COP28 and UAE’s Agenda: Advancing Climate Action in the Middle East

Vineetha Sony | 28 Apr 2023 | Middle East perspective

The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held later this year, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to play a leading role in the conference (30th November – 12th December 2023). With COP28 scheduled to take place at Expo City Dubai, the location is befitting for a number of reasons, (i) the venue brought the world together in the UAE for six months for Expo 2020 and (ii) COP28 share similar objectives, with sustainability top of both agendas.

The UAE has a strong commitment to advancing climate action and has set ambitious targets to reduce its carbon footprint. The country operates three of the world’s largest and lowest-cost solar plants and has invested in renewable energy projects in 70 countries.

The UAE has taken significant steps to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2021, the UAE updated its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The updated NDC includes a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23.5% by 2030 compared to business-as-usual levels.

The UAE’s agenda at COP28 is expected to focus on several key areas such as:

  • Climate Action Advancement

The Middle East is one of the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change, and the UAE is well-positioned to lead efforts to address this issue. The UAE has a track record in climate action and multilateral co-operation. The UAE will work to promote the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in the region, as well as to promote climate resilience measures.

  • Finance

Another key area of focus for the UAE at COP28 will be on mobilizing finance for climate action. The UAE has been a strong advocate for increasing climate finance for developing countries and has pledged to contribute USD 1.5 billion to the Green Climate Fund. The UAE will likely use its platform at COP28 to advocate for increased climate finance and to explore new ways of mobilizing finance for climate action.

  • Technology

The UAE is also expected to promote the use of technology in addressing climate change. The UAE is home to the Masdar Institute, a research institution focused on developing sustainable technologies, and has made significant investments in renewable energy technologies. The UAE will likely work to promote the use of innovative technologies such as green hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and electric vehicles as part of its efforts to address climate change.

COP28 is an important milestone in the global effort to address climate change, and the UAE is set to play a leading role in the conference.