The leadership team for COP28 UAE to be held at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023 has been announced. The revelation was made under the directive of the President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The UAE maintains that the appointment of the diverse leadership team for COP28 UAE comes at a critical juncture, as the world faces increasing climate impact, challenges to energy security, food and water security and reversing biodiversity loss.
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber will assume charge as COP President. He is the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), and has served as Special Envoy for Climate Change for two terms (2010–2016, 2020–present). He also played a proactive participatory role at over ten COPs, including the historic Paris COP21 in 2015. He brings to this task two decades of executive business and leadership experience in government, climate policy and across the renewable and conventional energy sectors. Dr. Al Jaber is the first CEO to serve as COP President, having played a key role in shaping the country’s clean energy pathway.
Dr Al Jaber will look into the COP28 agenda, in partnership with the UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary Simon Stiell and the Egyptian COP27 President Sameh Shoukry. Shamma Al Mazrui, the UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Razan Al Mubarak, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will join Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber’s COP28 UAE team as the Youth Climate Champion and UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, respectively. As the founding CEO of Masdar, he has overseen its mandate to accelerate the adoption of renewables within the UAE, across the region and globally. In his current role as CEO of ADNOC, he is spearheading decarbonizing and diversifying the company’s operations and investments in a drive to make today’s energies cleaner, while investing in the clean energies of tomorrow.
Says Dr Al Jaber about his presidentship, “The UAE is approaching COP28 with a strong sense of responsibility and the highest possible level of ambition. In cooperation with the UNFCCC and the COP27 Presidency, we will champion an inclusive agenda that ramps up action on mitigation, encourages a just energy transition that leaves no one behind, ensures substantial, affordable climate finance is directed to the most vulnerable, accelerates funding for adaptation and builds out a robust funding facility to address loss and damage.” He further states, “I sincerely believe that climate action today is an immense economic opportunity for investment in sustainable growth. Finance is the key that can unlock climate action and the UAE is committed to supporting and facilitating the review of the international financial institutions to scale up public financing, leverage private finance and improve access.” He goes on to add, “In doing so, we will bring a pragmatic, realistic and solutions-oriented approach that delivers transformative progress for the climate and low carbon economic growth. As a nation at the crossroads of the globe, the UAE is well-positioned to build bridges, foster consensus and bring the world together in one shared mission to keep 1.5C alive and protect the planet for the generations who will follow us. We will take an inclusive approach that engages all stakeholders from the public and private sectors, civil society, scientific community, women, and youth. We must especially focus on how climate action can address the needs of the Global South, as those most impacted by climate change.”
Dr Al Jaber concludes, “COP28 will undertake the first ever Global Stocktake (GST) since the Paris Agreement. The GST will provide the foundation to build momentum for this and future COPs and the UAE will look for an ambitious outcome in response to the GST from the negotiation process. This will be a critical moment to mobilize political will to respond to what the science tells us will need to be achieved to remain on target and limit global warming to 1.5C by 2050.”
A new role is carved out: Youth Climate Champion
Shamma Al Mazrui will serve as the Youth Climate Champion, a new role designed to elevate the global youth voice throughout the COP process and ensure young people’s skills and abilities are prioritized. She is currently the UAE’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs, where she focuses on youth empowerment and capacity development. She is also the Vice Chair of the Arab Youth Center, the Secretary General of the Education and Human Resources Council, Chairperson for Special Olympics UAE, and President of the National Center for Education Quality.
UN Climate Change High-Level Champion
Razan Al Mubarak will serve as the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion with the mandate to strengthen engagement and mobilize efforts from non-state actors, including private sector partners, cities and other sub-national governments, indigenous peoples, and civil society. She is currently the President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, leading their campaign to preserve the world’s biodiversity.
The COP28 leadership team will be supported by the UAE Government, with Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, continuing to engage in her critical capacity leading the UAE’s domestic efforts in addressing climate change, preserving the environment and food systems transformation.
The UAE has several firsts to its credit as far as climate action is concerned- it is the first country in the region to ratify the Paris Agreement, the first to commit to an economy-wide reduction in emissions, and the first to announce a Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative. The country maintains that its bid for the role to host COP28 was rooted in its commitment to global responsibility and climate action in recognition of the critical importance of COP28 as the first Global Stocktake (GST) review since the Paris Agreement.