Razan Al Mubarak: Reflections on Emirati Women’s Day: The Integral Role of Women in the Upcoming COP28

Razan Al Mubarak for Emirati Women's Day

Today, on the occasion of Emirati Women’s Day, Razan al Mubarak published an op-ed in The National addressing the significance of women’s contributions to Emirati society. Women are not merely central to the fields of conservation and climate change; they are integral pillars across all sectors of society, whether as scientists, creatives, leaders, or mothers.

Mrs. Al Mubarak wrote:

“Today, more than half of the UAE's university degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are awarded to women. Four of our primary environmental agencies and organizations are led by women. Women make up half of the Federal National Council, our country's advisory legislature, and one-third of the Cabinet. Additionally, according to the World Economic Forum, the UAE ranks in the top three globally for wage equity.”

Writing about her priorities ahead of COP28, Mrs. Al Mubarak will focus on a two-pronged approach: highlighting the critical relationship between our natural environment and climate change; and making all efforts more inclusive, with an emphasis on empowering women and girls as leaders in climate action. 

“I am grateful to the IUCN members for entrusting me with this significant responsibility as the first Arab woman president in its history. I am equally thankful for the opportunities provided to me at home, which have enabled me to find my footing and make my voice heard. At the upcoming COP28 in the UAE, I am proud that many women will represent our country, including negotiators and organizers. I am also humbled that two women will represent the Presidency: myself, as the UN Climate Change High Level Champion for COP28, and Her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui, as our Youth Climate Champion.”

Calling for more women’s voices to be nurtured and heard at all levels of decision making, Mrs. Al Mubarak vowed to ensure that women and girls are given the space to drive action at the summit, platforming the myriad ways that gender intersects with climate change across finance, fragility, and the just energy transition.

Read the full op-ed by Razan Al Mubarak in The National.

Razan Al Mubarak meets with heads of state and Indigenous communities in Brazil climate talks

At the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) Summit in Belem, Brazil, Razan Al Mubarak was part of the COP28 Presidency delegation that engaged heads of state, ministers, governors, and leaders of Indigenous communities in climate talks leading up to COP28. 

The ACTO Summit was expected to yield an ambitious policy on protecting the world’s largest rainforest. Ms. Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, met with leaders from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname. She reaffirmed the vital role of Indigenous peoples in climate talks to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – almost half of the remaining intact forests in the Amazon basin are in indigenous territories – and invited them to bring their agendas to COP28. 

She stated:

“Indigenous communities have traditionally been overlooked in climate action campaigns. Today, on the International Day of The World’s Indigenous Peoples, we must also recognize their historical leadership on nature preservation and climate.”

Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), highlighted the Amazon as a vital biodiversity hotspot and carbon sink which stores huge amounts of greenhouse gasses. Yet it has been under increasing pressure – from agriculture, Illegal mining, and oil drilling.

Protecting the rainforest and traditional ways of life against growing economic pressures has been a difficult and often dangerous task. According to a report by Global Witness, Brazil has recorded 342 deaths of environmental activists in a decade — the highest number globally.  Alessandra Korap, a Brazilian environment activist and Indigenous leader that Ms. Al Mubarak met on Tuesday, has previously received death threats because of her work to stop illegal mining and deforestation. 

Ms. Al Mubarak, whose own proposals include encouraging financial institutions and businesses to shift away from nature-depleting activities and providing indigenous communities with access to formal financial systems, said she was “grateful for the opportunity to hear directly from local leaders on how to best protect the Amazon and how to foster inclusion and bring their perspectives to COP28.”