Razan Al Mubarak announces plans to ensure indigenous voices are heard at COP28

Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, announced plans to ensure indigenous communities have their voices heard at the crucial climate talks, underlining the importance of inclusion for the Conference which will take place later this year in the United Arab Emirates.

Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), stood alongside Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, co-chair of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, to talk about the importance of greater inclusion, where she said:

“One recurring theme in the discussions has been the need for greater inclusion of indigenous people in the negotiations process. This is far more than a moral imperative. We simply won’t be able to solve the climate crisis without authentically incorporating the leadership of Indigenous Peoples and other traditionally underrepresented groups such as women and youth.”

Key measures for COP28 will include financial support to allow elders to attend the global summit and subsidized accommodation for 150 delegates and translation services, as well as a funded report centered on direct access to finance for Indigenous People undertaking climate action.

Ms. Oumarou Ibrahim, who is also coordinator of the Association of Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, added:

“These initiatives represent progress towards the inclusion and recognition of the rights and knowledge of indigenous communities, especially for COP28. Indigenous peoples can bring concrete solutions for climate adaptation and mitigation, and their voice needs to be heard. I hope that COP28 will lead to concrete results for climate action and support to those who are on the front line of climate change.”

Indigenous people are the first to bear the brunt of climate change and their long-recognized practices play a crucial role in addressing the climate and biodiversity challenges. However, their valuable perspectives remain underrepresented in multilateral climate processes, and they receive a very small share of the international funding for climate action.

Read more about the announcement on The National.

Razan Al Mubarak Advocates for Nature-based Solutions and Including All Voices at Climate Week NYC

During Climate Week NYC, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 Razan Al Mubarak advocated for Nature-based Solutions and other urgent actions that tackle climate change and nature loss simultaneously, and she reaffirmed the need to include indigenous peoples and women in climate talks.

Despite many countries setting goals to limit greenhouse emissions, the world is set on a course that will surpass the 1.5ºC target by the beginning of the 2030s, as the most recent IPCC report warns. In a panel surrounded by leaders like Marina Silva, Brazil’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Jim Skea, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Ms. Al Mubarak addressed this issue in anticipation of COP28 UAE next December, saying:

“COP28 will host the first Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement and although we are far off target we know of the solutions that will rapidly help close the gaps. Meeting the 1.5℃ target means phasing out of fossil fuels; focusing on nature-based solutions; scaling up climate financing; and ensuring that all of it is done inclusively. As we look ahead to COP28 in UAE, we need to leverage this global event to disrupt business as usual.”

Razan Al Mubarak delivers opening remarks for the World Biodiversity Summit during Climate Week NYC.

Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), advocated for nature-based solutions such as ending deforestation and ecosystem conversion, and transforming food systems. She emphasized that “companies need solutions to address climate change and nature loss simultaneously,” adding:

“Biodiversity loss is already costing the global economy 10% of its output each year. Greater investments in nature-based solutions need to double by 2025, triple by 2030 & increase four-fold by 2050. 395 million new jobs can be created by 2030 through sustainable ecosystem management — resulting in $10 trillion of new business.”

Furthermore, she gave a public lecture on IUCN’s work to protect nature and the climate, co-chaired a meeting of the Champions for Nature to remind IUCN delegates of their obligations under the Global Biodiversity Framework; joined a panel called “If we delay, we all lose” moderated by BBC News Anchor and Correspondent Carl Nasman; and attended the launch of a paper led by the High-Level Climate Champions team citing successful examples of private capital supporting climate and nature initiatives.

Nature-based solutions may be key to meeting Paris climate goals

Razan Al Mubarak has written an op-ed for ImpactAlpha, reflecting on a term that is becoming increasingly prominent in the discourse on climate change: “nature-based solutions.” These are actions meant to protect, sustainably use, manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems. 

As UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, Ms. Al Mubarak said these solutions target major challenges like climate change, disaster risk reduction, food and water security, biodiversity loss and human health – all critical to sustainable economic development:

“Today, nature stands as the most effective carbon sink, capturing over 50% of emissions from human activities. It is estimated that nature-based solutions such as the restoration of soil, forests, and wetlands, can contribute 37% of climate mitigation efforts required by the Paris Agreement by 2030. Simply put, if we protect nature, it will protect us.”

Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said that nature-based solutions are already helping communities adapt and build resilience. As an example of a successful nature-based solution, she highlighted Abu Dhabi’s Mangrove National Park, the largest in the Arabian Gulf region, which acts as a crucial carbon sink that enables the UAE to establish a natural mechanism for sequestration that contributes to global climate efforts.

In the op-ed, Ms. Al Mubarak also clarified what nature-based solutions are not:

“They are not an alternative to direct efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nor are they a remedy for all environmental problems. Instead, they must complement, rather than replace, other strategies for fighting combat climate change – for instance, relying solely on reforestation to offset emissions from coal-fired power plants would be inadequate and misleading.”

For the first time at COP28 UAE next December, countries will assess collective progress toward achieving the Paris Agreement’s key goals in what is known as the Global Stocktake. Unfortunately, it’s now clear we are lagging in meeting critical targets. Addressing these gaps will require changes not just in energy and transportation, but also in how we farm, build, manufacture, invest, and, yes, how we conserve and restore nature.

Africa's Role in Successful Climate Action Must Not Be Overlooked

At Africa Climate Week, Mrs. Razan Al Mubarak took part in climate talks about the preservation of Africa’s diverse ecosystems — ranging from marine and coastal areas to vast terrestrial landscapes — as the world transitions to renewable energy solutions. Mrs. Al Mubarak said:

“Africa's incredible biodiversity is not just a testament to the continent's natural wealth, but also to the stewardship of its communities. By partnering globally, we can amplify local efforts to protect these vital ecosystems for the benefit of all.”

Taking place from September 4-8 in Nairobi, Kenya, Africa Climate Week is organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, under the patronage of the government of Kenya and its President William Ruto. It is one of four regional weeks held to build momentum ahead of COP28 in the UAE in November.

As both the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 and President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Mrs. Al Mubarak is championing nature-based solutions (NbS) at Africa Climate Week - steps like reversing deforestation, restoring ecosystems, and improving farm management. These initiatives not only have the potential to preserve important habitats but also to support livelihoods and increase communities' resilience to the negative impacts of climate change.

African countries are among the worst-affected by climate change. This is the case even though the African continent has contributed no more than three percent of historical greenhouse emissions. However, the continent is well-endowed with rare earth minerals which are crucial for electric vehicles and other green technologies. As the world seeks to move away from fossil-based energy generation, the importance of such minerals and the pressure of extractive industries will only increase. 

Mrs. Al Mubarak cautioned that the expansion of green technologies must move forward with robust environmental safeguards to prevent the kind of harm previously inflicted on nature by the fossil fuels industry.

Please see our press release here for more of Mrs. Al Mubarak’s engagements at Africa Climate Week.