What to expect at Cop28? Guide to the daily agenda

The climate conference will be held at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12

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The eyes of the world will be focused on the UAE for two weeks later this year when it hosts the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties – more commonly known as Cop28.

Heads of state, government officials, leaders of global industrial sectors, private sector representatives and climate experts will be among those attending the global event at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

The two-week event is expected to be attended by about 70,000 participants, all trying to agree on ways to halt global warming and adapt to a changing climate, and deciding who should foot the bill for the damage already caused.

The day-by-day schedule, which was revealed by organisers in Brussels, includes seven themed days after a meeting of world leaders.

The presidency said finance, inclusion, frontline communities, and technology and innovation would make up four “cross-cutting themes” for the discussions.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President-designate and UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said the UAE presidency received more than 600 submissions on the two-week agenda in an “innovative and inclusive” consultation with delegates.

Here, The National takes a look at the daily schedule for Cop28 at Expo City.

November 30: Opening ceremony

Cop28 opens with a ceremony at Expo City Dubai that will see Cop27 hosts Egypt transfer the summit's presidency to the UAE, appointing Dr Sultan Al Jaber as Cop28 President ahead of the start of the World Climate Action Summit.

The opening ceremony will be followed by meetings of parties to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, as well as meetings of subsidiary bodies.

December 1 and 2: World Climate Action Summit

Heads of state and world leaders gather to discuss concrete actions and plans aimed at climate action with leaders from civil society, business, youth, Indigenous Peoples’ organisations, frontline communities, science and other sectors.

This summit will be a platform for major announcements and typically provides momentum and guidance to the remainder of the Cop.

At Cop28, this will have added significance because it is the first “global stocktake” of progress in limiting climate change and the urgency of the situation faced will be presented. The Cop Presidency will seek accountability from the highest levels of global governance on a way forward.

December 3: Health / Relief, Recovery and Peace

In a first for Cop, a day will be dedicated to discussing health and its relationship with climate change.

The Cop will explore ways to provide relief to those affected by climate change and aim to build consensus on priority actions for the health system’s response to climate change, paired with financing.

From the quality of the air we breathe to the water we drink and the places that provide us with shelter, climate change is already affecting human health arounds the world.

Cop28 two-week thematic programme

It is also a major cause for the displacement of vulnerable communities, leading to increased fragility that can compromise peace.

The day's second theme – Relief, Recovery and Peace – will focus on accelerating adaptation, preventing and addressing loss and damage, including in fragile and conflict-affected areas that face severe barriers to accessing climate finance and strengthening climate action.

The two themes aim to boost policies and investments that protect lives and livelihoods and support community resilience and stability.

December 4: Finance / Trade / Gender Equality / Accountability

The first theme on the fifth day will address the transformational change needed for finance and trade systems if the world is to meet its climate goals.

Neither global financial systems that control and affect access and affordability of climate finance nor international trade networks are working effectively and equitably.

It is widely acknowledged that leaders of the global institutions and countries that govern these systems must accelerate and be accountable for an overhaul.

The Gender Equality Day theme will focus on gender-responsive policy making and better access to finance to achieve a just transition that advances gender equality and allows for the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women and girls in climate action.

The programme will also examine accountability mechanisms that help to turn promises and pledges into tangible results while boosting transparency.

December 5: Energy and Industry / Just Transition / Indigenous Peoples

The world needs to decarbonise rapidly while continuing to progress economically. It is critical that this development happens sustainably and inclusively to support lives and livelihoods while protecting the planet. This day will focus on how the world can accelerate the energy transition while ensuring it is a just transition.

The energy needed for day-to-day life must remain affordable but become cleaner and jobs must be retained but expand as green technologies emerge and provide increased and equitable access to opportunities.

The day will look at several proposed solutions, from using renewable energy at scale and how hydrogen can support this, to decarbonising the energy of today through carbon-capture technologies and rapidly reducing methane emissions from oil and gas.

It will also focus on heavy-emitting industries including steel, cement and aluminium.

Indigenous Peoples are stewards of 80 per cent of the world's biodiversity and this day will recognise the importance of their intergenerational knowledge, practices, and leadership in climate action.

The day will also strengthen their role in the just transition, reinforcing the urgency of a fully inclusive, all-of-society approach.

December 6: Multilevel Action, Urbanisation, and Built Environment / Transport

This day will provide a rare opportunity for mayors and governors, ministers and parliamentarians and global business and civil society leaders to work together to accelerate climate action solutions across society in every form.

This will include exploring how greener urban mobility systems can be designed to withstand and adapt to climate change while supporting the transition to low carbon built environments and infrastructure, and redesigning our systems of production and consumption to minimise waste.

In addition, this day will show how all of these solutions contribute to safer, healthier and greener cities for current and future generations.

December 7: Rest Day

Cops traditionally incorporate a day of rest in the middle of the programme for participants to reflect and recharge ahead of the second week.

December 8: Youth, Children, Education and Skills

The Cop28 presidency will welcome the largest group of young delegates yet assembled at the summit on this day, which seeks to empower children and and provide them with clear, defined, accessible opportunities to be a leading part of the solutions proposed at every level.

The day will look at equitable representation, stronger engagement mechanisms and resource allocation across the Cop themes and policy tracks.

Focuses will include investment in youth-led innovation and entrepreneurship, inclusion in policymaking processes, capacity-building, and transforming education to close the skills gap for green jobs aligned with climate action.

December 9: Nature, Land Use and Oceans

The sustainability of nature, land use, and oceans is integral to achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals.

The world’s climate and its biodiversity are inextricably interconnected, one cannot exist without the other. Mitigating both crises must therefore be integrated.

Cop15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity in December led to the signing of a historic biodiversity agreement to protect at least 30 per cent of the planet's land and water by 2030.

Cop28 will focus on delivering climate and nature co-benefits through a range of financing mechanisms and packages, co-designed with local and Indigenous Peoples, to sustainably manage and conserve natural carbon sinks and biodiversity hot spots.

The day will also seek to accelerate private sector commitments to nature-positive accountability frameworks.

December 10: Food, Agriculture and Water

Climate change is creating severe pressure and risks for the food, agricultural and water systems that ensure human wellbeing.

At the same time, these systems are also key contributors to climate change – one third of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions derive from agri-food systems, and 70 per cent of fresh water consumed worldwide is used for agricultural production.

This day will focus on how to fix this, from increasing regenerative agriculture and water-food systems that support habitat restoration and conservation and increase food security, to implementing stronger, fairer integrated governance between states and corporations, farmers and producers.

December 11 and 12: Final Negotiations

The last two scheduled days of the summit have been left clear for final negotiations, which have been known to overrun in the past.

Updated: August 24, 2023, 7:35 AM