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Abu Dhabi: Universities across the UAE have joined hands to launch a climate network that supports youth-focused objectives ahead of the upcoming COP28 conference in the UAE.

Aimed at encouraging youth engagement in the United Arab Emirates in the lead up to COP28, the Universities Climate Network (UCN), which is chaired by NYU Abu Dhabi, is comprised of 12 UAE-based universities and higher education institutions. These include the American University of Sharjah, Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, Higher Colleges of Technology, Khalifa University, Masdar Institute, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, Mohamed bin Zayed University for Humanities, National Defence College, NYU Abu Dhabi, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates University, and Zayed University.

“The UCN will support our goal of creating a more inclusive and participatory environment for young people to be leaders in climate action. Continuing the positive legacy established at previous COPs, the UCN will mobilise young people through meaningful dialogue and amplify the efforts of the COP28 Presidency including our Youth Climate Champion. Incubators of the next generation, universities play a key role in nurturing innovation and providing young voices platforms to express their views and to contribute to policy shaping discussions that are most important to their needs,” said Majid Al Suwaidi, director-general and special representative of COP28 UAE.

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‘Ramadan Talks’

The UCN’s inaugural activation, Ramadan Talks, takes place at various institutions and will welcome key speakers from the industry to discuss climate change-related topics, including climate diplomacy, the hydrogen economy, urban modernity in the contemporary Gulf, and why COP28 matters, among others.

Supporting young people, in March this year, the COP28 UAE Presidency launched the ‘International Youth Climate Delegate Program’. Elevating the voices, perspectives, and priorities of the global youth in the multilateral COP process, the International YCDP will select 100 youth delegates primarily from least developed countries (LDC) and small island developing states (SIDS), to participate in climate negotiations and related public-private partnership initiatives.

COP28 UAE will take place at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023. The Conference is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth, and non-state actors.