HomeEducationSustainability EducationCOP24Installment 7: Dispatches from COP24, A UMN student delegation in Katowice, Poland

Installment 7: Dispatches from COP24, A UMN student delegation in Katowice, Poland

Installment 7 was written by Kimberly Colgan, a Ph.D. graduate student in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering.

Navigating COP

COP24 is a whirlwind of events, press conferences, networking, and negotiations. Understanding what is happening around you can be difficult! Here are a few of the clerical things I learned at COP.

There are three broad categories of people attending COP: Party, Press, and Observer. Party means that you are officially affiliated with a UN nation state, the UN General Assembly Observer State of Palestine, UN non-member states, or the EU. Press is self-explanatory, and means you are a member of the press. Observers are non-party and non-press delegates. Observers are often from YOUNGO (youth constituency), RINGO (research institutes), and other NGOs.

The official language of the event is acronym. Following along with the formal negotiations, or even some of the side events can be perilous to newcomers. For example, in an agricultural event or Koronivia negotiation, you could hear someone say, “FAO is asking all countries, and AOSIS and SIDS countries in particular, to incorporate CSA programs in their NAPs and NDCs”.  With all those acronyms, it’s easy to get lost. The jargon can be a substantial barrier to understanding and following the negotiations. Because of this, it seems important to share a few key acronyms that I came across in my week at COP.


  •       AOSIS – alliance of small island states
  •       APA – ad hoc working group on the Paris agreement
  •       COP – conference of the parties
  •       IPCC – intergovernmental panel on climate change
  •       NAP – national adaptation plans
  •       NDC – nationally determined contribution
  •       SBSTA – subsidiary body for scientific and technological advice
  •       SIDS – small island developing states
  •       UNFCCC – United Nations framework convention on climate change

Climate Finance:

  •       CAF – climate adaptation fund
  •       GCF – green climate fund
  •       TCFD – task force on climate-related financial disclosures


  •       AFOLU – agriculture, forestry, and other land use
  •       CAICO – coordinadora de las organizaciones indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica
  •       CCAFS – climate change, agriculture, and food security
  •       CGIAR – consultative group on international agricultural research
  •       CSA – climate smart agriculture
  •       FAO – food and agriculture organization

For a more complete list, here is a link to the UNFCCC website with relevant climate-related terms and acronyms.

There are always so many things going on at COP! There are formal and informal negotiations, pavilions with information and free coffee, side-events, press conferences, and with so much happening it is easy to get lost. The UNFCCC Negotiator app has the official events and side-events listed, but to get information on pavilion-specific panels and events, you must go look at the pavillion’s event schedule. You can frequently find free coffee and espresso drinks at the Germany pavilion, though the line is always long.

Below are a list of a few relevant hashtags to help get your tweets and Instagram posts seen!

Relevant Hashtags

  •       COP24
  •       COP24Katowice
  •       MNCOP24
  •       ChangingTogether
  •       ConflictsAtCOP
  •       CloseTheGAP
  •       ClimateFinance
  •       WaterConservation
  •       ClimateJustice
  •       ClimateAction

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