COP26 Glasgow


You may have noticed the vast amount of news coverage in the past few months about the COP26 conference coming to Glasgow from October 31st – November 12th. 

Have you found yourself wondering what the conference entails and what this means to you? Don’t worry, we have gathered some of the key points about COP for you below.

Skip to:

What is COP? // Why is COP26 so significant? // What does this mean for Glasgow? // What does this mean for me? // Helpful links

After the Pandemic

COY16 // What can you expect? // Why was Glasgow chosen? // So why attend COY16? // Get Involved // Interviews

COP26 & COY16 events at Strathclyde


What is COP?

COP stands for Conference of the Parties (where the United Nations, politicians, governing bodies, and campaigners from all over the world gather to discuss climate change).  

Back in the nineties, scientists, other experts in the field, and other stakeholders noticed the effects of global warming and climate change, which lead to UN leaders coming together to discuss a plan of action during the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. There the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was born. Members of the UNFCCC hold regular conferences, named the Conference of Parties (COP).


Why is COP26 so significant?

Five years ago, during the COP conference in Paris, the Paris Agreement saw multiple countries committing themselves to tackle global warming and climate change through dedicated, national policies that would reduce emissions. For the first time ever, every country agreed to work together to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees. They agreed that every five years they would come back with an updated plan. 

However, this COP is also significant because more recently scientists have discovered that current policies will potentially not be quick enough in creating change to limit global warming in the way it was planned during the Paris Agreement. 

Countries must go much further to keep the hope of holding temperature rises to 1.5 degrees alive and this is what will be part of the discussion during COP26.


What does this mean for Glasgow?

In the run up to COP26 the UK is working with every nation to reach agreement on how to tackle climate change. More than 190 world leaders are expected to arrive in Scotland. Together with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for twelve days of talks.

Within Glasgow, some travel  routes will be closed or access to them will be restricted. Some roads  will be closed, public transport services might not run as usual, and certain areas of the city will be off limits. More information about how COP26 will affect traffic and travel can be found here.


What does this mean for me?

While you might see road closures and closed off areas around Glasgow which could affect your daily life and routine, it is also a once in a lifetime experience for you to get involved in climate action and there are many events happening around Glasgow, the University and Strath Union.

Strathclyde University is hosting COY16 – the Conference of Youth preparing young people to participate in COP26. 

At Strath Union, we will be hosting a Mock COP26 on October 28th via Zoom. This simulation conference provides a fantastic interactive opportunity for Strathclyde students to learn about the UN and climate negotiations. Students must strategically navigate their way through their group’s aims in the negotiations (provided via tailored handouts), the interests of other delegations (explored in bilateral breakout sessions) and ultimately voting on the important issues discussed.

We will also continue to host meetings with our Climate Emergency Action Group and all students are welcome to join.


More info:

Strathclyde University and COP26:

Strath Union Mock COP26: 

Strath Union Climate Emergency Action Group:

COP26 Coalition People's Summit programme:


Climate Fringe COP26 programme:

More about what COP is and how this relates to Glasgow (including road closures):

After The Pandemic

After the Pandemic @ COP26

After the Pandemic launched on May 8th, 2020 by Lateral North, Fergus Bruce, and Laura McHard. It asked how communities could both generate ideas and initiate positive change during the Covid-19 Pandemic - how to develop new places and spaces; new systems and new products; and how to tackle both immediate problems and intersecting global challenges like the climate emergency. The initiative’s original aim was to use creativity to ‘rethink, reimagine, and redesign’ Glasgow, Scotland. It now offers an open, supportive platform for people to share ideas for how their communities might ‘build back better' from this very specific moment in time - to make our spaces and places to be greener, more sustainable, and more resilient.

After the Pandemic is working with the Fair Futures Partnership and a diverse group of global partners, organisations, speakers, musicians, artists, and community groups to deliver ‘After the Pandemic @ COP 26’ - a free and open hub for citizens of everywhere to join the climate discussion beyond the COP26 security cordon.  

This major fringe event event will take place in our very own Strath Union, alongside Universities and International Partners. Read all about it. 


COY16 - UN Climate Change Conference of Youth


Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde have the amazing honour of hosting this year's UN Climate Change Conference of Youth, also known as COY. Strath Union and the University of Strathclyde have demonstrated a continuous commitment to sustainability. Let's have a look at what COY is and what we can expect to experience once the conference takes place in October. 

COY, short for the UN Climate Change Conference of Youth, is an annual climate change conference aimed at preparing young people, such as students, for COP. COP is the annual UN Climate Change Conference, also known as Conference of the Parties, where people from all over the world and the United Nations gather to discuss climate change. COY stands as a preparatory step for young people before they dive into the negotiations, aiming to prepare and train them. 

The first held Conference of the Parties was in 1995 and the first COY came after starting in 2005 with the 1st conference happening in Montreal, Canada. Although coming after the COP, the youth of the world have been actively engaged at COP. 2005 was the 1st formal gathering head of COP11. In 2009, the UNFCCC secretariat and member States of the Convention officially recognised the youth constituency and confirmed their status in 2011. This youth consistency is called YOUNGO and represents the formal voice of Youth in UNFCCC processes.

In 2010 less than 500 people got the chance to attend but in 2015  over 5,000 activists and change makers participated. There have now been 15 conferences attended by over 150 countries and over 50,000 activists and change makers. 

Since the COY11 in 2015, the conference has decentralised. This means Local COYs, either at a regional or national level, happen every year globally and are known as LCOYs. This gives the advocates an opportunity to address and analyse climate related topics at national and/or regional level. This recognises the importance of an in-depth discussion of this issue before further discussing them in the main COY. 


What can you Expect? 

COY is separated into four main sections. The Policy Document, the Capacity Building, the Skill Building Workshops and the Cultural Exchange. 

The Policy Document, or the position paper, is a document that consists of all the suggestions and ideas of the youth regarding climate change. The document will then be presented at COP. The first part of COY is coming up and creating that document.

Capacity Building is informing young people on climate change and how different sectors, industries, countries and people get affected by it. People from more than 140 countries participate in COY every year. In order for the topics to be discussed and understood thoroughly, everyone is split into groups and breakout sessions. 

The Skill-Building Workshops, are a number of workshops dedicated to enhance the participants skills. Presenting your ideas in front of the United Nations can be quite a scary experience for some. Therefore, public speaking, fundraising, event management and youth mobilisation workshops are included in the conference. 

Cultural Exchange. The final part of the conference is the cultural exchange. Having attendees from all over the world, means that there are a number of different cultures and ideas in one place. As a result, COY offers a variety of activities and events, aiming to increase the networking social skills and opportunities for everyone involved. 

Climate strike march - Glasgow - 24 September 2021Climate strike march - Glasgow - 24 September 2021

Why was Glasgow Chosen? 

Each year a new city is chosen to host both COY and COP with Bali, Copenhagen, and Marrakech as notable past choices. This year Glasgow was chosen due to the strong culture of sustainability and climate activism present in the city.
In general, the city is a green haven with over 20 parks across the region and Glasgow’s Gaelic name, Glaschu, meaning “Green Glen”. Recent infrastructure improvements have increased bike and pedestrian spaces within the city. With the target of carbon neutrality set for 2030 and 4th place overall on the Global Destination Sustainability Index Glasgow serves as a testimony to the true power of change that lies in climate action.


So why attend COY16? 

It is an incredible opportunity to learn more about climate change, gain more skills and friends and interact with a plethora of people. The skills you’ll gain from the workshops will be with you for life and the friendships and connections you can make on the social and networking events will be unforgettable. You have the opportunity to suggest and present your ideas on an incredible topic in front of thousands of people, members of the UN included. You can also volunteer for the preparation of the conference and gain even more experience and friends that way too! 


Get involved!

Any updates regarding volunteering or how to get involved will be announced on the COY16 Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter



Kayla Megan Burns

An Interview with Kayla-Megan Burns: Ex Strath Union President and Climate Activist.

An Interview with three COY16 Volunteers.

COP26 & COY16 events at Strathclyde.

After the Pandmic Programme of Events

See below for more Strath Union events:

The Backpack Project
24th November - 17th January
Help us reach 50 FULL backpacks xoxo
Societies | Volunteering | COP26 | Sustainability