The 28th annual Conference of the Parties (COP 28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will soon take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This critical global event will bring together world leaders, policymakers, and experts to address pressing climate change issues. 

The event is scheduled  to take place from the 30th of November 2023 to the 12th of December 2023 at the site of Dubai Expo 2020.This event follows COP 27 which was held in Egypt in 2022.

In this article I will go over all you need to know about COP 28 in UAE and how you can participate. Before we jump into that, let me share a brief history of the COP – Conference of the Parties.


History of  the Conference of the Parties (COP)

The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an annual global summit that began in 1995. It serves as the primary decision-making body for the UNFCCC, which was established in 1992 during the Rio Earth Summit as a response to growing concerns about climate change. The main objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

COP meetings have been instrumental in shaping global climate policy and action. Some notable milestones in the history of COP include:

  1. COP 1 (1995, Berlin, Germany): The first COP meeting set the stage for future climate negotiations and led to the establishment of the Berlin Mandate, which aimed to strengthen the commitments of developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. COP 11/CMP 1 (2005, Montreal, Canada): The first meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) took place alongside COP 11, marking the beginning of a new phase in climate negotiations. The conference also initiated the development of the Adaptation Fund, aimed at assisting developing countries in coping with the impacts of climate change.
  3. COP 21 (2015, Paris, France): The landmark Paris Agreement was adopted, committing countries to work together to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. The agreement also established a framework for countries to submit their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) outlining their climate action plans and to review and enhance them every five years.


What is COP 28?

COP 28 is the 28th annual meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. The conference serves as a global platform for governments and other stakeholders to review, assess, and negotiate measures to combat climate change. The event will include high-level plenary sessions, roundtable discussions, and side events to facilitate dialogue and cooperation among countries and organizations.

Who will host COP 28?

COP 28 will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a regional leader in sustainability and climate action. The UAE has demonstrated its commitment to environmental protection through significant investments in renewable energy and innovative green technologies. This will be the first time a Middle Eastern country hosts the conference, highlighting the global importance of addressing climate change and the UAE’s role in the international community.


What will COP 28 focus on?

COP 28 will focus on several key areas, including:

  1. Reviewing progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement: COP 28 will assess how countries are faring in their efforts to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit temperature increases to 1.5°C.
  2. Enhancing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): COP 28 will encourage countries to submit more ambitious NDCs, outlining their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to climate change, and provide financial and technical support to developing countries.
  3. Climate finance: Mobilizing and scaling up financial resources to support climate action in developing countries will be a central topic at COP 28.
  4. Adaptation and resilience: The conference will emphasize the importance of helping vulnerable nations build resilience to the impacts of climate change and develop adaptation strategies.


Why is COP 28 important?

COP 28 is a crucial event for several reasons:

  1. The urgency of the climate crisis: With each passing year, the impacts of climate change become more severe and widespread, making decisive action increasingly important.
  2. The Paris Agreement’s goals: COP 28 will assess global progress towards the Paris Agreement targets, making it a critical opportunity for countries to demonstrate their commitment to climate action.
  3. Strengthening global cooperation: The conference will bring together countries and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, fostering collaboration to tackle climate change effectively.

What are the aims of COP 28?

The primary aims of COP 28 include:

  1. Encouraging countries to submit more ambitious NDCs and implement effective climate policies.
  2. Mobilizing financial resources and facilitating the transfer of technology and knowledge to support climate action in developing countries.
  3. Strengthening global cooperation and solidarity in the face of the climate crisis.


How can you participate?

Typically only parties to the convention, United Nations and related organizations, media and non-profit organizations with observer status can register to attend sessions at the convention. However, you can still get involved in COP 28 through the following channels:

  1. Follow the conference online: Keep up with the latest news, updates, and announcements through the official COP 28 website and social media channels.
  2. Attend side events and webinars: Many organizations will host side events and webinars related to COP 28. These events are a great opportunity to learn more about climate change and engage in discussions with experts and stakeholders.
  3. Take Personal action: Beyond participating in the event directly, let’s step back and recall why the event is held in the first place. Governments are coming together to take action on client change. We all can contribute to making a positive change to slow climate change by adopting more sustainable lifestyles. Here are practical steps you can take to contribute to sustainable living and help slow down climate change:
  4. Reduce energy consumption: Turn off lights and electronics when not in use, switch to energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs, and consider investing in renewable energy sources like solar panels.
  5. Conserve water: Fix leaks, use water-saving appliances, take shorter showers, and water plants during cooler parts of the day to reduce evaporation.
  6. Practice the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Minimize waste by reducing consumption, reusing items whenever possible, and recycling materials such as paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum.
  7. Use public transportation, carpool, or bike: Reduce your carbon footprint by opting for more sustainable modes of transportation whenever possible.
  8. Drive fuel-efficient vehicles: If you must drive, choose a fuel-efficient, hybrid, or electric vehicle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  9. Plant trees and maintain green spaces: Trees absorb carbon dioxide and help combat climate change, while green spaces provide habitats for wildlife and improve air quality.
  10. Consume less meat and dairy: Animal agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Adopting a plant-based diet or reducing your meat and dairy consumption can significantly lower your carbon footprint.
  11. Buy local and seasonal produce: Support local farmers and reduce the carbon emissions associated with transporting food by purchasing locally-grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  12. Choose eco-friendly products: Opt for products with minimal packaging, made from sustainable materials, or with environmentally-friendly certifications.
  13. Support sustainable policies and initiatives: Advocate for and support policies and initiatives that promote environmental protection, clean energy, and climate change mitigation at the local, national, and international levels.
  14. Educate yourself and others: Stay informed about climate change and sustainable living practices, and share your knowledge with friends, family, and your community to inspire collective action.

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