What does COP 28 hold in store for the world?

By Avit Ndayiziga

Although the entire world is affected by severe heatwaves, extreme weather events, catastrophic deluge, and debilitating droughts, it is the Global South especially Africa that suffers the most from these disastrous consequences.

Unfortunately, Africa suffers the most despite contributing just 4 percent of global carbon emissions. Augustin Ngenzirabona the General Director at the Institut Géographique du Burundi (IGEBU) says that Burundi contributed almost nothing despiting bearing the brunt.

Augustin Ngenzirabona the General Director at the Institut Géographique du Burundi (IGEBU)

“If Africa contributes just 4 percent of global carbon emissions, Burundi itself contributes a mere 0.0004 percent. Despite this, Burundi suffers greatly from the adverse effects of carbon emissions, which can cause harm anywhere they choose. In short, Burundi is reaping what it did not sow. Ngenzirabona emphasized.

According to the Global Carbon Budget, 2022 Burundi emits 692,908 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), or 0.06 per capita. Predominantly greenhouse gas, emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and gas, as well as from deforestation and cement production.

To chart a better course for the future of the world, from 30 November to 12 December 2023,  in Dubai, United Arab Emirates the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties (COP28 ) will take place.

This supreme decision-making body of the Convention (COP) will bring together diverse stakeholders, including governments, youth, businesses, civil society, Indigenous Peoples, and more, to agree on specific solutions aimed at achieving climate goals. 

“Climate-specific solutions are now more important than ever, as the sword of Climate Change hangs over our heads as we head toward climate hell.” U.N. Secretary-General Guterres stated at the Cop 27 opening ceremony in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Inside COP 28

H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, President-Designate for COP28

The Presidency of COP28 led by H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, President-Designate for COP28  has outlined four key goals this year, alongside the negotiations process.

1. First-ever Global stocktake.

Even though it is not the only key deliverable of the conference, COP 28 will go through a first-ever global Stocktake.

“It’s like taking inventory. It means looking at everything related to where the world stands on climate action and support, identifying the gaps, and working together to chart a better course forward to accelerate climate action.”Said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell.

According to Stiell, a global stocktake is not just a routine check-up. It is instead, a “moment for course correction,” an opportunity to ramp up ambition to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. The stocktake itself isn’t the game-changer – it’s the global response to it that will make all the difference. He concluded.

Therefore, the first-ever Global Stocktake (GST) response will be presented during the World Climate Action Summit, which will be on 1-2 December 2023 and the Presidency will seek commitments and accountability from the highest levels of global governance on a way forward.

The stocktake will also lay the foundation for countries to update and enhance their national climate action plans (known as Nationally Determined Contributions), which they are required to do in 2025.

2. Fixing climate finance.

COP27 has shown that neither global financial systems nor international trade networks are working effectively and equitably. Thus, reform is necessary to create fairer and more equal conditions for the world – and especially for the most climate-vulnerable countries from the Global South to meet collective climate targets. 

Therefore, COP28 will focus on moving this work forward while championing the importance of gender equality across the full spectrum of climate action.

Back in 2009, richer nations promised developing countries they would give them $100bn (£88bn) a year by 2020 to help with climate change, that goal was missed and there has been no action.

Besides, COP27 has set some milestones for COP28 such as establishing a “loss and damage” fund. 

This is a pot of money from rich countries to help poorer nations recover from the impacts of climate change, such as destroyed homes, flooded land, or lost income from dried-out crops. 

However, COP27 did not decide how much countries will get from the fund – and by when this is among other issues that COP28 will tackle.

According to Augustin Ngenzirabona, Burundi needs this money, because it has to deal with internally displaced people who have unwillingly encountered severe floods that have hit hard some parts of Burundi.

“Due to the impacts of climate change, Burundi has experienced significant losses, resulting in the establishment of over four internally displaced people camps. The individuals residing in these camps are in urgent need of housing and other essential necessities. Ngenzirabona stressed.

As reported by the  IOM Burundi Displacement Tracking Matrix, as of July 2023, there are 73,931 internally displaced individuals in Burundi as a result of heavy rainfall or flooding.

3. putting nature, lives, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action.

From Glasgow to Egypt, both conferences of the Parties have shown that our world’s climate and its biodiversity are inextricably interconnected, one cannot exist without the other. Mitigating both crises must therefore be integrated.

Therefore,  COP will focus on delivering climate and nature co-benefits. This includes co-designing approaches to land use and ocean conservation with local and Indigenous Peoples to protect and manage biodiversity hotspots and natural carbon sinks.

4. COP28 will be inclusive.

The summit is expected to have a total attendance of 70,000 people. Delegates from environmental NGOs will outnumber heads of state, think tanks, faith groups, private sector representatives, and other organizations, including international youth climate delegates with a priority for delegates from countries on the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Indigenous Peoples, and other minority groups around the world.

How to attend?

COP28 will be held at Expo City Dubai and requires badges for entry. The venue consists of two zones: blue and green.

The Blue Zone is a site managed by UNFCCC. It is open to UNFCCC-accredited Parties and observer delegates. It hosts formal negotiations, the World Climate Action Summit, country pavilions, presidency events, and side events. Only UNFCCC-accredited participants, including Parties, world leaders, media, and observers, can access the Blue Zone.

The Green Zone is open to a wide range of attendees, including Blue Zone delegates, public and private sectors, NGOs, and the general public. It is a place for everyone to come together and build actionable solutions to address the climate crisis through constructive dialogue.


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