UAE appoints president-designate for COP28

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, currently the country's special envoy for climate change, will be heading the team for the summit, and two other top officials will be joining him

By Wam

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Published: Thu 12 Jan 2023, 10:35 AM

Last updated: Thu 12 Jan 2023, 4:22 PM

A number of top climate officials and champions were appointed on Thursday as the UAE gears up for COP28, which it will be hosting this year.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Court, appointed Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber as president-designate for the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28). Al Jaber has been serving as the country's special envoy for climate change.

Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs; and Razan Al Mubarak, president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will join Al Jaber’s COP28 UAE team as the youth climate champion and UN climate change high-level champion, respectively.

The UAE is set to host the annual climate summit at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

Meet Dr Al Jaber

Meet Dr Al Jaber

Dr Al Jaber is Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT); has been serving as Special Envoy for Climate Change for two terms; and played a proactive participatory role at over 10 COPs, including the historic Paris COP21 in 2015. .

He is the first CEO to ever serve as COP president, having played a key role in shaping the country’s clean energy path. As the founding CEO of Masdar, he has overseen its mandate to accelerate the adoption of renewables within the UAE, across the region, and globally.

To date, Masdar has made substantial contributions to the UAE’s renewable energy targets, playing a key role in expanding the country’s portfolio with clean energy investments in over 40 countries, including several developing countries in Africa and Asia and in vulnerable island states.

As CEO of Adnoc since 2016, Dr Al Jaber has played a transformative role in decarbonising and diversifying the company’s operations and investments, placed sustainability at the heart of its business, and spearheaded a drive to make today’s energies cleaner while investing in the clean energies of tomorrow.

Under Al Jaber’s leadership, Adnoc is investing $15 billion over five years in its decarbonisation strategy and its new low-carbon solutions business, including the expansion of its carbon capture capacity to 5 MMTPA by 2030 and its shareholding in Masdar, as it delivers on its target to reduce its carbon intensity by 25 per cent by 2030 and its ambition to reach net-zero by 2050.

As COP28 president-designate, Dr. Al Jaber will play a crucial role in leading the intergovernmental process, building consensus, and driving ambitious climate outcomes with a broad range of partners, including business and civil society.

“This will be a critical year in a critical decade for climate action. The UAE is approaching COP28 with a strong sense of responsibility and the highest possible level of ambition. In cooperation with the UNFCCC and the COP27 Presidency, we will champion an inclusive agenda that ramps up action on mitigation, encourages a just energy transition that leaves no one behind, ensures substantial, affordable climate finance is directed to the most vulnerable, accelerates funding for adaptation and builds out a robust funding facility to address loss and damage," Dr Al Jaber said.

He added: “COP28 will undertake the first ever Global Stocktake (GST) since the Paris Agreement. The GST will provide the foundation to build momentum for this and future COPs and the UAE will look for an ambitious outcome in response to the GST from the negotiation process. This will be a critical moment to mobilise political will to respond to what the science tells us will need to be achieved to remain on target and limit global warming to 1.5C by 2050.”

Meet the new climate champions

Meet the new climate champions

The new champions will mobilise action from businesses, investors, organisations, cities, regions, and all of civil society, including youth, in the run-up to and at the annual climate summit.

Shamma Al Mazrui will serve as the Youth Climate Champion, a new role designed to elevate the global youth voice throughout the COP process and ensure young people’s skills and abilities are prioritised.

Al Mazrui will work with local and global stakeholders to provide capacity-building opportunities for youth, as well as mechanisms to fund youth innovations in the field.

She is currently the UAE’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs, where she focuses on youth empowerment and capacity development. The Youth Climate Champion role is a recognition of the need to empower young people in the climate action process and capitalise on the innovative skills, capacities, and abilities of the world’s nearly 2 billion youth.

Razan Al Mubarak will serve as the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion with the mandate to strengthen engagement and mobilise efforts from non-state actors, including private sector partners, cities and other sub-national governments, indigenous peoples, and civil society. Al Mubarak’s storied career and impact in conservation and environmental management across the public and private sectors positions her favourably to connect non-state actors with government efforts to spur greater climate action.

Currently, as president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Al Mubarak is responsible for implementing the vision, mission, and strategy of the organisation, which represents over 1,400 members, including states, government agencies and non-government organisations from 160 countries.

COP28, Net Zero by 2050

As the COP28 host, the UAE will aim to build consensus and coalitions to achieve a practical, pragmatic and just energy transition and reform land use and food systems, while scaling up adaptation and operationalising the new loss and damage fund.

The country looks forward to welcoming the world to COP28 and working together with all stakeholders to pursue balanced, ambitious, and inclusive outcomes as a hopeful legacy for our future generation.

The latest appointments highlight the UAE’s regional leadership in climate action and its role as a global advocate for clean energy. It is home to three of the largest and lowest-cost solar projects in the world and has invested more than $50 billion in renewable energy projects across 70 countries, with plans to invest a minimum of $50 billion over the next decade.

As the first country in the region to ratify the Paris Agreement, the first to commit to an economy-wide reduction in emissions, and the first to announce a Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, the UAE is committed to raising ambition in this critical decade for climate action.

Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, will continue to lead the UAE’s domestic efforts in addressing climate change, preserving the environment, food systems transformation, coordinating the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and setting the pathway for the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative.

The UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative represents a critical way forward for the country's future sustainable economic development, will enable the creation of new industries and skills, and is central to the UAE’s contribution to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.


The appointments come at a pivotal moment, as the world faces increasing climate impact and challenges to energy, food and water security and reversing biodiversity loss.

Limiting global warming to 1.5C will require significant reductions in emissions, a pragmatic, practical and realistic approach to the energy transition and more help for emerging economies. The UAE is committed to multilateral cooperation and an inclusive process that brings together emerging economies with developed nations, civil society, and business to achieve the solutions and the pace of change required.

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