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.
Non-Annex I 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 transfer.
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 includeintergovernmental organizations (IGOs), such as the OECD and International Energy Agency (IEA), along with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Over 1598 NGOs and 99 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.
Reference: Parties & Observers, UNFCCC Web Site, 2013