Cop28 President-designate in rallying call as global climate talks in Dubai draw near

Dr Sultan Al Jaber urges parties to have the 'difficult conversations now'

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President-designate, will guide the talks at the global summit in Dubai this month. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President-designate, has said the world can make history at Cop28 in Dubai.

In a letter published on Thursday, Dr Al Jaber said the “optimism and unwavering resolve” he saw at the pre-Cop meetings in Abu Dhabi last month reinforced this belief.

With weeks to go before the crucial climate talks start Dr Al Jaber, who is also Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and the UAE's special envoy for climate change, called for resolve.

Negotiators and ministers should have the “difficult conversations now” to ensure substantive talks begin on day one, he said.

“The atmosphere of optimism and unwavering resolve I witnessed at pre-Cop amid challenging geopolitical circumstances reinforces my belief that, together, we can make history in Dubai this December,” said Dr Al Jaber, in the letter addressed to the parties.

“A shared determination to make progress was also evident at a very constructive and focused meeting among heads of delegations immediately following pre-Cop on November 1 and 2.”

What is Cop28?

What is Cop28?

Dr Al Jaber also welcomed the “significant” agreement on the loss and damage fund that was signed off in Abu Dhabi on November 4. These recommendations will now be considered by leaders at Cop28 with a view to bringing the fund into operation.

“This milestone marks a crucial step in responding to the adverse impacts of the climate crisis and supporting vulnerable communities. I continue to encourage early pledges by donors to ensure timely activation of the recommendations, following their consideration at Cop28,” he said.

The Cop28 President-designate, who will guide the talks at the summit, said the fact negotiators overcome their differences on loss and damage bode well for larger agreement on “complex political issues” during the global gathering, but added there was still a lot of work to do.

First days of Cop28 to be crucial

He said parties needed time and space during the first week of the summit to agree on as much as possible so only “pressing matters” need resolution in the closing days.

“I urge ministers to direct their delegates towards this goal and to motivate their heads of delegation to take an active role in the first week's negotiations,” he said.

Dr Al Jaber said this approach would help in the closing days of the summit, particularly on the “global stocktake”, which will assess how countries are measuring up to the goals of the 2015 Paris deal.

“This Cop offers the pivotal opportunity to formulate and deliver a robust response to the global stocktake that will shape our collective commitment to climate action. The first global stocktake will have a central role because of its cross-cutting nature. We must ensure there is consensus on the way forward,” said Dr Al Jaber.

Cop28 runs at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12, where leaders will try to tackle the climate crisis.

It comes in a year where temperature records continue to be shattered and extreme weather events have become common.

“As I said at pre-Cop, ministers must truly engage, roll up their sleeves and lead," said Dr Al Jaber.

"Please have the difficult conversations now, show flexibility and foster a sense of shared trust and understanding," he said.

"If we succeed in coming together now, we have a huge opportunity before us. We can reimagine entire economies and put every nation on the path to a prosperous and sustainable future. So let’s unite, let’s act and let’s deliver in Dubai."

Updated: November 14, 2023, 9:11 AM