The Second Conference of the Parties (COP-2) met in Geneva from 8-19 July 1996. More than 1500 participants from governments, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs participated. While many of the more contentious issues, such as treatment of the IPCC Second Assessment Report (SAR), were left unresolved, COP-2 did produce some important political statements. The COP concluded by noting the Geneva Declaration, which endorses the IPCC conclusions and calls for legally-binding objectives and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The Conference also saw a significant shift in position by the US, which for the first time supported a legally-binding agreement to fulfill the Berlin Mandate. However, even as Parties prepared to strengthen commitments, COP-2 highlighted the sharpest differences yet between delegations. The strong declarations of support for the SAR were far from unanimous, suggesting the need for substantial work in future sessions of the COPs subsidiary bodies before December 1997 when COP-3 meets in Kyoto, Japan.