Guide to COP28

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Introduction to COP28

This year’s COP28 will be hosted and governed in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates between the 30th of November 2023 and the 12th of December 2023.

This year marks the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Section 1 – What is COP?

COP, also known as the UN Climate Change Conferences, are the multilateral decision-making forum that occurs each year and invites their member countries from around the world to discuss solutions for mitigating climate change. In regard to its membership, this is made up of most of the countries around the world.

The purpose of COP28, and all previous COPs, is to discuss solutions for the climate crisis. This includes finding ways to protect the planet, its ecosystems, and people from the negative impacts of climate change. Therefore, they will discuss the best approaches to reach Net Zero by 2050, and how to keep the global temperature rise under 1.5ᴼC.

Section 2 – Why the UAE?

This year the United Arab Emirates will host COP28, and Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and United Arab Emirates Special Envoy for Climate Change, will act as the events President.

There are five UN regional groups that make up the member states of COP, these are:

  • The African Group
  • The Asia-Pacific Group
  • The Eastern Europe Group
  • The Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
  • The Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

These regions are involved within a rotational schedule, this year the schedule fell to the Asia-Pacific Group, where the UAE was chosen to host.

As part of the role as host government, the UAE must provide the necessary facilities and premises to make the event a success, this also includes supplying any equipment, utilities, and services that may be required.

The host must also engage with its delegates at each level, including ministerial, head of delegation, and technical. This is to make sure full co-operation is achieved in order to maintain a successful and worthwhile event.

Section 3 – Who is attending?

This year’s COP28 is expected to accommodate over 70,000 attendees from around the world, including from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s member states. Other attendees will include:

  • Scientists
  • Experts
  • Leaders in Business
  • Stakeholders
  • Journalists and members of the Press
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Young People

Unfortunately, members of the public will not have access to the entire event, as access to the Blue Zone is limited.

Section 4 – Blue and Green Zones

Blue Zone
The Blue Zone is set up for official meetings, sessions, events, and conferences. This space is managed by UN Climate Change in order to host important conferences, discussions, and negotiations.

The only attendees allowed to enter the Blue Zone are Party delegates, Heads of State, observers with permission, and members of the Press that have been accredited. There will be representatives from all of the 199 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The public cannot attend the events in the Blue Zone, however, many of the events held in this section will be cast over the internet. To access these webcasts, follow the link:

This link will give you access to plenary sessions, segments with Heads of States, side events, and Press conferences.

Green Zone
This zone has been set up for the global community and the civil society in order for their voices to be heard regarding solutions and mitigation strategies. As this section is managed by this year’s COP28 host, the UAE, instead of being managed by the UN, it is much more accessible.

Attendees that have access to this area includes businesses, organisations, youth representatives, regional and local decision makers, artists, and those within the civil society.

Within this section there is the opportunity for discussions, presentations, exhibitions, and the exchanging of ideas, strategies, and solutions. This area is much more informal, leading to more flexibility for discussions.

Section 5 – Paris Agreement

This year’s COP28, is important as the governments in attendance should find a solution on how to increase its ambition and drive and turn it into action, in order to implement and reach the negotiated details that were agreed under the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

In November 2023, scientists and researchers from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that in order to be on track to reach net zero by 2050, the world must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 43%, when compared to the figures from 2019. This reduction in emissions is important if we are to limit the global temperature rise to under 1.5ᴼC, to prevent further negative impacts of climate change, including natural disasters.

COP28 is incredibly important as it gives the world an opportunity to identify ways to stay on target and keep the temperature rise to a minimum. The event is also set up to help countries reach and revise their Nationally Determined Contributions (national climate plans) which have a 2025 deadline.

The main aim of COP28 is to negotiate an agreement on how to achieve the goals within the Paris Agreement, and how to help the world continue with its transition to a greener and more sustainable future.

Section 6 – COP28 Discussions and Stocktake

There are many discussions that are scheduled to take place at COP28, topics include:

  • Accelerating the just transition.
  • Helping vulnerable communities through finding ways to lower their financial loss and damage when concerning immediate climate impacts.
  • Increasing the use of cleaner energy.
  • Reducing and closing the emissions gap.
  • Working towards the world’s goal of funding developing countries efforts that concern climate change.

For the first time at a COP event, there will be a conclusion for a global stocktake. This stocktake is a process for all countries and their stakeholders to check the amount of progress they are actually making. This progress being measures will be based on the success of action taken towards the goals set out within the Paris Climate Change Agreement. This stocktake will also show where progress is not being made.

Already the stocktake has shown that the world is behind on its progress, and that we are not currently on track to keep the temperature rise under 1.5ᴼC. Due to this the governments attending COP28 will have the opportunity to make decisions on how to increase their progress. This is important as the next round of Climate Action Plans are due by 2025.

Section 7 – COP28 Meetings

There are three decision making bodies that surround the annual meetings of the conference, including the Convention, the Paris Agreement, and the Kyoto Protocol. Within these bodies the member states will discuss a range of topics surrounding climate change and its related factors and impacts.

These meetings will include:

  • The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties, known as COP 28 (Convention)
  • The 5th session surrounding the Paris Agreement
  • The 18th session surrounding the Kyoto Protocol

Technical information and advice for each of these decision making bodies will be given by two subsidiary bodies under the UNFCCC, the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).

There will be other meetings taking place including private negotiations, technical meetings, press conferences, world leader segments, and events.