The UK has formally announced its intention to host next year’s international COP climate conference as part of a partnership with Italy that will see the latter host a pre-COP event.

As part of the proposal, the countries would assume the Presidency of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in a unique partnership.

The UK will host the COP conference and Italy will host the pre-COP event, which includes a significant youth event to recognise the role of youth climate strikes in raising climate ambitions across Europe.COP26 will take place in 2020 which is the accepted deadline for the Paris Agreement to be fully implemented and adopted across the globe.

The bid comes weeks after the UK agreed a statutory instrument to amend the Climate Change Act of 2008 to account for a net-zero target by 2050. Last week, Italy added its name to a growing list of EU countries supporting a carbon neutrality objective for 2050. However, European Union leaders failed to strike a deal to commit to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at a European Council summit last week meaning that it will not be included in the EU’s strategic agenda for 2019-2024.

Both the UK and Italy are members of the High Ambition Coalition, the group of developed and developing countries dedicated to catalysing the highest levels of ambition during international climate talks. The Coalition was a driving force behind the creation and ratification of the Paris Agreement in 2015. The partnership will form part of a wider strategic alliance focusing on climate change, with more intentions set to be outlined this year at COP 25. It also creates a bridge for climate awareness amongst the G7, with the UK acting with concurrent presidency and Italy set to take up the position in 2021.

A final decision on COP 26 is expected in the next few days when global climate negotiators meet in Bonn.

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