Youth delegates will shape the debate at Cop28: Sustainability expert

With COP28 being a platform where global leaders discuss sustainability, it could have a very positive impact on youth, says expert


Nasreen Abdulla

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Mon 11 Sep 2023, 5:30 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Sep 2023, 12:30 PM

Youth delegates will shape the debate at COP28 and play a huge part in the decision-making processes related to climate action, according to Ali Alshimmari, International Assets Manager – GCC, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and chairman of the TAQA Youth Council.

Ali Alshimmari
Ali Alshimmari

“The UAE has selected 100 youth delegates from around the globe to help shape the debate at COP28,” he said. “This can empower and engage the youth in the decision-making processes related to climate action.”

The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international climate summit during which world leaders work together to tackle climate change. COP28 will take place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12 this year. It will be a milestone moment as there will be a comprehensive assessment of progress since adopting the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Impact on Youth

According to Alshimmari, the conference will have an impact on younger generation and their perception of sustainability.

“COP28 will increase awareness among youth about the demanding issues related to climate change and inspire them to participate in sustainability efforts,” he said. “It is also an opportunity for valuable information and knowledge about sustainability and climate change for youth.”

Alshimmari is also a National Experts Program (NEP) fellow. Developed under the direction of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the NEP is a launchpad for UAE-based specialists who strive to play a leading role in the transformation of future-growth sectors aligned with the UAE’s national priorities.

With COP28 being a platform where global leaders discuss sustainability, it could have a very positive impact on youth, pointed out Alshimmari. “This could inspire the youth to see the urgency of the matter, leading to increased involvement in sustainability initiatives,” he said. “They might start more local projects, advocate for policy changes, and inspire their peers to do the same. The event could also lead to more educational programs about sustainability in schools and communities, making the concept more mainstream among the youth.”

He said that with sustainability becoming a very prominent topic of discussion, younger people will also adopt more sustainable lifestyles. “They may make choices that reduce their environmental impact, such as using public transportation, reducing waste, or supporting eco-friendly products,” he said.


In the lead-up to the COP28, there are many initiatives aimed at youth. Alshimmari gave the example of Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S), a Masdar initiative. “It invests in and actively supports the development of young people, enabling them to become the sustainability leaders of tomorrow.”

He said several other companies are doing their bit to promote the agenda. “Organizations are actively engaging with youth in various ways,” he said. “They offer internships and workshops, providing firsthand experience in sustainable practices and renewable energy projects. These opportunities allow youth to understand the practical aspects of renewable energy, such as how solar parks like the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park operate. Moreover, organizations also run campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability and the role of renewable energy in combating climate change. These campaigns often involve activities that youth can participate in, such as tree planting events, clean-up drives, and advocacy work.”


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