Written by Staff Writer, CNN Abu Dhabi
Leaders of the United Arab Emirates have agreed to host the UN’s annual climate conference in 2023, in an effort to forge a regional consensus on tackling climate change.
Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said at a news conference in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday that the decision by ministers from the UAE and its Gulf allies – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar – will come up for final approval from summit leaders at a GCC summit in May.
“We have agreed as a region to bring together COP28. We will organize this event from March 2019 to March 2020. In the meantime the preparations must begin immediately to prepare for hosting this event,” Gargash said.
The timing was important, he added, because 2023 is the three-year anniversary of the formation of the GCC, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading economic bloc, and “that can generate tremendous goodwill to realize the environmental goals.”
Yasser al-Qudaishi, the UAE’s special envoy for climate change, told CNN in March that 2022 was proposed because the Gulf region was finalizing infrastructure projects and more would be built before then.
The special envoy said Gulf countries were working to develop a unified climate plan for the region. “There is agreement to co-operate, a common effort and a common vision … to form a GCC climate strategy,” he said.
With 15 GCC countries in the world’s top 10 emitters of CO2, agreement on a GCC climate strategy is an important step toward drafting a coordinated region-wide policy.
The landmark decision means the GCC could host COP28 for the third time after Doha in 2013 and Qatar in 2015. COP28 is the 28th session of the UN climate change conference, formally known as the Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP).
The last two consecutive years, respectively, were dominated by efforts to reach a deal in Paris that cut down on greenhouse gas emissions around the world.
This year, from November 5-21, diplomats and leaders worldwide have begun to finalize the details of the agreement, including how fast all countries should take steps to reduce their emissions and how much funding is needed to help the developing world adapt to a changing climate.
So far, most of the world’s economies have failed to sign up to the Paris agreement. But in the 2018 Global Climate Action Agenda , a report issued by the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation, around 195 governments said they would be taking actions to cut emissions and their effect on the climate.