What to expect at COP28 UAE

International collaboration and innovation for a sustainable future
What to expect at COP28 UAE
UAE on spotlight as it hosts important climate change conference

The upcoming COP28 UAE is generating significant anticipation worldwide. It will convene leaders, industry representatives, and climate experts in Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023.

With 70,000 participants from over 190 countries, UAE COP28 aims to combat global warming and determine responsibility for climate change damage.

What is COP?

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was established 1994 to prevent “dangerous” human interference with the climate system. Its goal is to assess progress and address climate change.

Every year, the COP or Conference of Parties convenes to review advancements made. These meetings have resulted in several legally binding international agreements, including the Paris Agreement of 2015.

Additionally, it provides a platform for all stakeholders to come together, recalibrate strategies, and increase their ambitions.

There will be a plethora of activities happening, but here are some important events you need to mark on your calendars.

Opening Ceremony

November 30

The UAE COP28 starts with an inaugural ceremony in Dubai, where COP27 hosts Egypt will transfer the presidency of the summit to the UAE. They will appoint Dr Sultan Al Jaber as the President before the World Climate Action Summit begins.

After the opening ceremony, organizers will hold various meetings. These include gatherings of parties to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. Additionally, meetings of subsidiary bodies will take place to discuss and address key climate-related issues.

World Climate Action Summit

December 1-2

Heads of state and world leaders will convene at the summit to engage in discussions regarding concrete actions and plans for climate action.

Furthermore, leaders from civil society, business, youth, Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, frontline communities, science, and other sectors will join them.

During UAE COP28, the first Global Stocktake will take place to evaluate the progress made in limiting climate change.

Read: UAE announces a special focus on trade at COP28

Health, Relief & Recovery, Peace

December 3

The conference will dedicate a day to discussing health and its relationship with climate change, a first for the conference.

In particular, efforts will be made to provide immediate relief to those impacted by climate change and build consensus on priority actions. This includes exploring ways to strengthen the health system’s response, along with financing.

In addition, climate-related displacement of vulnerable communities has increased fragility, which may compromise peace.

Moving on to the second theme of the day, Relief, Recovery, and Peace, UAE COP28 will center discussions on several areas. These areas include accelerating adaptation, addressing loss and damage, and providing support to impoverished regions with limited access to climate finance.

Finance, Trade, Gender Equality, Accountability

December 4

The first theme of the fifth day will address the need for transformational change in finance and trade systems, critical to meeting climate goals.

Currently, neither global financial systems that regulate access and affordability of climate finance nor international trade networks are operating effectively. Consequently, global institutions and countries’ leaders, responsible for these systems, must widely accept the need to accelerate reform efforts and hold themselves accountable.

Shifting focus to the Gender Equality Day theme, the program will prioritize gender-responsive policymaking and bolstering access to finance. Furthermore, the program will include examining accountability mechanisms to ensure that promises and pledges are translated into concrete results and boost transparency.


Energy and Industry, Just Transition, Indigenous Peoples

December 5

The day’s focus is on accelerating the energy transition, ensuring it is a just transition. Similarly, the affordability of energy for everyday life must remain while becoming cleaner.

Several proposed solutions will be examined, including scaling up renewable energy usage and incorporating hydrogen as a supportive element. Furthermore, carbon-capture technologies and methane reduction strategies will be addressed to decarbonize existing energy sources.

Importantly, the day recognizes the important role of indigenous peoples as stewards of 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. It will stress their intergenerational knowledge, practices, and leadership in climate action.

Multilevel Action, Urbanization, and Built Environment

December 6

This day presents a rare opportunity for various leaders to collaborate in accelerating climate action solutions across society.

Moreover, it will explore creating greener urban mobility systems that can withstand and adapt to climate change. This will support the transition to low carbon built environments and infrastructure. Another focus will be redesigning systems of production and consumption to minimize waste.

Furthermore, the day will stress how these solutions contribute to safer, healthier, and greener cities that will benefit posterities.

Youth, Children, Education and Skills

December 8

On this day, the UAE COP28 presidency will welcome the largest group of young delegates ever assembled at the summit. The aim is to empower children and provide them with accessible opportunities to be leading contributors.

Likewise, it will prioritize equitable representation, stronger engagement mechanisms, and resource allocation across the COP themes and policy tracks.

Nature, Land Use and Oceans

December 9

The sustainability of nature, land use, and oceans is integral to achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals. Moreover, the world’s climate and its biodiversity are inextricably interconnected. As a result, mitigating both crises must be integrated.

UAE COP28 will specifically focus on delivering climate and nature co-benefits. This will be accomplished through a range of financing mechanisms and packages, co-designed with local and Indigenous Peoples.

In addition, the day will emphasize the acceleration of private sector commitments to nature-positive accountability frameworks.

Food, Agriculture and Water

December 10

The focus of this day will center around addressing the issues on food, agricultural, and water systems. This includes strategies such as promoting regenerative agriculture and water-food systems, conservation efforts, and improve food security.

To add to that, the day will also prioritize the implementation of stronger and fairer integrated governance between states and corporations. They will likewise tackle the collaborations between farmers and producers.

Final Negotiations

December 11-12

The summit has allocated the last two scheduled days specifically for final negotiations. It is worth noting that in the past, these negotiations have tended to exceed their allocated time. Therefore, by allowing extra time, we ensure the negotiations can conclude without any rush and without compromising the quality of outcomes.

Looking ahead

The commitment to hosting COP28 UAE underscores the importance of global cooperation in finding sustainable solutions and mobilizing collaborative action to fight climate change.

More importantly, the outcome of COP28 will pave the path for the world to achieve a more sustainable future for all.

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