Razan Al Mubarak in Newsweek: ‘Nature can provide a third of our climate mitigation solutions’

In a recent interview for Newsweek, Razan Al Mubarak discussed the centrality of nature-based solutions in tackling the climate crisis, and her ambitions ahead of COP28 - now less than a month away.

As President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Ms. Al Mubarak focused on the importance of nature as one way to address the current climate crisis:

“The climate change discourse is always underpinned by the needs for new technologies, but we tend to forget that nature is this great technology that exists today. It exists at scale; we know that it works. So in terms of numbers, the promise of nature is that it can provide a third of our mitigation solutions that we need by 2030.”

Forests, oceans, mangroves, and corals play a critical role in climate mitigation, as nature already absorbs and processes half of anthropogenic carbon emissions. Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, strives to expand on this approach at the conference and urge climate action:

“I'd like to see concrete actions led by countries to protect the world's vital carbon sinks. Those could be forests, they could be in oceans. And I'd like to see a different sort of partnership. These challenges that we are talking about, they're huge and they're complex and cannot be addressed by one stakeholder alone. There needs to be a multi-stakeholder framework and partnership.”

COP28 will take place from November 30 to December 12 in the United Arab Emirates, and although the decision to host the event in the UAE has sparked some debate, Ms. Al Mubarak is confident in a positive outcome as her home country keeps an eye on the future:

“I think 19 out of the 27 COPs were hosted in countries that produce fossil fuels, so this is not unique. But I think what is unique, at least from my regional perspective and my personal perspective, is that the UAE has been and continues to be a leader in climate action. Today, we've diversified away from the fossil fuel industry to 70 percent away from oil and gas, and so we want to continue on this transition.”

Read the full interview in Newsweek.

‘We are embracing the power of nature to combat climate change’: COP28's Razan Al Mubarak

In a recent interview for Eco-Business, Razan Al Mubarak discussed the work of COP28 to guarantee diverse and inclusive climate negotiations, the power of nature-based solutions to combat climate change, and other priorities ahead of COP28 in the UAE later this year.

As UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, one of Ms. Al Mubarak’s priorities is to rally state and non-state actors behind climate adaptation and resilience work — and to ensure this is done in a just and inclusive way. When asked about her vision of a successful COP28, Ms. Al Mubarak said:

“Climate change affects every person on this planet, and it is crucial that we design climate action strategies that involve and empower everyone – the Global North and the Global South, women, youth, Indigenous communities and more. This is the only way forward in order to make a just transition.”

Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also President of IUCN, spoke on the imperative of pursuing climate solutions that simultaneously tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, calling these challenges “two sides of the same coin.” She added:

“We must accelerate the adoption of nature-based solutions. Large-scale conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of our ecosystems can effectively complement other climate initiatives, helping us to meet the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement by 2030.”

COP28 will host the first Global Stocktake where countries will collectively assess their progress toward achieving the Paris Agreement’s key goals. Ms. Al Mubarak acknowledged that "we are off track" and urged action:

“We need to be honest with ourselves and the Global Stocktake is telling us we are off track. Climate change is a whole-of-society problem, and it requires a whole-of-society solution. With the COP28 platform, we are embracing the power of nature to combat climate change and create a more sustainable future.”

Read the full interview in Eco-Business here.

Razan Al Mubarak Announced The Ocean Breakthroughs at the IUCN Leaders Forum

At the recent IUCN Leaders Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, IUCN President Razan Al Mubarak announced an ambitious global marine conservation and climate action initiative – The Ocean Breakthroughs.

Developed by the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action and with the support of the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, The Ocean Breakthroughs presents specific targets spanning over five key ocean sectors – marine conservation, ocean renewable energy, shipping, aquatic food, and coastal tourism – with the goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35 percent by 2050.

These targets are:

  • Investing at least $72 billion to protect, restore and conserve at least 30 percent of the ocean;
  • Reaching at least 380 GW of installed offshore wind capacity and ensuring the availability of concessional finance to support renewable energy projects in developing countries;
  • Upskilling 450,000 seafarers, creating climate-adapted ports and achieving 5 percent of zero emission fuels in shipping;
  • Providing at least $4 billion per year in support of resilient aquatic food systems to ensure sustainable and secure food supplies for three billion people;
  • Striving for sustainable coastal tourism.

Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, highlighted how the initiative arrives at a time when humanity is facing a dual challenge: the crisis of biodiversity loss and the ever-escalating threat of climate change:

“With over a quarter of the world’s species threatened with extinction, the situation is dire. Our very survival, from our daily bread and water to protection from extreme weather events, hinges upon a healthy ecosystem. The planet’s capacity to sustain us, to ensure our wellbeing, is critically dependent on halting this ongoing loss of life.”

Although the challenge is significant, Ms. Al Mubarak reflected on the possibility it presents for teamwork and innovation:

“It’s a challenge we are ready for. It also presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate leadership, foster collaboration and design innovative strategies for change on a global scale.”

Learn more about the Ocean Breakthroughs announcement in the official press release.

Razan Al Mubarak Marks Her Second Anniversary as IUCN President

Razan Al Mubarak shared a message to mark her second anniversary as President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In her speech, she highlighted the importance of inclusion to solve the current climate crisis.

“One of the cornerstones of our work for the last two years has been a focus on inclusion. And by inclusion, I don't mean an aspirational touting of petty talking points. I mean real inclusion specifically of women, Indigenous people and youth at the decision-making nexus on the critical issues of both biodiversity loss and climate change.”

Ms. Al Mubarak, who was named the UN Climate Change High Level Champion for COP28, also spoke on the importance of nature-based solutions to tackle the current climate crisis:

“To that end, another key principle that I have focused on as we lead up to COP 28 is that very intersection and inevitably the importance of nature based solutions. We at IUCN have spent many years championing the importance of nature based solutions, and I am happy to report that we are making great progress in promoting this very concept on the global stage for the first time at COP28, countries will follow the Paris Agreements mandate to take stock of our collective progress towards achieving the agreement's key goals.

Unfortunately, it is now clear that we are not meeting critical targets. Getting back on track and addressing these gaps will require changes not just in energy and transportation, but also in how we farm, how we build, how we manufacture, and how we invest in conserving and restoring nature. Most nature based solutions are faster and more cost effective than any engineered solutions out there, many of which are still decades away from removing carbon on a scale that's even close to what nature can do.”

Watch Ms. Al Mubarak’s full speech on YouTube.

Razan Al Mubarak announces funding for women’s inclusion at COP28

At MENA Climate Week in Riyadh, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 Razan Al Mubarak announced support to advance women’s representation and gender parity at the upcoming climate summit in the United Arab Emirates.

During a “Gender and Climate Change in the Middle East” event at MENA Climate Week, Ms. Al Mubarak touched on the importance of listening to diverse voices and introduced new measures by the COP28 Presidency to ensure an inclusive climate conference:

“Historically, the perspectives and leadership of women have been underrepresented in many spheres of public life and climate diplomacy is no exception. The COP28 Presidency is mobilizing for an inclusive COP. These steps to support women’s leadership and participation get us closer to our goal and, I believe, will also have a positive impact on future rounds of the climate talks and on climate activism in general.”

The COP28 Presidency’s new measures will provide financial support to a Night School for Women Delegates, run by Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), as well as financial support for the Global Conference on Gender and Environment Data, run collaboratively by COP28, UN Women, WEDO, UNFCCC, IUCN and UN Climate Change High Level Champions. The event will also host the Arab Women Leaders’ Summit with WiSER on December 4 to explore the critical relationship between gender equality and climate action.

Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), reaffirmed the importance of including women at all levels of climate action:

“The gendered aspects of climate change are not widely known, yet they deserve our attention – climate change is by no means gender neutral. Few people know that women and girls, comprising 70 percent of the world’s poor, are disproportionately affected by climate change. For example, they are 14 times more likely to die in climate-related natural disasters. They are also less able to access relief and assistance once disaster has struck.

“Getting more women involved and giving them the tools to showcase their perspectives and participate in finding the solutions will ultimately yield stronger outcomes that benefit everyone.”

The latest announcement builds on Ms. Al Mubarak’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, which includes another recent announcement of plans to ensure indigenous voices are heard at COP28.