These Are The Key Highlights From COP28 In Dubai

Lindsay Judge   |   14-12-2023

The highly anticipated United Nations 2023 Climate Change Conference (COP) took place at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

The global event saw over 70,000 participants convene, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth and non-state actors. The beginning of the event saw world leaders and delegates from around the world descending on the city to discuss crucial topics and issues related to climate change. Attendees included King Charles III of the United Kingdom, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, United States Vice President Kamala Harris and many more. During the opening day of the event, world leaders posed for a group photo, highlighting their commitment to fighting climate change and promise to work together against this global catastrophe.

The COP28 Presidency has taken an innovative and inclusive approach to the two-week program for COP28. It is the first Presidency to hold an open consultation on thematic areas and sequencing. The program highlights the sectors and topics that stakeholders repeatedly raised during consultations, including both annual fixtures of the COP agenda, such as energy and finance, and new, essential topics like health, trade and relief, recovery, and peace.

The thematic daysprogramming also incorporates four crosscutting themes that underpin effective, interconnected delivery: Technology and innovation, Inclusion, Frontline Communities and Finance.

COP28 UAE delivered the first-ever Global Stocktake – a comprehensive evaluation of progress against climate goals – as mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement. The two-week event saw several discussions take place, hoping to start the next chapter of moving towards a more sustainable future.

The event was opened with a speech by COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber, who expressed his pride at the UAE hosting a critical climate action event. He discussed the impact of climate change on the planet and why we are at a crucial point in helping to combat the damage thats already been done and continues to happen. He pledged to lead an inclusive and transparent process, one that encourages free and open discussion between all parties. He asked world leaders to start this COP with a different mindset” and adopt a different way of thinking”. He used the UAE as an example; as a country that has developed so much in just 52 years, it shows what can be done when you have big ambitions, optimism, true partnership, determination, and commitment.”

King Charles III also expressed his concern about climate change and the importance of this crucial moment in an address, outlining how we need to take action now. I pray with all my heart that Cop28 will be another critical turning point towards genuine transformational action at a time when, already, as scientists have been warning for so long, we are seeing alarming tipping points being reached.” Adding, some important progress has been made, but it worries me greatly that we remain so dreadfully far off track as the global stocktake report demonstrates so graphically.”

COP28 was structured into two areas called the blue and green zones. The Blue Zone was a UNFCCC-managed site that was only open to UN-accredited participants. This is where official discussions are taking place. The Green Zone was open to everyone and offers a platform for different groups to raise awareness about climate action. In the Green Zone, an ongoing curated content programme will include thematic days, conferences, panel discussions, talks, presentations and more. It also had a Youth Hub, where young people could discuss, collaborate and network on climate change solutions, as well as a Civil Societies Hub, which hosted presentations, activations and discussions on the part civil societies play in climate change solutions. There was also be Arts and Cultural Programming that demonstrated climate change and solutions through various art mediums.

Elsewhere, fashion and luxury brands were doing their bit to contribute to the event. Long-time sustainability advocate Stella McCartney hosted a sustainable innovation exhibit during the conference, which represented the fashion industry and how it can continue to support sustainability.

The designer and her team also engaged in several talks throughout the two-week period. McCartney also revealed a series of new announcements and commitments in her 2023 Impact Report. This includes renewed commitments to innovation and fossil fuel reduction across materials and processes throughout the production, sale and end-of-life of all Stella McCartney products. The brand also revealed strategic partnerships with Mango Materials and Air Carbon to develop new innovations and materials from GHG emissions. There will also soon be the reveal of the 2024 Circular Design Guide, which will openly share sustainable circular design materials knowledge, hoping to inspire other industries.

The designers delegation at the event focused on three key goals:

• Advocating for policy regulations to change and incentivise sustainable business and the decarbonisation of the industry.

• Continuing a decades-long mission built around human and animal protection and welfare.

• Building a coalition of global government and business leaders to support and scale investment in a wide range of material and process innovations.

The designer also hosted a sustainable market which showcased the work of 15 pioneers in the industry, as well as breakthroughs in regenerative agriculture, bio and plant-based alternatives to plastic, animal leather fur and traditional fibres.

Elsewhere, Italian fashion house Brunello Cucinelli confirmed its commitment to safeguarding the environment and craftsmanship with the launch of a new project, launched in some Himalayan areas in 2022 as the result of an agreement with the SMI Fashion Task Force founded by King Charles III of England. It was an opportunity to update on the progress of this project inspired by Human Sustainability, a core value of the Solomeo-based company to foster the dignity of every living being, respect for Creation and a culture of balance between profit and giving back.

The goal is to restore harmony between small local communities in some areas of the broad Himalayan territory and its extraordinary natural environment. Efforts are being made to regenerate degraded landscapes and at the same time, recover traditional craftsmanship and textile skills, an exceptional resource not only for that region but for the history and sustainable future of mankind as a whole. The Brunello Cucinelli Fashion House is working to support the local cashmere, cotton and silk economies, always keeping a close eye on the crucial issues of climate change and the risk of a progressive loss of biodiversity. To this end, degraded landscapes in the Western and Eastern Himalayas are being reclaimed, also thanks to the valuable partnership with Reforest Action and the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance.

Local forests are being restored in the Assam province, while In the Ladakh region, which is located in the Western Himalayas, the Project is developing the value chain of one of the world’s most valuable fibres, pashmina, by involving local communities. They have already started their first pashmina production under the principle of Human Sustainability and are being helped to better cope with the consequences of climate change through suitable daily farming practices.

Federico Marchetti commented: “It is a source of great pride for the Fashion Task Force of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, which I have the honour to chair, to share the extraordinary progress achieved with this project exactly one year after its first presentation at COP27. These significant and tangible results confirm that we are on the right track and spur us on to continue investing courageously for a new sustainable future, regenerating the natural resources of our planet and preserving the precious craftsmanship of local economies.

I am very grateful to Brunello Cucinelli, who strongly believes in the project and in our Task Force as a tool to make this change possible together.”

Closer to home and Dubai-based company Dubai Holding hosted a series of talks and presentations at its public showcase at Expo City. Four daily informative talks and presentations are sharing the companys sustainability initiatives, including design and construction, waste management, community development and hospitality. Aiming to foster awareness and drive engagement on climate action, the programme also includes a number of inspiring talks with expert speakers from local and international companies.