Sheikh mohammed
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Image Credit: Twitter/Dubai Media Office

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Thursday announced the UAE had won its bid to host the COP28 conference in 2023.

The UN Climate Change Conference is the largest global conference of heads of states and governments on climate and environmental issues.

Sheikh Mohammed's announcement comes after the UAE was confirmed as host by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Ruler of Dubai took to his Twitter account to congratulate the nation on its yet another win in hosting a major international event.

“We congratulate the UAE for winning bid to host COP28 conference in 2023. It is the most international climate conference. Our country deserves this win. We will put all our potential and capabilities to make this conference a success,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.

“The UAE will remain committed to global climate efforts and work to protect our the Earth planet,” he added.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also took to Twitter to announce UAE's bid to host the global gathering.

"The UAE is honoured to have been selected as the host country for COP28 in 2023. We look forward to working with the international community to accelerate global efforts to address climate change & environmental protection and create a more sustainable economic future," Sheikh Mohamed wrote. 

'Very real threat': Abdullah bin Zayed

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said: “We are pleased and honoured by the UNFCCC decision to select the UAE to host the UN Climate Change Conference in 2023 and commit ourselves as a nation to supporting the entire international community in accelerating our combined efforts to overcome the very real threat of climate change.

“The founding father of the UAE had the highest regard for the environment, and it is his legacy which has inspired the progress we have made over the past 50 years to diversify our economy – and will continue to inspire us as we strive to safeguard the well-being of present and future generations.

“COP28 in 2023 will and must be a ‘solutions COP’ – and I am confident that the rich experience of this young, inclusive nation in advancing practical, viable and shareable solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges will again come to the fore as we host the world for the UN Climate Change Conference in two years’ time.

“The UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, announced earlier this year, shows our own unwavering commitment to promoting climate action. Further, through new investment commitments and partnerships, we are illustrating our determination to support the world in addressing climate change.

“We look forward to welcoming the world at COP28. The voice of every nation and stakeholder will be heard, ensuring that, together, we not only help mitigate the effects of global warming, but also unlock new opportunities to realize greater prosperity and a better life for future generations.”

'Together we will succeed': Dr Al Jaber

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change, said the decision to host COP28 in the UAE is a direct result of the vision of its leadership and the commitment of its founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to sustainable development. He added that the decision is a direct reflection of the nation’s decades long commitment to progressive climate action.

He said: “We very much look forward to the opportunity of uniting the world in an effort to raise ambitions for climate action and to advance progress for humanity.

“COP 28 will be a crucial global stock-take, measuring how far we have come, and how far we still need to go, to fulfill the Paris Agreement. Our guiding principle for COP 28 will be inclusivity. We want to reflect the views and invite the contribution of both developed and developing countries, the public and private sectors, academics and civil society. The UAE adopts this approach, because we truly believe that partnership promotes progress.”

Highlighting the UAE focus on promoting an inclusive approach, Dr Al Jaber added: “In this spirit, everyone will have a seat at the table. Developed countries alongside developing nations, the public alongside the private sector, scientists alongside civil society and also, importantly, the voices of youth. It is together that we will succeed.”

Turning challenges into opportunities

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “At a time of rapidly rising climate risks that threaten all countries, we welcome the responsibility of hosting COP28, and are determined to support the international community in pursuing a practical agenda that focuses on implementation, ambition, opportunities and transformation.”

She added: “Due to our wise leadership’s vision and foresight, the UAE has become an internationally acclaimed driver of collective climate action. In 2023, world leaders will convene to tackle climate change on a global scale – and where better to do so than the United Arab Emirates, the home of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and a country that has a strong track record in hosting high-profile international events.

“At COP28, we will address the planetary and economic aftermath of climate change as two sides of the same coin, exploring solutions that put us on a path towards limiting global warming to 1.5 C and are economically viable at the same time. We are keen to share our successful approach of turning challenges into opportunities to leave a healthier planet to our children.”

“We firmly believe in young people’s right to have a say in shaping their future, and are dedicated to supporting the highest levels of youth participation in delegations and formal proceedings at COP28.”

30 years of climate action

For more than three decades, the UAE has acted with foresight in tackling climate change. The nation has shown unwavering commitment towards investment projects aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate challenges, and more importantly, creating a positive economic impact for its people.

A critical player in the region, the UAE is now calling for bolder action. Earlier in October, it launched the Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, an ambitious national drive to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In addition, the UAE is determined to support the international community and find practical ways to implement and drive change. It is also calling for closer analysis of future climate-related risks and "anticipatory action" – a humanitarian model that releases resources in advance of reliably predicted climate disasters.

Investments in clean energy projects

The use of renewable energy has been integral to the UAE’s multifaceted strategy to reduce emissions and ward off the worst effects of global warming. These initiatives include solar power, carbon capture and hydrocarbon energy. In recent years, the UAE has invested an estimated $17 billion in renewable energy projects in 70 countries with a focus on developing countries.

In 2021, the UAE organised the regional climate dialogue and participated in the Leaders Summit on Climate, where it extended its commitment to sustainable agriculture and farming. Recognising that food systems account for one-third of all global carbon emissions, the UAE partnered with the US to launch the Agriculture Innovation Mission (AIM) for Climate that has garnered the support of 30 countries to date.

The UAE is home to three of the world’s largest and lowest-cost solar plants. Whether achieving the world’s lowest-cost solar power, introducing biodiversity conservation targets, deploying commercial-scale carbon capture technology, running a zero-carbon nuclear power plant or pursuing hydrogen energy, the UAE has been a pioneer of significant climate initiatives in the region.

Egypt to host COP 27

Meanwhile, Egypt was confirmed as the host of COP 27 in 2022.

Dr Al Jaber congratulated Egypt, highlighting that the UAE will cooperate with partners everywhere to identify lessons learned in order to achieve effective results.

He added that the UAE will work to ensure that all segments of society are part of this great effort to allow humanity to change course to a better future; extending an open invitation to the world to advance real climate action through inclusion, transparency and responsibility.

With inputs from WAM