• In November 2021 the UK will host COP26, the UN climate summit that will be vital for international efforts to respond to climate change.
  • POST is inviting anyone with expertise in areas relating to COP26 to provide feedback. We would like to know what you think the UK Parliament and Government’s priorities should be while preparing for and delivering COP26.
  • Findings from our survey will feed into an inquiry.
  • Those who respond to the survey will be entered onto a database of experts who may be contacted by parliamentary staff, Members of either House of UK Parliament or their staff, in order to help them scrutinise government preparations for COP26 over the next 16 months.

Please note the survey requires considered responses and could take 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Once you begin the survey you cannot save and exit. To see or prepare for the survey questions, you can download the full survey here.

COP26 is the 26th round of the UN’s annual climate change summit, in which the international community meets to negotiate and agree its response to climate change. Originally due to be held in November 2020 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, COP26 will be held in Glasgow between November 1 and 12 2021. The summit is widely considered to be the most important COP since the 2015 Paris Agreement was reached at COP21. This is the first year in which countries are due to present new ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ (NDCs) – pledges outlining how they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades.

The COP Presidency rotates each year, and this year is jointly held by the UK and Italy. The UK Government, led by the COP26 Unit in the Cabinet Office, is leading on preparations for the summit. Preparing for an event as complex as COP (in which 30,000 delegates are expected) will involve a substantial logistical and diplomatic effort. The UK Government will lead work on COP26, but many other groups, including the UK Parliament and the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will be involved in the delivery of COP26.

Parliament’s role in COP26

One of the main roles of Parliament is to scrutinise the work of the UK Government, which will include government preparations for COP26. Over the next 18 months, Members of both Houses will constructively examine how the Government is conducting its preparations. During the summit they will examine the progress and outcomes of COP26. This scrutiny will take the form of select committee inquiries, debates in both Houses and wider political engagement by Members.

Both the Environmental Audit Committee and the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee are already holding inquiries into COP26 and the UN climate summit process, for example, and much more work is expected across Parliament before November 2021.

In order to conduct this scrutiny effectively, parliamentarians and parliamentary staff need to be able to rapidly access the expertise of individuals and organisations who are knowledgeable in COP26 and the topics it will consider.

COP26 database and expert survey

The Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology (POST) is inviting anyone with expertise in COP26, the areas it will consider, or the UN climate summit process, to sign up to the COP26 Expert Database. We will ask you to provide some information on your expertise and your contact details. Your information will then be held on a database that parliamentarians and staff can use to find experts in a particular area. For more information on who will have access to this information and how you might be asked to contribute, please see the FAQs below.

In addition to the expert database, we are asking those who sign up to answer a small number of questions on their views on the priorities for COP26 preparations and COP itself. The questions are deliberately quite high level and will be analysed by staff at POST to produce a briefing on COP26 scrutiny priorities. This briefing will serve as evidence to the BEIS Committee’s inquiry on “Net Zero and UN climate summits”.

We would be very grateful if you, or anyone you know with expertise in areas relevant to COP26, were to contribute.

If you do register for the database please take a moment to also fill in a diversity monitoring form.

Frequently asked questions

I don’t think I’m an expert, but I think I have something useful to contribute. Should I sign up?

We are encouraging contributions from anyone who has experience or knowledge in areas relating to COP26. You don’t have to have been involved in this area for a long time, and POST staff will consider all suggestions as part of the analysis. POST staff are experienced in appraising research evidence and will be able to assess the quality of evidence in the submissions.

How will my answers to the survey questions be used?

POST will collect the responses and use them to conduct ‘thematic analysis’. This is a method of analysing large volumes of qualitative data to identify common themes. The identified themes will form the basis of a report on expert priorities for COP26, which will be used as evidence for the BEIS Committee’s inquiry into “net zero and UN climate summits”. The report will also be made available publicly on POST’s website.

Who will hold information about me? Who might contact me?

When you respond to the survey, the information you provide will be saved on a database that is accessible only to POST staff. Other parliamentary staff (including staff from committees or the Libraries in either House), MPs and their staff, Members of the Lords, and staff from the devolved legislatures (Scottish Parliament, Welsh Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly) may then contact POST with a request for individuals whose expertise meets certain criteria. If you fit the profile of these requests then POST will send them your data and they may subsequently contact you. POST will hold this information for up to seven years, and you will retain your rights over your data during this time as laid out in POST’s privacy policy.

If you respond to the diversity monitoring survey, only POST staff will have access to the data you provide for this (which will be anonymous, unless you are logged onto the parliamentary network with a UK Parliament account). POST may report this data in an aggregated and anonymous form in future, as part of its normal D&I processes.

How might I be asked to contribute if I sign up to the database?

There are many ways that you might be called upon to assist Parliament undertake scrutiny if you sign up. These include, but are not limited to: submitting written or oral evidence to a select committee inquiry; contributing to a research briefing, prepared by either POST or a Library; briefing an MP, Member of the Lords or their staff; contributing to an All-Party Parliamentary Group.

POST may also choose to conduct follow-up surveys on more specific topic areas over the next year. If your area of expertise sits in an area that we choose to follow up on then you may be asked to take part in this.

How likely am I to be contacted if I sign up?

We cannot say how likely it is that you’ll be contacted, as it will depend on the number of people who sign up to the database, and the scope and scale of parliamentary activities between now and November 2021. Please note that signing up does not guarantee that you will be contacted, and if you are contacted then you’re not obliged to take up the request.

My area of expertise isn’t listed in the survey

We appreciate that COP26 will cover a wide range of topic areas and that some people’s expertise won’t fall neatly into the categories we list. Please don’t let this put you off signing up, and instead use the ‘other’ box in the subsequent question.

How long do I have to fill out the survey?

The deadline for the survey is midnight on August 2. We may keep the survey open as a means to sign up to the database only (without asking for views on COP preparations) after this date.