UN climate conferences are government-level large-scale annual gatherings focused on climate action. They are also referred to as COPs – Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UNFCCC convention entered into force on 21 March 1994 to prevent “dangerous” human interference with the climate system.

Today, ratified by 198 countries, it has near-universal membership. The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, works as an extension of that convention.

Over 60,000 people are expected to attend this year’s COP28 event in UAE, Dubai, including delegates from member states of the UNFCCC, industry leaders, youth activists, representatives of indigenous communities, journalists, and other stakeholders.

It is a critical moment for global climate action.

COP28 will provide us with a reality check – a culmination of a process called ”Global Stocktake” – on how far the world has come in tackling the climate crisis and how much of a course correction is needed.

COP28 will provide us with a reality check.

COP28 is expected to be a turning point, where countries not only agree ‘WHAT’ stronger climate actions will be taken, but show ‘HOW’ to deliver them.

Measuring the progress towards achieving the Paris goals on mitigation, adaptation and climate finance and adapting existing plans is a key part of the puzzle, and this is why COP28 assumes more significance.

The first global stocktake, which began at COP26 in Glasgow, will conclude in Dubai.

The process is designed to help identify what more still needs to be done and guide countries towards more ambitious and accelerated climate action plans.

So, the decision adopted by the parties at COP28 could emerge as the most consequential outcome following the 2015 Paris conference.

The UN Secretary-General has repeatedly sent stark reminders that the current urgency for climate action is dwarfed by the scale of the crisis, but the “future is not fixed”.

The science is clear: it is still possible to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C and avoid the worst of climate change, “but only with dramatic, immediate climate action”, which includes:

  • A 45 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels
  • Achieving global net zero emissions by 2050
  • A “just and equitable transition” from fossil fuels (oil and gas) to renewable energy sources
  • Increased investments in adaptation and resilience to the climate disruption

But, there is more – such as fulfilling the financial commitments in support of developing countries, securing $100 billion in climate finance annually and operationalizing the loss and damage fund, which was agreed upon last year at COP27, delivering climate justice.

However, the UNFCCC’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs) synthesis report released in November shows that the world is failing to get a grip on the climate crisis.

“Global ambition stagnated over the past year and national climate plans are strikingly misaligned with the science,” the UN chief said.

The UN climate conferences are hosted by a different country each year. This year, the United Arab Emirates is hosting the COP28 summit between 30 November and 12 December.

The host also appoints a president who leads the climate negotiations and provide leadership and overall vision.

Dr. Sultan al-Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology for the UAE, will preside over the negotiations at COP28.

The incoming presidency has stated its main focus on changes in four key areas:

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