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President of COP28, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.
President of COP28, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The President of the Conference of the Parties  to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), Sultan Ahmed al Jaber, has told CARICOM leaders that he has heard firsthand what it means to be on the front lines of climate change, how it is impacting lives and livelihoods, and undermining the region’s development.

COP 28 will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Nov. 30 until Dec. 12 and al Jaber addressed the CARICOM leaders who are wrapping up their 45th annual summit here on Wednesday.

He said he has had the opportunity to listen and engage with many representatives from the CARICOM region, as well as with many representatives of many regions around the world.

“As the United Arab Emirates takes on the role of hosting COP28 in November, we do this with humility, a deep sense of responsibility, and great sense of urgency. We are determined to make COP28 a COP of action and solidarity, a COP that unites all and delivers for all,” he told the regional leaders.

“In this year of the global stock taking we already know that we are way off track. We just have seven years to cut emissions by 43 per cent,  live up to the Paris Agreement and keep 1.5 within reach.”

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But  al Jaber, who is also the UAE minister for industry and advanced technology, said “we  need to shift gears across mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage and, of course, climate finance.

“We must fast track a just and equitable energy transition that leaves no one behind. We need to triple renewable energy capacity and double hydrogen production. We must protect nature, enhance food and health systems and upgrade adaptation responses. This means delivering the global goal and adaptation and doubling adaptation finance…

“In fact, finance underpins everything. It is essential, of course, for the fund and funding arrangements for loss and damage. And the COP will continue to put finance and IFI (international financial institutions) reform at the top of the international agenda.

“We need to ensure that old promises are met, and that we develop a new framework to get public and private capital and finance flowing to where it needs to go,” he added.

al Jaber said there is also a need to keep the pressure on donor countries to deliver the US$100 billion r pledge that they made over a decade ago.

“This must be finalised this year. So that we can tackle a broader systemic issue. The current international financial architecture, as we all know, is just not fit for purpose. Climate finance is nowhere near available, accessible or affordable enough,” he said.

The COP28 president said multilateral development banks (MDBs) are not supplying sufficient concessional funds that can lower risk and attract much more private capital and finance.

“This must change and we need to bring everyone to the table from across the financial community using every tool available to take a holistic approach to a global challenge.”

He said at  COP28 the Caribbean region will have a critical role in bringing countries together and contributing to a consensus driven approach.

“The Caribbean community with CARICOM as it is a unifying voice can help marshal support for ambitious, negotiated outcomes and a transformative action agenda. Working in solidarity, we can deliver a just energy transition that embraces clean technologies without sacrificing energy security, or national prosperity, and  we can accelerate climate action and development goals at the same time. “

Sustainable agriculture will also feature prominently on the agenda at COP28, where participants will seek to spur innovation in how food is grown and produced. As host, the UAE will mobilise action around a “major course correction” to accelerate emissions reductions while ensuring energy security.