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COP28 Presidency makes achievements beyond borders

COP28 Presidency makes achievements beyond borders
20 Nov 2023 09:21

Taha Haseeb (Abu Dhabi) - On June 23, 2022, after the official announcement that the UAE would host the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) from November 30 through December 12, the wise UAE leadership formed a supreme national committee, chaired by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, with the membership of a number of officials, including His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, in the position of Deputy Chairman of the Committee responsible for overseeing preparations for COP28. On January 12, 2023, following the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Presidential Court, issued a decision appointing Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, as the COP28 President-Designate.

The decision also appointed Her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, as the Youth Climate Leader for COP28, and Razan Al Mubarak, President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, as the High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP28.

The COP28 team’s diligent work stems from a clear national vision for this major global event, based on four main objectives that include: accelerating a just, orderly, and equitable energy transition , developing mechanisms for climate finance, protecting people, lives, and livelihoods, and underpinning everything with full inclusivity.

The team carries out major tasks including mobilising the world’s attention towards the urgent need to fulfill the commitments from previous climate conferences, mitigating the impact of climate change, and exploring new pathways in climate financing, especially in the Loss and Damage Fund.

The team also aims to invigorate private sector initiatives to play a more significant role in green investments.

Efforts in the International Arena

The COP28 Presidency has had an active presence in Global Climate Weeks, with unprecedented initiatives making COP28 a historical turning point in climate action.

Within this framework, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber participated in the United Nations General Assembly meetings in September and joined members of the COP28 team at New York Climate Week, affirming that COP28 will be the first global climate conference focusing on the role of cities and local authorities in climate negotiations, providing an opportunity for city mayors and NGO officials to play a role in the conference.

The COP28 team’s participation in Africa Climate Week, held in Nairobi, Kenya in September, confirmed the UAE’s ability to launch initiatives that establish a fair and logical transition in the energy sector. The UAE launched a Dh16.5 billion clean energy financing initiative with “Africa50” to support renewable energy investments in Africa. This initiative is part of the “Etihad 7” programme, which aims to provide clean electricity to 100 million people in the African continent by 2035.

The programme was launched in during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2022, supported by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Middle East and North Africa region is a climate change hotspot, with climate models predicting temperatures 20% higher than global averages.

It is already the world’s most water-scarce region, and the rising temperatures are expected to lead to more severe and prolonged droughts. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber participated in the Middle East and North Africa Climate Week 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from October 8-12, reaffirming COP28’s vision for an organised, responsible, and fair energy transition.

During the event, Dr. Al Jaber pointed out that traditional fuel-producing countries have hosted 17 out of the 27 climate conferences, and that the region has increased its investments in renewable energy by four times compared to the last decade, with promising opportunities to double these investments in the next five years.

The region is well-positioned in the field of clean hydrogen, and possesses the necessary resources and expertise to build a future supportive of climate action, Dr. Al Jaber said. During Africa Climate Week, the COP28 team announced the Charter for Addressing Climate Vulnerability, which is set to be launched during COP28. The charter aims to direct more funding to countries facing challenges in dealing with the effects of climate change.

During Climate Week NYC, Razan Al Mubarak called for the restoration of 15 million hectares of mangrove forests by 2030, a goal achievable with increased funding and technical support. In a special event by the International Emissions Trading Association, Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, COP28 Director-General and Special Representative for the UAE’s COP28 Presidency, advocated for expanding the scope of high-integrity, voluntary carbon markets.

On November 1 the COP28 Presidency initiated the Charter for the Transition to Climate Neutrality, aiming to encourage the private sector to take effective action against the consequences of climate change. The charter focuses on encouraging private sector action against climate change and commits to enhancing transparency and integrity in implementing pledges for climate neutrality.

Since its formation, the COP28 team has made significant achievements towards stimulating climate action, including rallying international attention on the need to triple renewable energy production capacity by the end of this decade ahead of the conference, a proposal that was accepted by 85% of the world’s economies.

The COP28 Presidency’s efforts have successfully persuaded more than 20 oil and gas-producing companies to reduce methane emissions to zero by 2030. The team has also made progress in the climate finance sector, making multilateral banks more responsive to developing climate financing mechanisms. In early November, the special transitional committee for the Loss and Damage Fund convened in Abu Dhabi, where they recommended activating and developing funding arrangements.

The COP28 presidency has also been instrumental in calling for the integration of the private sector into global climate financing under favourable terms, reflecting the team’s conviction in developing global financial structures. Youth FocusOn March 15, 2023, the COP28 Presidency organised the “Road to COP28”, a youth-led event to advance climate awareness.

The Arab Youth Centre completed intensive awareness courses in one day, training 1,000 young men and women on the principles of climate awareness as an extension of the “Climate Action Alphabet” course launched during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in early 2023. During the UAE Government Annual Meetings, held on November 7-8 in Abu Dhabi, announced the members of the UAE’s negotiating team at COP28.

The team, 70% of which are members under 35, reflects COP28’s belief in the importance of youth in climate action, especially in climate diplomacy, aiming for unprecedented successes in this edition of the conference. Team members participated in specialised and comprehensive training programmes in climate diplomacy and international communication from the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy.

The team also attended and participated in several international conferences and meetings related to climate action. The team was selected based on precise criteria focusing on competence, excellence in diplomacy and climate action, communication skills, ambition, and the ability to represent the UAE in international forums.

Committee Members

The Supreme National Committee for COP28 Preparations includes His Excellency Mohamed bin Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; Her Excellency Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation; His Excellency Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade; Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of Community Development; His Excellency Mohammed Abdullah Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Federal Protocol and Strategic Narrative Authority; His Excellency Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police; His Excellency Lieutenant General Talal Humid Belhoul Al Falasi, Director General of the State Security Department in Dubai; His Excellency Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Commander-in-Chief of Abu Dhabi Police; His Excellency Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai; Rashid Saeed Al Ameri, Undersecretary for the Government Coordination Sector at the Presidential Court; Major General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaili, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior; His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism; Saif Saeed Ghobash, Under-Secretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism, and Secretary-General of Abu Dhabi Executive Council; and Dr. Jamal Al Hosani, representing the Supreme Council for National Security.

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