The Convention divides countries into three main groups according to differing commitments:
Annex I Parties include the
industrialized countries that were members of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development) in 1992, plus countries with economies in transition (the EIT Parties), including the Russian
Federation, the Baltic States, and several Central and Eastern European States.
Annex II Parties consist of the OECD members of Annex I, but not the EIT Parties. They are required to
provide financial resources to enable developing countries to undertake emissions reduction activities under
the Convention and to help them adapt to adverse effects of climate change. In addition, they have to
"take all practicable steps" to promote the development and transfer of environmentally friendly
technologies to EIT Parties and developing countries. Funding provided by Annex II Parties is channelled
mostly through the Convention’s financial mechanism.
Parties are mostly developing countries. Certain groups of developing countries are recognized by the
Convention as being especially vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, including countries with
low-lying coastal areas and those prone to desertification and drought. Others (such as countries that rely
heavily on income from fossil fuel production and commerce) feel more vulnerable to the potential economic
impacts of climate change response measures. The Convention emphasizes activities that promise to answer the
special needs and concerns of these vulnerable countries, such as investment, insurance and technology
The 49 Parties classified as least developed countries (LDCs) by the United Nations are
given special consideration under the Convention on account of their limited capacity to respond to climate
change and adapt to its adverse effects. Parties are urged to take full account of the special situation of
LDCs when considering funding and technology-transfer activities.
Several categories of observer organizations also attend sessions of the COP and its subsidiary bodies. These
include representatives of United Nations secretariat units and bodies, such as UNDP, UNEP and UNCTAD, as
well as its specialized agencies and related organizations, such as the GEF and WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Observer organizations include intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), such as the
OECD and International Energy Agency (IEA), along with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Over 1880 NGOs and 100 IGOs are admitted as observers. The NGOs represent a broad spectrum of interests,
and embrace representatives from business and industry, environmental groups, farming and
agriculture, indigenous populations, local governments and municipal authorities, research and academic
institutes, labour unions, women and gender and youth groups. Constituency groupings have
emerged from the above groups to facilitate interaction.