Participants will receive training, resources and opportunities to advocate on behalf of their countries and communities
To give youth a voice in climate-vulnerable countries, the President of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28 UAE) has launched a new global programme, the International Youth Climate Delegates Program (International YCDP), in Dubai During the “Road to COP28” event held in Expo City.
The scheme will give 100 young people from least developed countries and small island states the chance to fully participate in COP28, a senior official announced Wednesday.
The event was attended by Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE President-elect, COP28; Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of Community Development and COP28 Youth Climate Advocate; Climate Change and the Environment Minister Mariam Almheiri; COP28 UAE High-Level UN Climate Change Advocate Razan Al Mubarak and several other UAE government ministers.
Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chair-designate of COP28, speaking at an event organized by the conference chair and led by Dubai Expo City Youth, said the program will work closely with Youngo, the UNFCCC youth sector, participating youth will receive training, resources and opportunities to advocate on behalf of their country and community.
He said that while climate change affects everyone, among the most vulnerable countries, those with the fewest resources to cope will suffer the most. He also highlighted the role of youth, telling them: “We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds it. It’s you, our young people,” adding, “You want to be part of it, you want to be part of it.” Make a difference. So I promise you: COP28 will be defined by the inclusion and diversity that defines the UAE.”
Dr. Sultan said that the UAE has always faced global challenges, responded to adversity with an optimistic attitude, and embraced the future with a positive attitude. “Our leadership has always balanced economic growth with environmental responsibility, and we have integrated climate action into our development strategy. Sustainability, respect for nature and preservation of diversity are deeply rooted in our traditions and values,” he said.
Sustainability is at the heart of climate change, Al Mheiri said. “Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising any for future generations. We have to find a delicate balance between economic growth and social well-being,” she told attendees.
Al Mazrui said the UAE’s leadership has always focused on youth. “Youth are part of every effort, from space to education to the future of government. The UAE sees climate action as no exception,” she said.
In fact, youth need to be at the center, as this is the most pressing global issue, she added. “Leadership believes that young people have innovative ideas to drive climate solutions and have the skills and will to lead change,” she said.
She highlighted that they have been listening to young people over the past two years and have identified four needs in climate action – PAVE (Participation, Action, Voice, Education).
“Young people want to have their voices heard at COP28 to shape November’s outcomes. They want to increase visits to COP28. They say they cannot be equal participants at the decision-making table if they are not equipped to understand the climate or. They don’t want superficial knowledge,” she said.
Sharma believes that climate change is not an environmental issue, but a social, educational, cultural and security issue. “It shouldn’t happen without the land and the people who host it. Today is a community-building event. The UAE is harnessing and harnessing the potential of diversity to really change the direction of climate action,” she said.
Mubarak said: “My role is to work with non-state actors – anyone who does not represent a national government – students, universities, businesses, the financial world, cities. Disciplinary diversity.”
More and more young people are aware of the seriousness of the climate challenge, she said. She said that according to the 2008 Arab Youth Survey, only 11 percent of young people considered climate change to be one of the biggest challenges facing the world, but by 2022 that number had risen to 56 percent.
“There’s also more interest in entrepreneurship in the youth survey. As a senior advocate, how can I engage and harness that energy and momentum of how businesses and entrepreneurs can help address that,” she said.
Focusing on the themes of engagement, action, voice and education, ‘Road to COP28’ is a one-day event comprising a range of activities such as workshops, youth circles, debates, intergenerational dialogue and climate leadership panels.
More than 3,000 community members attended, including the COP28 leadership team, UAE ministers, students, country service youth, youth climate advocates, seniors, people of determination, green business owners, farmers, entertainers and volunteers.
COP28 UAE will be held in Dubai Expo City from November 30th to December 12th. The conference is expected to bring together more than 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth and non-state actors.
For the first time at COP28, the UAE will conduct a global stocktake – a comprehensive assessment of progress towards climate goals – as mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement.