth Summit or River Summit. The event called on world governments to reconsider the environmental impact of political decisions and economic projects.

The meeting gave impetus to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), currently one of the largest funders of environmental projects in the world. In addition, important documents were signed, such as The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21 and Forest Principles.

The first of all COPs

The first Conference of the Parties (COP) was held in Berlin in 1995. It focused on countries’ abilities to develop policies related to climate change. The meeting involved negotiations with leaders from developed countries for legally binding obligations to reduce carbon emissions.

The meeting recognized that developed countries were more responsible for high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than developing countries. It also started talks that would lead to the Kyoto Protocol, a more legally accepted agreement.

COP3 and the Kyoto Protocol

COP-3, held in December 1997 in Kyoto (Japan), stood out as a conference on climate change that revolutionized political relations and gave developing countries more voice in decisions, culminating in a protocol that specifies the goals national issuing documents for conference members.

At the same time, the Kyoto Protocol was established to protect developing economies from the costs of reducing emissions. The main objective of the protocol was to make the concentration of greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere stable, economically and efficiently, with the creation of carbon credits.

COP21 and the Paris Agreement

COP-21 mainly dealt with the Paris Agreement, an innovative document in the world of climate diplomacy. For the first time in two decades, a universal climate agreement, which was legally binding, was finally reached.

The Paris Agreement aimed to limit temperature rises in the 21st century to below 2°C and, if possible, even below 1.5°C. In addition, it aimed to empower countries to mitigate the impact of climate change, with updated technology, an improved and more transparent response framework, greater public awareness of environmental issues, and greater financial support for developing nations.