‘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 calls on donors to increase unrestricted funding to conservation organizations

Biodiversity loss is one of the greatest existential crises of our time. Current estimates suggest that the planet is losing more than ten thousand species to extinction per year — a thousand times faster than at any other point in history.

While stopping biodiversity loss requires long-term strategies, Razan Al Mubarak says that the work of IUCN and other conservation organisations is being hampered by the predominance of restricted funding — monies that are earmarked for specific, often short-term projects. In fact, restricted funding now accounts for 70 percent of IUCN’s revenue. 

In an op-ed published in Eco-Business, Ms. Al Mubarak argues that addressing the biodiversity crisis requires long-term research, field projects, advocacy, and education, as well as institutional overhead like rent and salaries, that can best be maintained through unrestricted monetary donations.

She writes:

As the world recovers from the pandemic, we must seize the opportunity to reimagine and rethink how we fund conservation for the long term. Stopping biodiversity loss takes decades of sustained effort, and right now we can ill afford to increasingly rely upon short-term, project-specific grants.

Governments, foundations, and philanthropists must take the lead in prioritising effective, consistent support in the form of unrestricted funding for the conservation organizations fighting on the front lines of the extinction crisis.

Read Razan’s full op-ed in Eco-Business here.