New York [US], September 23 (ANI/WAM): This week the COP28 Presidency team attended the UN General Assembly in New York, seizing on the opportunity of the global gathering to mobilise leaders across government, business and civil society around its ‘Action Agenda’ to keep 1.5 degrees in reach.
Spearheaded by COP28 President-Designate Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the team also included Shamma Al Mazrui, UN Youth Climate Champion, Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, Director-General of COP28 and Adnan Amin, CEO of COP28.
The COP28 Presdiency’s landmark moment of the week came when Dr Al Jaber set out the Presidency’s ‘Action Agenda’ at the UN Climate Ambition Summit; the leading climate engagement at the event convened by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and attended by world leaders.
The speech was supported by a range of activities led by the COP28 Presidency team during the week, involving multiple speaking engagements, meetings with world leaders and touch points with individuals leading COP28 workstreams to drive consensus ahead of the event in November – December.
In explaining the Action Agenda, Dr Al Jaber was unequivocal before the leading global dignitaries gathered in the room and online – the Global Stocktake shows the world is falling short on climate change and we are running out of time.
However, Dr Al Jaber was equally emphatic in affirming COP28 as an opportunity for hope, unity and action.
He stated, “We must remember that we are not powerless. When we act with solidarity, we can overcome even the most daunting challenges.” In keeping with this focus on solidarity and action he said, “Climate change is our common enemy and we must unite to fight it.”
The COP28 Action Agenda sets out a series of calls to action for the public and private sectors in four key areas: fast-tracking a just, orderly, and well-managed energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people, lives and livelihoods and underscoring everything with full inclusivity.
As emphasised in his speech, and in a series of engagements throughout the week, fast-tracking a just, orderly, and well-managed energy transition is fundamental to the plan.
Here, Dr Al Jaber put a number to this for the first time – calling on the world to “go after” the 22 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions the world needs to cut in the next seven years to keep 1.5 within reach.
In keeping with previous engagements, a major focus for the COP28 Presidency during the UN General Assembly was ‘fixing climate finance’ as a major enabler of delivering progress in multiple areas.
As such, Dr Al Jaber kicked off the week by ringing in a new era of climate finance at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
He went on to speak at a high-level roundtable on private capital mobilisation in emerging and developing markets (EMDEs), organised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ).
Attended by a range of climate finance leaders including Mark Carney, Co-Chair GFANZ and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank and Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, Dr Al Jaber stressed that innovative new mechanisms to lower risk and expand private investment must happen to unlock private investments for climate and drive macroeconomic stability in emerging and developing markets.
Later in the week, Dr Jaber also co-hosted a Loss and Damage Ministerial with Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt and COP27 President, where they urged all ministers present to align and make the Loss and Damage Fund – agreed to at Sharm ElSheikh – a reality in Dubai at COP28.
Commenting on the event, Simon Steill, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said “Addressing loss and damage has never been more urgent. The fund and funding arrangements that were agreed to at Sharm el-Sheikh provide a beacon of hope, a lifeline for the particularly vulnerable. Today’s discussion represents a stepping stone in that direction.”
Throughout the UN General Assembly, Dr Al Jaber also called on contributing countries to deliver the $100 billion pledge this year. Countries were also urged to double adaptation finance by 2025 and replenish the Green Climate Fund.
Another major focus of the week was inclusion, most strongly seen when Dr Al Jaber joined Mayor Mike Bloomberg to announce that Bloomberg Philanthropies will fund 1,000 mayors to attend COP28. Dr. Sultan spoke at the event before a prestigious group including Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs of China, John Kerry, former US Secretary of State and Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation.
Hosted by the COP28 Presidency and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the COP28 Local Climate Action Summit will convene subnational climate leaders, such as mayors, governors, business executives, non-government organisation heads, and more, into the heart of the COP process.
In addressing the lives and livelihoods pillar of the Action Agenda, Dr Al Jaber was equally clear: people and their health, safety and prosperity must be at the centre of climate discussions.
To drive this forward, he spoke at a key event alongside Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of Malawi, and invited the world to attend the first Health Day at a COP at COP28. Here, he called on the international community to address the crucial connection between climate change and health.
He also advanced the COP28 food systems and agriculture agenda, reissuing the COP28 Presidency’s call for increased global action to address the interlinked challenges across climate change and the food system, including production, consumption, trade and resilience.
To this end, he invited Parties to sign the COP28 Declaration on Resilient Food Systems, Sustainable Agriculture, and Climate Action and align this commitment in their climate action plans.
During the week bilateral meetings were held with a significant array of leading figures from across the world including Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, IMF, Alok Sharma, former President of COP26, Costas Simitis, the former Prime Minister of Greece, Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice President of the European Union, Stephen Guilbert, Canada’s Minister of Environment & Climate Change, Dr Han Hwa-jin, South Korea’s Minister of Environment and Amos J. Hochstein, US Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure & Energy Security.
The whole team also took part in a large array of events, with Ambassador Al Suwaidi speaking on finance, technological innovation, decarbonisation of heavy emitting industries and the climate-nature nexus, amongst other activities.
Shamma Al Mazrui attended and spoke at a series of engagements, including a youth philanthropy roundtable with prominent philanthropic organisations to unveil the Youth Climate Champion, and a future of COP panel to discuss youth empowerment and inclusion.
Meanwhile, Razan Al Mubarak delivered opening remarks at a roundtable hosted by the Bezos Earth fund and SalesForce on restoring and protecting 15 million hectares of mangroves by 2030.
She also spoke at an event hosted by the Women’s Environment and Development Organisation to share insights into the gender outcomes she is prioritising as the UN Climate Change High-level Champion for COP28.
Overall, the UN General Assembly marked an essential and milestone step on the road to COP28.
The COP28 Presidency will continue its efforts to rally the international community into action and drive forward its agenda for a COP of Action. (ANI/WAM)
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