On January 18-20, 2023, IUCN President Razan Al Mubarak hosted nearly 100 IUCN Council members, staff, and expert volunteer conservationists from around the world for the 108th IUCN Council Meeting in Abu Dhabi.
The meeting took place just one month after the historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, where nations pledged to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and to protect at least 30% of terrestrial and marine areas (30x30). A key focus of discussions was the incorporation of nature and biodiversity conservation into the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) process. COP28 will take place at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023.
Ms. Al Mubarak said: “It was an honor to welcome conservation leaders from around the world to Abu Dhabi. With the UAE as host to COP28 later this year, this was the perfect opportunity to explore the convergence of agendas between biodiversity and climate change.”
During the meeting, IUCN members also had an opportunity to learn more about the UAE’s leadership in nature conservation, particularly that of UAE-based IUCN members, including the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Al Ain Zoo, International Fund for Conservation of Houbara, as well as the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Emirates Nature – WWF, and the Emirates Environmental Group.
This marks the fourth time that Abu Dhabi has hosted IUCN functions. Beginning in 2008, and again in 2012, 2015, and 2019, Abu Dhabi sponsored the leadership and planning meetings of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission – an entity responsible for the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Over 200 delegates from around the world convened in Abu Dhabi during each of those four events.
Today, the United Arab Emirates announced that Razan Al Mubarak, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will join the leadership team for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), to be held in Dubai in November, 2023, as the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion.
The UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, a position which originated with the Paris Agreement and has become a hallmark of each successive COP meeting, is mandated to mobilize more ambitious climate action and strengthen the engagement of non-state actors in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.
As the first country in the region to ratify the Paris Agreement, the first to commit to an economy-wide reduction in emissions, and the first to announce a Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, the UAE is committed to raising ambition in this critical decade for climate action. The UAE has appointed a strong and diverse leadership team to support practical, inclusive, and transformational progress towards a successful COP28. Mrs. Al Mubarak is joining H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, who will serve as COP President, and Her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui, UAE Minister of Youth Affairs, who will serve as Youth Climate Champion.
“I am honored that the UAE has entrusted me with the responsibility to support the COP28 UAE Presidency as UN Climate Change High-Level Champion. The environment has always been central to the UAE’s culture and identity, and it recognizes that a healthy environment, including its climate and biodiversity, is central to everyone’s well being. In my roles as both UN Climate Change High-Level Champion and IUCN President, I can help ensure that we go beyond business as usual, and prioritize nature-based solutions in the upcoming COP negotiations.”
IUCN President Razan Al Mubarak has more than 20 years of experience in conservation and environmental management across the public and private sectors. Her background uniquely positions her to integrate NGOs, Indigenous peoples, and other non-state actors with government efforts and to spur more inclusive climate action.