Several people worked behind the scenes to make COP28a success
Several people worked behind the scenes to make COP28a success. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Alex Abraham

Dubai: The statistics were staggering – 100,000 people from 200 countries converging in Dubai with one aim, to make our earth a more sustainable place.

And over 12 days, I was happy to be part of this journey.

Green energy, blue hydrogen, fossil fuel, phase out, phase down, net-zero, carbon neutral – there were plenty of terms to learn along the way at COP28, and I am sure many of them are here to stay.

As I look back I cannot but marvel at the people who worked behind the scenes to make the event a success.

There are three points that come to mind immediately.


Dubai is no stranger to big events. And having conducted Expo 2020, hosting one like COP28 should not have been very difficult. But it still takes a sizeable amount of planning and organisational skill to pull off an event like this.

This could be seen from Day 1 – in the parking zones, the buses that ferried visitors to the entrance, the buggies that transported people around, the spotless venues all around and the attention to detail – everything called for exceptional organisational skills that went into the smooth conduct of the event.


It is one thing to organise an event, it is another to reflect energy. At the conference, much was discussed about green energy, sustainable and renewable energy.

But what I saw was the energy on display among participants and volunteers alike. Is that renewable energy? People manning the bus stops, directing visitors not to walk in the way of the buggy carts, those in the media centre helping journalists – all showed an infectious energy that is hard to explain.

And what about those in the pavilions explaining why they were there? I watched one elderly person from Japan who patiently explained his innovation day in and day out to everyone who stepped into his cabin at the Startup Village. He never seemed to get tired.


Volunteers held the event together with their selfless work and pleasant demeanour. There were hundreds of them – directing people to board the right bus to reach the metro station or the correct car parking lot, helping participants get to their hubs on time and ensuring that children kept away from the buggy carts. And they wore a smile all the time.

Over the days I was able to speak to some of them – the IT guys who helped us in the Media Centre, the drivers who ferried us around and those who lent us a hand in times of need. They were happy to share their stories with us and looked forward to finding work elsewhere once COP28 was over.

That’s what COP28 was all about – not just the meetings and discussions, but the people who made them happen.