What are the COP Pavilions?
by Amy Wilson & Malek Romdhane
Throughout the two weeks of the Conference of Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), official negotiations and informal open discussions take place. In addition to official side events coordinated by the UNFCCC secretariat, Parties and observer organisations can host events in their respective Pavilions .
The Pavilions are often small rooms or spaces (found in a separate area to the negotiation halls) where each Party or Observer organisation can host events, showcase research and expertise, and have open informal discussions with all COP attendees that visit the Pavilion. These spaces are key to the transparency of the COP negotiations.
Countries, groups of countries and Observer organisations can host a Pavilion, such as Thailand, the European Union, and the World Wide Fund (WWF). Each Pavilion is unique – it represents the nation’s or organisation’s culture, attitude to life on Earth, climate considerations and the respective national/organisational strategies to combat climate change. The Pavilions also serve as a space for networking, entertainment, and for building open-dialogue between Party delegates, experts, young people, and indigenous delegates.
What events take place at the Pavilions?
Events at previous COPs have included talks, discussion groups, question and answer sessions, and end of the day networking events.
Some of the events that took place at the Pavilions during the COP25 were:
- “Climate-Related Risks to Social Stability: Law and governance Approached” This event were hosted at the UN Climate Change Pavilion 
- The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Pavilion hosted the “Key performance indicators for the implementation and monitoring SDGs in European water management companies” event and was organised by the Regional Government of the Community of Madrid 
How do you find out about the events?
At the beginning of the COP, each Party or organisation will outline its events on a board outside its Pavilion (or through a COP app, or a website) and if you are attending COP you can walk around and choose which events to attend. No registration is needed to attend the events; you can just walk in and take a seat. But get there early – sometimes they fill up very fast and you might find you have to stand. You might also see people drop in and out of the Pavilion events to attend negotiations or other side events. Therefore it is advisable to organise your calendar on the morning of each conference day to avoid missing any interesting event.
During the last COP (COP25), so many events were taking place simultaneously that some pavilion organisers resorted to marketing strategies to attract delegates, such as offering coupons in exchange for souvenirs.
How can the UNFCCC accredited parties and organisations get a pavilion at COP26?
For COP26 it is expected that the country Pavilions will be in the Blue Zone – the UK will have the most prominent pavilion because it is the host country for COP26. The organisation Pavilions will most likely be in the Green Zone .
Application for Pavilion spaces will be open for the UNFCCC accredited parties and organisations through a portal in Summer 2021 (six months prior to COP26) [5, 6]. After the announcement Parties and organisations will start organising their events – this might be a way to present your research at COP! The organisers are keen to have an increased number of virtual participation activities too.
Cover picture from UNFCCC’s Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unfccc/49216380663/
 UNFCCC, UNFCCC Pavilion – Event Schedule, (2019). Available at https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/COP25_Pavilion_Schedule.pdf, accessed (04/03/21)
 United Nations, SDG Pavilion – Programe, (2019). Available at https://www.un.org/en/cop-25-sdg-pavilion/page/sdg-pavilion-program, accessed (04/03/21)
[4, 5] COP26 – How to get involved, (2021). Available at https://ukcop26.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Stakeholder-involvement-at-COP26-packV1.pdf, accessed (04/03/21)
 UNFCCC. Available at https://ukcop26.org/the-conference/get-involved/, accessed (04/03/21)