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Pre-COP roundup: More than 100 delegations, 70 ministers attend the preparatory meeting

During the two-day conference, the delegates discussed the political aspects of the COP28 negotiations, in a crucial moment to build consensus and set the tone for COP28.

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COP 28
November 3 2023
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COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber addressed a record number of ministers and delegations from around the world at the opening session of Pre-COP, declaring that the international community needs to unite on climate action and that “we have to come through. We must unite. We must act. And we must deliver in Dubai,”

Pre-COP, which took place early this week, in Abu Dhabi, is a preparatory meeting of ministers and negotiators ahead of COP28. This year’s event has seen record attendance, with 70 ministers and over 100 delegations coming together in the UAE capital, more than double the normal number of participants for a Pre-COP.  During the two-day conference, they discussed the political aspects of the COP28 negotiations, in a crucial moment to build consensus and set the tone for COP28. 

Acknowledging that “there are too many things out there dividing our world at this moment,” the COP28 President declared that “Now more than ever we need to unite on climate and deliver a clear message of hope, solidary, stability and prosperity. We need to show that the international community can deliver and send a clear signal that keeps 1.5 within reach.”

Al Jaber pointed out that before the Paris Agreement, the world was heading for more than four degrees of warming but is now on course for warming of two to three degrees, according to latest reports, “We are heading in the right direction, but nowhere near fast enough,” he warned.

Parties “must do better” on formulating agreements on issues than they had done at previous conferences, Dr. Al Jaber stated. “We have no time to waste on disunity,” he warned. “We must look beyond short-term thinking, we must end the excuses and delays, and redefine our self-interest as common interest.”

“Let this process prove that multilateralism still works. I believe we can fulfil our responsibility. I know that we must.”

The COP28 President reiterated the need to deliver a robust response to the Global Stocktake, and put the world back on track on delivering the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. He highlighted key areas of focus, including a strong mitigation outcome, a comprehensive adaptation agreement, and “groundbreaking solutions” on finance. “That includes delivering on the fund and funding arrangements for loss and damage,” he added. “What was promised in Sharm el Sheikh must be delivered in Dubai.”

“We need solid solutions for a 43 percent cut in emissions by 2030 because that is exactly what the science tells us,” Dr. Al Jaber said. On the issue of fossil fuels, he said, “I know there are strong views about the idea of including language on fossil fuels and renewables in the negotiated text. I need you to work together to come forward with solutions that can achieve alignment, common ground and consensus between all parties. We must be responsible. We must be pragmatic. And we must leave no-one behind.”

Updating the meeting on policy, the COP28 President said: “More than 20 oil and gas companies have answered COP28’s call to end methane emissions by 2030. And I see positive momentum, as more are joining. And we are engaging with all high-emitting sectors, like heavy transportation, aluminium, steel and cement to lay out credible decarbonization plans.” On finance, Dr. Al Jaber emphasized the importance of ensuring capital flows to where it is most needed, notably the Global South and of rebuilding trust in developing nations.

Speaking to promises made, he stressed that, “Old promises must be kept, like the 100-billion-dollar pledge. I am grateful for the work of Germany and Canada on this, and their reassurances that things are now on track. But, as I stand here now, I still cannot say with certainty that has been delivered.”

He also outlined the importance of adaptation, calling for the Global Goal to be met, and stated that, “We must end deforestation and preserve natural carbon sinks… it is time for every nation to embed nature positive investments in national climate strategies.”

The COP28 President reminded attendees that “the world is watching. Our nations, our communities, our families, our kids, they are all watching. So, let us unite.”

“We have the power, we must accept the responsibility,” he concluded. ““This process must not fail. We have to come through. We must deliver in Dubai.”


COP28, IRENA and Global Renewables Alliance outline roadmap to fast-track the energy transition

The COP28 Presidency, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the Global Renewables Alliance (GRA) launched a joint report today on the sidelines of the Pre-COP event in Abu Dhabi, titled “Tripling Renewable Power and Doubling Energy Efficiency by 2030: Crucial Steps Towards 1.5 °C.”

The report provides actionable policy recommendations for governments and the private sector on how to increase global renewable energy capacity to at least 11,000 GW while also doubling annual average energy efficiency improvements in the target period. This falls under the COP28 Presidency’s Action Agenda objective of fast- tracking a just and orderly energy transition to keep 1.5 °C within reach.

The report was launched on the sidelines of Pre-COP, a meeting held in Abu Dhabi a month ahead of COP28 for countries to lay the groundwork for negotiations at the global climate summit. The report aims to help guide parties on the key enablers required to meet the energy targets.

COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said in the report, “Tripling the deployment of renewable power generation and doubling energy efficiency are amongst the most important levers to cut greenhouse gas emissions. I am now calling on everyone to come together, commit to common targets, and take comprehensive domestic and international action, as outlined in this report, to make our ambitions a reality.”

IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera added, “Our mission is as clear as it is urgent: We need concerted action to triple renewable power capacity by 2030. This includes urgently addressing deeply entrenched systemic barriers across infrastructure, policy and institutional capacities stemming from the fossil-fuel era. IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook, which provides the analytical foundation of this report, warns that the energy transition is dangerously off-track, demanding immediate, radical collective action. This report outlines actions governments must prioritize to fast-track the global energy transition and keep 1.5 °C alive.”

Bruce Douglas, Global Renewables Alliance CEO, said, "Tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency is the most impactful commitment policymakers can make to combating climate change. These steps will deliver cleaner electricity systems, open up access to affordable energy and deliver clean green jobs for millions of people. The rapid upscaling of renewable energy will require policymakers to work hand-in-hand with industry and civil society to urgently implement the enabling actions in this report - infrastructure and system operation; policy and regulation; and supply chains, skills, and capacities. Critically, these areas must be reinforced by low-cost financing and international collaboration. Working together to secure a livable future for all."

The report, which draws extensively on the analysis presented in IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023: 1.5 °C pathway, divides the key enablers into five sections, covering:

  • Infrastructure and system operation: power grids, energy storage, end-use electrification, sector coupling and infrastructure planning, demand-side management.
  • Policy and regulation: improving energy efficiency, market incentives and fiscal policy, power market design and regulation, streamlining permitting, reducing negative impacts, maximizing social and environmental benefits.
  • Supply chain, skills, and capacities: building resilient supply chains, education, training, and capacity-building.
  • Scaling-up public and private finance.
  • Enhancing international collaboration. 

The collaboration between the COP28 Presidency, IRENA, and the GRA reflects the growing global consensus on achieving these targets. Ahead of COP28, the Presidency and the European Commission are calling for countries to support the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, with Champion countries already committed to supporting these global targets.


Youth representatives and COP28 Youth Climate Champion discuss The Global Youth Statement

A key event held at the Emirate Palace in Abu Dhabi has highlighted the aspirations and demands of hundreds of thousands of young climate leaders from around the world, setting the stage for COP28.

The roundtable convened members of various programs, YOUNGO representatives (the Children and Youth Constituency of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) including the COP28 Youth Climate Champion, UNICEF advocates, H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui, and the COP International Youth Climate Delegates Program (IYCDP), which is bringing 100 youth from severely climate impacted and underrepresented communities to the COP, and the UAE Youth Delegate Program. The UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed also attended the event.

They gathered to discuss the Global Youth Statement (GYS), a representative policy document produced annually that is built on consensus among global youth, aggregating the demands, insights, expectations and policy proposals of young individuals, youth organisations and institutions from over 150 countries.

The GYS is the result of intensive policy consultations conducted by YOUNGO, as well as from the integration of policy statements from local and regional Conferences of Youth (LCOYs & RCOYs). These have been organised by YOUNGO in collaboration with youth organisations in 110 countries in the lead-up to the global Conference of the Youth (COY18) which will take place between the 26 and the 28th of November 2023.

The inputs received were synthesised to present clear climate policy demands across the COP28 negotiation tracks and beyond, ranging from climate mitigation and adaptation, finance, and energy, to loss and damage and climate justice. It calls for an inclusive approach to climate governance that acknowledges the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on the Global South and vulnerable communities, including youth, and underlines the need for systemic and radical action.

Further analysis, evaluation, and finalisation of the statement will follow, with aim for the proposals to be considered and integrated into the COP28 deliberations and beyond by governments nationally.

This year, the Global Youth Statement condensed demands were presented during the Pre-COP stage for the first time, instead of mid-COP as in previous COPs. This initial release will be a condensed version in UN aligned Language, to allow for parties and negotiators to have a more actionable document, at an earlier point in time. This change aims to improve the effectiveness of incorporating the requests of the youth into the negotiation process.

The event emphasises the COP28 Presidency's commitment to transparency and open dialogue by involving youth and children in all major climate policy discussions throughout 2023, including the crucial Pre-COP. During the event, YOUNGO representatives presented their recommendations to Her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui, the Youth Climate Champion for COP28, discussing various key thematic areas outlined in the Global Youth Statement.

“The COP28 Presidency is committed to achieving unprecedented youth and children's inclusion in international UN climate change negotiations. We have been diligently working on a series of initiatives to offer comprehensive support to youth at every stage of the COP process. Over the past year, the YCC has engaged with young people from across the globe to ensure that their voices are integrated throughout the entire COP28 process, with the aspiration for this to become the expectation for future years as well” H.E. Al Mazrui said.

“We have presented today the condensed policy demands of thousands of young people that were involved in the process within the Global Youth Statement and urge Parties to take action based on them during their negotiations at COP28, as they provide practical and comprehensive proposals that are actionable for the negotiation table and in the local perspective for parties. We appreciate the emphasis on youth participation by the Presidency, but for this engagement to be meaningful, they need to be integrated in the COP final outcomes," the YOUNGO policy team stated.

YOUNGO has been crafting a position statement in preparation for COP since 2005 in Montreal. Since COP25, this effort has expanded and evolved into an extensive process of collecting and synthesising inputs from children and youth representing countries worldwide. This aims to produce a more holistic, inclusive, and consensus-based set of proposals to represent youth around the world.

For COP26, approximately 130 countries participated in the institutional and individual inputs were collected. However, for COP28, it is anticipated that the number will exceed 150 countries in both qualitative and quantitative inputs. In the previous year, over 130 countries contributed to the statement, and the goal is to involve all UN member states in the COP28 statement. On the quantitative side, this year also there was a partnership with the U-REPORT under UNICEF HQ.

This growth underscores the scale and increasing importance of the Global Youth Statement and the dedication of the youth climate movement to providing meaningful contributions to the multilateral climate negotiations.

The GYS aims to amplify all voices under the age of 35, with a special emphasis on youth from most vulnerable communities such as indigenous peoples, those with disabilities, and communities at highest risk.

The COP28 Presidency strives to place youth perspectives at the core of global policymaking, setting a model for future COPs.

Meanwhile, the YCC is the first position within the higher COP leadership to ensure the meaningful participation and representation of youth in international climate decision-making and mobilise substantive youth input and outcomes from the COP and UNFCCC processes.