Youth to unify UAE stakeholders towards climate summit

The first COP28 Presidency-hosted event called ‘Road to COP28’ will be held at Expo City Dubai on March 15

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A Staff Reporter

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A view shows the 'Cop28 UAE' logo on a globe, during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), in Abu Dhabi, UAE, January 17, 2023. Photo: Reuters
A view shows the 'Cop28 UAE' logo on a globe, during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), in Abu Dhabi, UAE, January 17, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Published: Sun 12 Mar 2023, 5:02 PM

A youth-led event is all set to unify stakeholders towards COP28 that the UAE is hosting later this year. The first COP28 Presidency-hosted event called ‘Road to COP28’ will be held at Expo City Dubai on March 15.

The event is a significant moment for the country’s youth to come together and join the wider community towards raising awareness and mobilising an all-of-society effort towards COP28. The ‘Road to COP28’ event aligns with the summit’s goal to accelerate global climate action. It will see the launch of key initiatives to enhance youth participation within the UN climate process and amplify the efforts of organisations in the global climate community.


Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chairman of the Higher Committee overseeing preparations for the 28th session of COP28, highlighted how the UAE has embraced the vision of a climate-focused future with people at the centre.

“As the host country of COP28, the UAE is dedicating significant resources at all levels of government to lead a transparent, innovative, and inclusive climate process that brings together key stakeholders and communities – particularly youth – to collectively drive a solutions-oriented COP28 agenda,” he said.


How event will inspire change

The event will highlight the priorities and principles underpinning COP28, through a varied programme of activities to engage with more than 3,000 people, including students, youth in national service, youth climate advocates, people of determination, senior citizens, and more. The event will be attended by COP28 leadership, senior government officials, and ambassadors to the UAE.

The day-long event on March 15 consists of three programmes. The Morning programme of interactive workshops will inspire, educate, and empower young students aged 7 to 15 to understand and tackle climate change.

The afternoon programme will include youth circles, debates, workshops, sustainability initiatives, and performances. The evening programme will be a platform for the UAE’s leadership to share their ambitions for COP28 alongside youth climate advocates.

With climate action at the centre, the event will explore four strategic pillars: Participation, action, voice, and education.

Driving an inclusive climate agenda

Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and President-Designate of COP28, highlighted how today’s youth are the climate leaders of tomorrow. “Central to the success of COP28, which is taking place later this year, we are keen to ensure that their perspectives, vision and skills are included to drive climate action. Led by COP28’s Youth Climate Champion, Shamma Al Mazrui, this youth-led event is a crucial milestone in the inclusion of and ongoing engagement with young people across the world. The COP28 Presidency firmly believes in delivering a COP for all, and this calls for active participation from all of society, all of government and the whole country as we prepare to welcome the world to the UAE for COP28.”

Climate and environmental action

Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said climate and environmental action is an “institutional and societal commitment” in the UAE. She stressed that hosting COP28 is an opportunity for everyone to participate in promoting environmental awareness and climate action and strengthening strategic partnerships to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Promoting awareness

Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of Community Development and the COP28 Youth Climate Champion, said that building youth capacities, mainstreaming them into the COP process, and promoting climate change awareness enhances youth's pivotal role in global climate action and creates a new narrative that brings about desired transformations.

She called on the youth to be change-makers by adopting a culture of flexibility, innovating solutions, and seizing opportunities. She added that the UAE’s establishment of the Youth Climate Champion role establishes a sustainable legacy for COP28 and ensures the continuity of the youth’s leadership role in environment-friendly practices and international climate events in the future.

Sustainability and Expo City

Reem Al Hashemy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and CEO, Expo City Dubai Authority, underlined that Expo 2020 Dubai was one of the most sustainable World Expos in history

“We welcomed the world as a community, embracing all who answered our call because we knew that by connecting minds, we could create a better future for people and planet. Now that legacy continues at Expo City Dubai – a clean and green city, an education hub, and host of COP28, with a mission to propel human progress and a resolve to keep pushing the envelope on sustainability.

“The power of collaboration and potential of young generations to drive climate action is yet to be fully realised, and Expo City Dubai is proud to play its role as a convener, an advocate for youth learning and engagement opportunities, and as a city with a proven commitment to sustainability, to support with the delivery of a truly inclusive and solutions-led COP28.”

Potential of youth

Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture and Youth, reiterated that youth have the potential and capabilities to create an enduring impact. He their successes contribute to socio-economic development and introduce ecofriendly enterprises while playing a pivotal part in providing solutions to crucial global challenges such as climate change.

Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 and President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said: “Climate change is a global issue that needs global and local solutions. It calls for active participation from all segments of society, including women, youth, indigenous peoples, civil society, businesses and more, to drive meaningful and innovative climate action to protect the planet and people. Inclusivity will be a core principle for COP28, and we welcome diverse voices and perspectives into the fold. I look forward to being a part of this event, to engage with the UAE’s youth, and to learn more about the priorities of our young people on the road to COP28.”

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