Al-Jaber takes on Cop28 presidency

30 November 2023
The UK's King Charles will address world leaders at the Cop28 official opening ceremony on 1 December

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (Cop) presidency formally passes from Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry to Sultan al-Jaber today, as the Cop28 summit opens at Expo City Dubai.

Al-Jaber, the UAE’s special envoy for climate change and chairman of state-backed Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and clean energy firm Masdar, is expected to speak at the opening conference, which UNFCC executive secretary Simon Stiell, Cop28 director-general Majid al-Suwaidi and Cop28 chief climate negotiator Hana AlHashimi will also attend.

On 29 November, Al-Jaber rejected allegations that the UAE plans to discuss natural gas and other commercial deals at meetings linked to the UN climate summit talks.

This follows reports on 27 November by the BBC and the Centre for Climate Reporting (CCR) showing leaked briefing documents prepared for Al-Jaber revealing plans to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 countries.

“These allegations are false, not true, incorrect, and not accurate,” Al-Jaber said when asked to comment on the alleged leaked document by a reporter. “And it’s an attempt to undermine the work of the Cop28 presidency.”

Al-Jaber has pledged that this year’s summit and negotiations will be the most important, inclusive and action-oriented Cop.

The initial two days will involve the first global stocktake of countries’ progress towards their emissions reduction commitments or nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Securing climate finance and commitments to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 to keep the global warming cap within 1.5 degrees Celcius are the other key outcomes expected from Cop28.

The UK’s King Charles will deliver an opening speech and address world leaders at the Cop28 official opening ceremony on 1 December. 

The monarch is expected to meet with regional leaders after his speech.

In addition to more than 140 visiting heads of state, Cop28 expects to welcome over 70,000 international delegates and some 400,000 visitors.

The Cop28 Green Zone will be open to the public, private sector, media, youth and non-government organisations, as well as delegates and guests of the UNFCCC-managed Blue Zone for two weeks.

The Blue Zone will be open to accredited party and observer delegates and will host formal negotiations.

Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road will be temporarily closed from 1-3 December in line with the UAE’s Union Day celebrations and its hosting of Cop28, according to the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority.

The Abu Dhabi-bound carriageway will be closed between the Trade Centre Roundabout and the Expo Intersection from 7am until 11am during those days.

Schools are shifting to distance learning on 1 December, while 4 December has been declared a public holiday.

The Cop28 schedule includes: 

  • 30 November: Opening
  • 1 December: World Climate Action Summit
  • 2 December: World Climate Action Summit
  • 3 December: Health/Relief, Recovery and Peace
  • 4 December: Finance/Trade/Gender Equality/Accountability
  • 5 December: Energy and Industry/Just Transition/Indigenous Peoples
  • 6 December: Multilevel Action, Urbanisation and Built Environment/Transport
  • 7 December: Rest Day
  • 8 December: Youth, Children, Education and Skills
  • 9 December: Nature, Land Use and Oceans
  • 10 December: Food, Agriculture and Water
  • 11-12 December: Final Negotiations

In early November, the Cop28 Sponsorship Committee, comprised of seven different internal Cop28 departments, appointed an independent third party, the UK-headquartered EY, to validate commitments and provide technical advice to Cop28.

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