COP28 in UAE: Over 100 free shows, workshops at Expo City

From discovering how to turn household trash into treasure to watching a climate musical, there are plenty of activities open to the public


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Sun 19 Nov 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 19 Nov 2023, 3:28 PM

While COP28 will feature important discussions and formal negotiations, the conference itself is for everyone, since it is about the future of our planet. There are actually more than 100 events and workshops that are free and open to the public at the COP28 Green Zone.

Whilst the Blue Zone is reserved only for formal negotiations, the Green Zone is where different groups, including youth groups, civil society, NGOs, private sector, and indigenous people will have their voices heard.

Spread throughout Expo City Dubai, the Green Zone is a place for discovery, collaboration and climate action. Again, entry is free but one should register for a dated Green Zone Day Pass at There will be additional registration or ticketing requirements indicated for specific events.

COP28 or the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will take place from November 30 to December 12, but the Green Zone will only open to the public from December 3.

There are themed areas dedicated to Energy Transition, Technology and Innovation, and Youth. It is here we, as the people, will shape the future of our planet – and Khaleej Times has collated the events, activities and attractions that we should not miss.

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Live healthy, eat healthy

Sprouting at Al Forsan Park is Expo City Farm where more than 10 types of crops, including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and medicinal herbs are being cultivated. Visitors will have actual experience how regenerative agriculture or the process of rotating crops to improve biodiversity works.

There will be workshops about hydroponic food production and sustainable farming but discussions will not be technical as there will be farm-to-table dining experiences as well. The farm will also host community workshops and cooking classes hosted by sustainability-minded chefs and professionals with strong focus on avoiding food wastage.

Expo City Farm will highlight the technology of producing water from air moisture, as well as BioChar or the use of carbon dioxide-absorbing sustainable charcoal. Spent coffee grounds sourced from Expo City's coffee outlets will also be used to cultivate mushrooms

What’s more, the indoor and outdoor spaces will be teeming with climate-resilient crops and the farm will remain a permanent fixture in the Expo community.

Climate musical

Targeting the younger audience, an original musical titled Alya in Terraland will be staged for free at Terra Auditorium on December 7, 11 and 12.

Photo: Neeraj Murali/KT
Photo: Neeraj Murali/KT

The 45-minute original production uses hip-hop and R&B music to convey the message of environmental awareness. It revolves around the main character Alya from the UAE, who meets creatures such as an angry orangutan and a wise octopus who explain how people are actually destroying the environment. It ends with Alya and the characters challenging the audience to take part in climate action.

Photo: Neeraj Murali/KT
Photo: Neeraj Murali/KT

Pledge for the planet

Visitors to Terra Pavilion are invited to take a Pledge for People and Planet. This will be the first time in COP history that the pledge will be made available in the Arabic language and it’s an opportunity for everyone to join the global movement to reduce carbon emissions for a better future.

Resonating Tides exhibition

From December 3, the Women’s Pavilion will tell stories about land and sea. There will be an exhibition for photography, craft, video and art installation urging people to work towards a more just and sustainable future with women and girls at the centre of the transformation.

A marine photography exhibition by Prince Hussain Aga Khan will also be hosted at the Sustainability Pavilion. Called Fragile Beauty, all pictures celebrate the magic of the ocean and the need to protect every marine species.

There will also be ‘Reflections on Climate Change’ exhibition, where visitors can learn about the history and goals of COPs, as well as the various initiatives people can get involved in.

The Pavilion will also offer interactive events around climate change through the lens of gender equality, global leadership, the private sector, and more.

Here are some of the free workshops:

  • A coalition called the Trillion Bee Coalition will be launched and there will be free workshops on how to produce local honey.
  • Vermi composting at the Wonderful Worms of Terra workshop to learn how worms can help transform food waste into nutrient-rich soil
  • Attend upcycling workshops and discover how to turn household trash into treasure
  • Learn how to create pollinator homes for the bees and enhance biodiversity in communities
  • Explore the wonders of the natural world through a 20-minute storytelling session, complete with movement and music
  • Potting and planting workshop for kids

Green mobility

In the spirit of reducing carbon emission, visitors are encouraged to use the Dubai Metro. There will be shuttle buses and buggies that will take visitors from Expo 2020 metro station to the Green Zone, which include the Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity districts. The Vision and Women’s pavilions, Surreal water feature, and Al Forsan are also open to the public.


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