Virtual Sessions Nudge Forward Key Climate Issues Ahead of COP26

Report this content

The first global gathering of negotiators since COP25 saw engagement on outstanding issues, but also raised disagreements that should be ironed out before COP26.

17 June 2021 - Three weeks of global climate meetings concluded today, edging forward discussions on crucial outstanding issues ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. The sessions supplied much-needed momentum, but also shone a light on the substantial amount of work still to be completed before the November conference.

The meetings, which were held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were impacted by technical glitches, connectivity issues, timezone and translation difficulties. While more observer organizations were able to attend because of this format (5,800 people, according to the UNFCCC Secretariat), options for them to follow and influence the process were also impacted. Nevertheless, the meetings met their objective of making progress under difficult circumstances. 

"After a year of uncertainty, disruption and postponements, these virtual sessions and other key moments in 2021, such as the US Leaders Summit and the G7, have confirmed the shared global commitment to climate action is still rock solid," said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy. "The crucial outstanding elements of the Paris Agreement rulebook must be finalised and implemented. Our planet cannot wait."

“Between now and COP26, we need more countries to come forward with ambitious short and long term climate plans. The unlocking conditions for that must be advanced. The G7 reaffirmed the US$100 billion goal to support developing countries, but we need words to be put into practice with stronger pledges,” said Fernanda de Carvalho, Global Policy Manager for Climate & Energy at WWF. “Other political building blocks ahead of COP will be the UN High Level Dialogue on Energy and the G20 meetings. We need to make up for lost time.”

“These virtual meetings allowed countries to advance discussions on key issues, but also showed the clear limits in terms of resolving differences and reaching agreement, in the absence of face to face interactions. Technical glitches can also undermine trust and confidence in the process,” said Mark Lutes, Senior Global Climate Policy Advisor for WWF. “It’s clear that accelerated global vaccine distribution is a prerequisite for a successful COP. Some of the most contentious issues will likely only be solved with in-person meetings.”

The sessions advanced discussions on topics including:

  • Article 6 (market and non-market approaches): Parties discussed issues such as avoiding double counting, corresponding adjustments and carry-over of Kyoto credits. Some developing country parties have expressed the interest to have 6.8 (non-market approaches) operationalized at COP26. A number of parties also voiced support for increased consideration of human rights. 
  • Common timeframes for NDC implementation: Most parties expressed determination to get agreement on this issue at COP26 in Glasgow. This session produced a new and workable set of options as a basis for consulting with ministers over the coming months, including the 5-year option which is the most compatible with the 5-year NDC submission cycle and with raising ambition. 
  • Global stocktake: Progress has been made on building an equitable process and outcome and on support for engaging non-state actors in shaping the process for a global summary of climate efforts.
A ministerial-level meeting, scheduled for July, aims to further drive forward the urgent action needed to keep the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement within reach. Besides advancing on themes discussed at the meetings, such as article 6 and common timeframes, ministers will address issues that were not included in the latest sessions, such as adaptation, finance and loss and damage. 


Notes for editors:

WWF’s expectations for COP26 are available here
The UNFCCC’s statement on the session is available here

For more information, contact Mandy Woods (

Julien Anseau | WWF International |

About WWF

WWF is an independent conservation organization, with over 30 million followers and a global network active in nearly 100 countries. Our mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for the latest news and media resources; follow us on Twitter @WWF_media