Of the numerous official bodies and officers that provide for the governance of Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings, the most important of these is the President. This post is generally held by the Minister of Environment from the host government. He or she acts in this capacity as an official of the meeting and no longer participates in the meeting as a representative of his or her particular government. The Presidency, by definition, is neutral and impartial.The President opens and closes the meeting, determines the order of speakers, rules on points of order, teams with the chairs of the working groups to steer the process to a successful outcome and remains in office until a new President is elected at the commencement of the next ordinary meeting.
The President works in consultation with the Bureau, with support from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and relies upon the Bureau to help manage the meeting. The Bureau comprises 10 Parties (“Vice-Presidents”) plus the President or his representative. Each UN region elects two representatives to the Bureau. In practice, the Bureau plays a similar role to an executive board. The Rapporteur of the meeting is the member of Bureau who is responsible for preparing the report. He or she discharges this function with the assistance of the CBD Secretariat.
Perhaps most critically, the COP President provides political leadership, acts as a facilitator among all Parties to the negotiations, consults on the issues, moves negotiations forward, sets the tone for the next biennium and steers efforts by the international community towards meeting the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
As of 2016, there have been thirteen meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD. Several COP Presidencies have prepared reports on their achievements, including reporting on activities during the intersessional period and collaborative work with various stakeholders.
The following COP Presidency reports have been received from Parties: