Yearly meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Conferences of the Parties are meetings where all countries involved in the UNFCCC meet. These meeting are where decisions are made regarding the future actions and initiatives of the UNFCCC.
'Conference of the Parties' is usually shortened to COP followed by a number indicating which conference the abbreviation refers to. For example, the Conference of the Parties in Kyoto in December 1997, where the Kyoto Protocol was made, is shortened to COP-3 because it was the third Conference of the Parties.
The first Conference of the Parties was held in Berlin in 1995. In the conference it was discussed how to strengthen the Climate Convention. Until the conference in Berlin the UNFCCC had not shown strength and results. Binding commitments were seen as necessary in order to achieve the environmental goals.
The next Conference of the Parties, COP-17, will be held in Durban, South Africa from the 28th of November to the 9th December 2011.