Writes Baboloki Semele
COP28 President, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber delivered a resounding call to action during the closing address at the Pre-COP conference. He implored ministers and delegations from across the globe to expedite the progress achieved in negotiations during the conference, stressing that there is no room for further delays in climate action.
Over the course of the two-day conference, 70 ministers and 100 country delegates convened to discuss the political aspects of the upcoming COP28 negotiations. This moment proved critical in fostering consensus and setting the tone for COP28.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Al Jaber expressed optimism, stating, “Over the last two days, I have witnessed constructive dialogues on complex issues. We are approaching convergence in pivotal areas.”
He particularly acknowledged those who had contributed to the initial outline of a decision on the Global Stocktake, which serves as the foundation for forthcoming negotiations.
However, the focal point of his speech centered on the urgency for Parties to sustain engagement, seek consensus, and act decisively ahead of COP28. Dr. Al Jaber emphasized, “Parties need to step up early, enabling us to facilitate the work towards a comprehensive decision. This decision must provide clear, practical guidance on addressing the gaps identified through the Global Stocktake.”
A central theme was the call for Parties to “take action and make the required commitments” in the realm of climate finance, a challenge that Dr. Al Jaber referred to as “one of the most significant obstacles to progress.”
Dr. Al Jaber underlined the necessity for creating a “new ecosystem” that combats inequality in the Global South. He urged Parties to introduce institutional reforms and concentrate on practical market mechanisms to mitigate risks and attract private investment.
However, the most impassioned plea from the COP28 President pertained to restoring confidence and trust in the delivery of climate finance. He emphasized, “This necessitates certainty regarding the $100 billion commitment, increased contributions to the Green Climate Fund, pledges to the adaptation fund, and early commitments to address loss and damage.”
Dr. Al Jaber also underscored the importance of advancing in the area of loss and damage, emphasizing that it is a critical step towards protecting the most climate-vulnerable populations. He stated, “We must address the fund and funding mechanisms for loss and damage. We need to bridge gaps in three key areas: institutional arrangements, governance, and funding sources.”
The remainder of Dr. Al Jaber’s speech outlined his expectations of Parties in crucial areas, including expediting the transition to clean energy and advancing the Global Goal of Adaptation.
On the transition to clean energy, he asserted, “The question is no longer whether the energy transition will occur but when, how fast, and how inclusively it can be accomplished.” Dr. Al Jaber acknowledged the contentious debates surrounding the inclusion of language related to fossil fuels and renewables in the negotiated text and encouraged delegates to continue this dialogue and come to COP28 prepared with solutions.
Regarding adaptation, he expressed concern that it was not receiving an equitable share of climate finance and had “lost its way.” Dr. Al Jaber called for a unified objective, similar to the 1.5-degree target for mitigation, to guide efforts in adaptation. He urged Parties to act on recommendations from Pre-COP, breaking down the Global Goal of Adaptation into themes for enhanced monitoring and progress tracking, and arrive at COP28 with tangible solutions.
In conclusion, Dr. Al Jaber reminded attendees of the significant work that lies ahead. He stressed the importance of using every day leading up to COP28 to advance progress on all fronts. Dr. Al Jaber remarked, “We are at a pivotal point in our journey towards a successful outcome at COP28, which the world anticipates. Therefore, everything we do from this point forward must be about expediting action.” He concluded, “This entails working on advancing negotiations for concrete decisions and establishing the groundwork for action.”
Pre-COP serves as a preparatory meeting for ministers and negotiators before the main climate conference. This year’s event attracted record attendance, with more than double the typical number of participants for a Pre-COP.
Quick Facts about COP28:
Dates: November 30 to December 12, 2023
Venue: Expo City Dubai
Expected Participants: Over 70,000, including heads of state, government officials, industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth, and non-state actors.
COP28 will deliver the first-ever Global Stocktake, assessing progress against climate goals, as mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement.
The UAE will lead the process to establish a clear roadmap for an accelerated global energy transition and inclusive climate action.
The four pillars of the COP28 Presidency’s Action Agenda are fast-tracking the energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people, lives, and livelihoods, and ensuring full inclusivity.