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COP28 President, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber joins the delegates in applauding as they join the stage for the final closing remarks. PHOTO/UNFCC


By Arnold Ageta

After two weeks of intense negotiations and a year of inclusive diplomatic engagements, COP28 concluded with a groundbreaking agreement by 198 Parties. The landmark text, named The UAE Consensus, establishes an ambitious climate agenda aimed at keeping the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C within reach.

In his closing speech, COP28 President, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, expressed pride in the historic achievement, stating, “The world needed to find a new way. By following our North Star, we have found that path. We have worked very hard to secure a better future for our people and our planet. We should be proud of our historic achievement.”

The UAE Consensus calls for a transition away from fossil fuels to achieve net zero by 2050, urging Parties to submit economy-wide Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Notable commitments include a specific target to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030, as well as a call to reform the financial architecture, recognizing the role of credit rating agencies and advocating for increased concessional and grant finance.

Dr. Al Jaber emphasized the inclusive nature of the plan, stating, “It is a balanced plan that tackles emissions, bridges the gap on adaptation, reimagines global finance, and delivers on loss and damage. It is built on common ground, strengthened by inclusivity, and reinforced by collaboration. It is an enhanced, balanced, but make no mistake, a historic package to accelerate climate action.”

Delegates following the session during the 2023 COP28 conference in Dubai. PHOTO/UNFCC

The negotiated outcomes also include historic steps to operationalize Loss and Damage, with early pledges totaling $792 million, the establishment of a framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), and the institutionalization of the Youth Climate Champion role to mainstream youth inclusion at future COPs.

Under the COP28 Action Agenda, which spans four pillars, including a just energy transition, accessible climate finance, a focus on people and nature, and full inclusivity, over $85 billion in funding has been mobilized. Major achievements include the launch of the UAE’s $30 billion ALTÉRRA private finance vehicle and declarations on Agriculture, Food, & Climate, as well as Climate and Health.

Dr. Al Jaber highlighted the unprecedented support for the Action Agenda, stating, “The scale of achievements delivered under the Action Agenda has been unprecedented for any COP and testament to the willingness of representatives from a huge range of sectors and industries to take positive action.”

Looking ahead, the COP28 Presidency is committed to ensuring that the agreements made are followed through to COP29 and COP30, with mechanisms to track progress against implementation. An agreement has already been signed with Brazil, the host country of COP30, to deepen collaboration and increase climate ambitions, working closely with Azerbaijan, the hosts of COP29, to ensure Parties come to COP30 with ambitious updated climate plans for action in this critical decade.

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