Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Permanent Representative

At the outset, I would like to thank Ambassador Kamboj and the Mission of India for convening us today at this important event. I would also like to thank [Shri] Suresh Prabhu for chairing this panel, and my fellow panelists for their insightful contributions.

The concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “one earth, one family, one future” encapsulates the spirit driving our multilateral cooperation at the UN. In particular, it also reflects our shared commitment to action through the frameworks of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement – for a sustainable and equitable future.  Using this lens proposed by our friends from India is therefore particularly useful to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution – which are the issues we are looking at in this panel.

With this in mind, I want to quickly provide an overview of the preparations for COP28 by the UAE COP Presidency.

The COP28 UAE Presidency team, in a spirit of inclusion and cooperation, and drawing on widespread consultations has developed a vision for COP28 centered on unity as a prerequisite for success. That vision is focused on four paradigm shifts:

  • Fast-tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030.
  • Transforming climate finance by delivering on old promises and setting the framework for a new deal on finance.
  • Putting nature, people, lives and livelihoods at the heart of climate action.
  • and mobilizing for the most inclusive COP ever.

In light of our focus today, I would like to elaborate a little more on how we plan to really deliver on inclusion – both in terms of thematic issues as well as in terms of stakeholder participation.

Food, water, nature, and human health – are all issues that – despite their critical relevance for climate action – thus far have not been at the heart of UNFCCC negotiations. The UAE is accordingly shining a political spotlight on these issues – both on how they are impacted by climate change, as well as on how we can enhance our efforts in these areas to adapt to climate change.

On nature specifically, the COP28 Presidency is promoting initiatives that not only protect and preserve biodiversity and natural carbon sinks, but also champion the efforts and solutions proposed by those on the frontlines of conservation and adaption efforts, including women and Indigenous People. Nature conservation and protection, and climate action are two sides of the same coin. We are therefore working to align more closely the work of the UNFCCC and the work of the Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in order to promote greater impact and efficiency through nature for climate action. The High-Level Champion of COP28, HE Razan Al Mubarak, is also the President of IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and is by nature of her IUCN role a true champion of the nature, biodiversity and conservation agendas. 

Our holistic focus of climate action is also reflected in the thematic programming at COP28. We are proud to be the first COP to host days dedicated to health; food and water; as well as a day on ‘relief, recovery, and peace’. Following the COP Presidency’s consultations and the feedback received, COP28 will also include in its  programming days on ‘youth, children, education and skills’; as well as on ‘nature, land use, and oceans’.

Furthermore, the inclusion of all stakeholders – especially from vulnerable countries – will be core to this COP’s success. To ensure actionable outcomes, the COP team has been consulting to ensure inputs from women, civil society, youth, companies, and academia.

The team is also working with stakeholders to ensure their participation in leadership roles at COP28. Notably, COP28 launched a Youth Delegates program to fund the meaningful participation of 100 youth delegates, primarily from LDCs and SIDs, throughout the UNFCCC process and at COP28. In line with the ideas expressed at today’s event, and the values reflected in “The World is One Family”, we look forward to our collective work in the next two months, all the way up to the COP28 moment. As the COP28 motto states: “Unite. Act. Deliver” We all have a role to play, in ensuring our shared success.