Razan Al Mubarak Champions Nature and Inclusion at COP28 UAE

H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, advocated for nature and the inclusion of women and indigenous communities at the UN Climate Change Conference that took place in Dubai, UAE from 30 November to 13 December 2023.

During the COP28 World Climate Action Summit Presidency event, Ms. Al Mubarak announced initial total commitments of more than $1 billion to support nature-climate projects, including the UAE's strategic $100 million investment with a focus on the world’s largest forest basins across South America, Africa and Southeast Asia.

“Today we witnessed a pivotal shift towards integrating nature into our climate strategies. This summit marked a turning point, where we collectively recognized the indispensable contribution of nature not only to our climate system but also to its profound, intangible value to our communities and cultures.

Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also President of IUCN, spoke on nature's invaluable role in our climate strategy during Nature Day at COP28:

“Nature is not just an ally; it's a powerful force capable of providing more than 30% of our mitigation needs by 2030. Nature Day calls on all of us – leaders, policymakers, communities, and individuals alike – to acknowledge and amplify nature's role in our climate strategy. It's a day to recommit to protecting and nurturing the environment that sustains every aspect of our lives.”

In addition, Ms. al Mubarak announced the launch of the COP28 Gender-Responsive Just Transition and Climate Action Partnership. In a speech, she stated that “climate change is not gender neutral,” recognizing that women and girls make up the majority of the world’s poor and that, despite this, and maybe because of it, they are at the forefront of climate action.

Ms. Al Mubarak also participated in the first ever Indigenous Peoples Day to be observed at a climate conference, recognizing the importance of acknowledging and honoring their remarkable contributions to safeguarding our planet:

“Indigenous peoples’ stewardship of lands rich in biodiversity, acting as critical carbon sinks, is indispensable in the fight against climate change, and indigenous leadership in managing vital lands has demonstrated unparalleled effectiveness in maintaining biodiversity and curbing deforestation.”

Ms. Al Mubarak ended the 10-day conference with a call to recognize and integrate the value of nature into the negotiated texts and climate actions, saying that “the significance of this day extends beyond the conference halls; it resonates with each of us on a personal and global level.”

Razan Al Mubarak highlights the need for gender equality at the Global Conference on Gender and Environmental Data

During the Global Conference on Gender and Environmental Data held on November 28 in Abu Dhabi, Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, highlighted the need for gender equality and wider support for female leadership in climate action.

The two day-conference, which preceded COP28 in the UAE, was organized by the Offices of the President of COP 28 and the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, alongside the UNFCCC, UN Women, IUCN, and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO).

In a compelling call for action, Ms. Al Mubarak emphasized the critical need for gender equality and more support for female leadership in climate action as she inaugurated the conference, and spoke on the importance of inclusion and hearing all voices:

“As we get ready to kick-off COP28, I am emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between climate and nature, the importance of inclusivity, and especially, the empowerment of women and girls in climate action. It is encouraging that 79% of Parties have now included references to gender in their Nationally Determined Contributions, or national climate action plans. But we know that there is a significant data gap on gender and the environment. We must change that, to ensure effective planning and policymaking. As we transition towards a climate-friendly, sustainable and just future we need to be guided not by assumptions but evidence.”

Ms. Al Mubarak, who is also President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), recognized that there is a scarcity of gender-disaggregated data, which is necessary to gauge how policies are affecting women and girls:

“Data is only available for two out of ten gender-environment related SDG indicators. Gender data is also scarce for other environment topics such as climate change, disasters and conservation. Without data, we can never have truly gender-responsive finance and therefore, we can never truly have a gender-just transition.”

Learn more about Mrs. Al Mubarak’s role at the Global Conference on Gender and Environmental Data here.

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 Calls for Collective Climate Action at Road to COP28 Event

Razan Al Mubarak at the Road to COP28 event hosted by Dubai Chambers.

Razan Al Mubarak, UN High-Level Climate Champion for COP28, highlighted the importance of collective climate action among non-state actors including businesses, cities, financial institutions, civil society, and academia.

The event, titled “Road to COP28: Driving Collective Action in the UAE,” was hosted by the High-Level Champions and the Dubai Chamber, with support from the COP28 Presidency. It brought together various stakeholders to mobilize efforts towards inclusive climate progress, focusing on climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience, as well as finance.

Read Ms. Al Mubarak’s statement below:

Yesterday, I had the incredible opportunity to engage with the vibrant business community in the UAE in fostering climate action. Hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the event was a chance to capitalize on my charge as High-Level Climate Champions: to engage companies, cities, regions, financial institutions, educational bodies, and healthcare organizations on a transformative journey towards halving emissions and building a nature-positive world by 2030. 

As we embark on the road to COP28 UAE, I am keen to engage the non-state actor community in the UAE as they lead the charge towards achieving net-zero emissions and building climate resilience. 

The private sector in the UAE – including CEOs of companies operating in the built environment, finance, and circular economy sectors, with whom I had an opportunity to meet – is not just capable, but fully prepared to take ambitious climate action.

But to realize our goals, we must create suitable regulatory environments and frameworks that support this transformative journey. We need to foster cross-collaboration among different sectors, leverage technology as an enabler, and secure increased financial resources. The UAE’s aim is to collectively drive both global and regional climate action that has a positive impact on nature - and to ensure that all are represented at the table. 

Together, we can make a difference. By working hand in hand, embracing innovation, and prioritizing sustainability, we have the power to drive meaningful change, not only in the UAE but also globally. 

My thanks to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and the COP28 team for this incredible opportunity for a glimpse into an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future for all!

— Razan Al Mubarak

Razan Al Mubarak Named UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 UAE

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.