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United Arab Emirates and an inclusive climate summit (+Photos)

Havana, Nov 2 (Prensa Latina) The United Arab Emirates (UAE) expects the 28th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP28) to be the most inclusive event of its kind to date and achieve tangible actions to confront this scourge.

We want an inclusive COP28, which brings together all our resources and collective strengths and aligns them behind an action plan, we hope to work with all parties to make it a success, the UAE Ambassador to Cuba Hazza Alkaabi said in an interview with Prensa Latina.

The diplomat expressed his country’s pride in hosting the international event, which will take place from November 30 to December 12 at Expo City Dubai, a facility where more than 70,000 participants, the largest number ever recorded at these meetings, will be warmly welcomed.

Alkaabi highlighted the purpose of this event being the most inclusive of its kind, for which participants from marginalized and frontline communities, and activists from all sectors of society have been supported, including the financing of 100 young delegates, mainly from the regions most affected by climate change.

In that regard, he pointed out that pavilions dedicated to indigenous peoples, interreligious dialogue and youth have been prepared, in addition to specific days that will be devoted to these and other issues like gender equality, childhood and education.

Along with these stakeholders, he also considered that the private sector is essential for the purposes of the summit; that is why there will be a Climate Center for Small and Medium Enterprises and entities of that nature will be supported.

We have issued a joint call with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to emphasize the importance of gender-balanced delegations composed of youths, indigenous peoples and subnational representatives, he noted.

THE NEED TO CORRECT THE COURSE

The summit in the city of Dubai will take place eight years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change approved in the French capital during COP21, which focuses on substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit the increase in global temperature below two degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

The ambassador pointed out that the report on the first Global Balance of that Agreement, published in September, showed that a massive course correction is needed in a short term, since 22 gigatons of these emissions must be reduced in order to meet the goals of the agreement.

The COP28 Presidency has developed its Action Plan that consists of four key pillars: speeding up a fair and orderly energy transition; fixing climate financing; focusing on people, nature, lives and livelihoods; and underpinning everything with total inclusion, he explained.

According to Alkaabi, progress has been made on several fronts. “After months of negotiation and collaboration, more than 20 national and international oil and gas companies responded to our call and agreed to align around net zero (striking a balance between the carbon emitted and what is absorbed in atmosphere) by 2050 or sooner, reduce methane emissions to zero and eliminate flaring by 2030.”

He also noted the need to ensure a fairer agreement on climate financing and fulfill old promises related to that issue, including the commitment to which the richest States said that they would provide 100 billion dollars a year to developing nations for the mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

The entire international financial system must be modernized to make financing more available, accessible and affordable, especially for countries from the Global South, the diplomat said, urging world leaders from the public and private sectors to attend COP28 with real and viable commitments.

Asked about how the meeting to be held in the UAE can help Small Island Developing States (SIDS), he recalled that these territories represent less than one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but face existential threats resulting from climate change, while offering political solutions for action.

We are committed to a summit that delivers results for SIDS, we believe they need a new agreement on financing that addresses climate and development needs at the same time, Alkaabi added.

The ambassador stated that in his conversations with representatives of these countries, they have repeatedly heard that climate financing is not available nor is it affordable or accessible enough, which is why it is one of the four above-mentioned pillars.

THE YEAR OF SUSTAINABILITY

EAU President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan declared 2023 the Year of Sustainability, a decision that coincides with the celebration of the climate summit and demonstrates the commitment to environmental sustainability and international efforts to aspire to action collectively in the face of the challenges of climate change, Alkaabi pointed out.

Sustainability is deeply rooted in the values of the UAE and is inspired by the vision of the country’s late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who said,

“On land and in the sea, our ancestors lived and survived in this environment. They were able to do it because they recognized the need to conserve it, to take from it only what they needed to live and to preserve it for future generations,” he recalled.

The diplomat explained that his country has developed strategies in sectors like energy, economy, industry, infrastructure, transportation, waste, agriculture and the environment to work collectively towards the vision of net zero emissions by 2050.

The UAE has also invested in green infrastructure to develop zero-carbon cities and provide sustainable transportation systems, including electric cars, as well as in research and development, to educate young people and pass the legacy to the next generation.

The Year of Sustainability encourages people to make behavioral changes in key areas such as responsible consumption, conservation and climate action, providing simple, everyday alternatives to form lasting habits, he added.

During the summit, the UAE will commemorate its 52nd Union Day, an anniversary that celebrates the founding of the country on December 2, 1971.

In that context, the country will extol its remarkable journey towards sustainability during these five decades, showcasing its cultural legacy, its heritage and its people, who have always embodied a spirit of innovation and collective action, Alkaabi added.

“As every year, Union Day includes all those who call the UAE home, citizens and residents of all ages and backgrounds, and on this occasion, it also welcomes international participants in COP28 to unite and deepen their commitment, while working collectively towards a prosperous, equitable and sustainable future,” he stressed.

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