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At Bonn UNCCC, COP28 President calls for 'just' and 'balanced' energy transition, voice for Global South

COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber of the UAE with representatives of indigenous communities at the UNCCC underway in Bonn, Germany. Image: PRNewswire

COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber has called for a "just" and "balanced" energy transition "that leaves no one behind", and emphasized the need to listen to all voices in the climate change discussion, especially those of the Global South.

Speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference (UNCCC), currently underway in Bonn, Germany, Dr Al Jaber said "we will reach out to engage every community, seek to include the active participation of the under-represented, including young people and indigenous peoples. And we will give the space and enabling environment to discuss, debate and align on every mandate across every climate pillar," adding that it was critical that "we focus on the needs of the most vulnerable communities and make transformational progress across mitigation, adaptation, finance and loss and damage."

The UNCCC, held in the run-up to COP28 later this year, is hosting discussions on more than 50 focus areas.

During his meeting with the delegates from the G77 + China Group, Dr Al Jaber pointed out that G77 members had a special contribution to make by helping shape ambitious negotiated outcomes. He emphasized that climate finance would be critical in achieving this goal, and reiterated his commitment to reforming global financial institutions, unlocking more concessional finance, and attracting more private capital.

Speaking independently, World Bank President Ajay Banga too has called for private investment in helping emerging economies transition to cleaner energy sources. 

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the UNCCC inDr Al Jaber also engaged with the Arab Group and various delegates from SIDS. He highlighted the need for adaptation, calling it a critical focus for the region. He focused on the need to secure resources – especially food and health – for impacted SIDS countries to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. "Everyone is affected and the most vulnerable communities who have done the least to cause climate change, are the most affected," the president pointed out, adding, "Temperatures [are] rising across Middle East and North Africa region almost twice as quickly as rest of [the] world.

To delegates from member states of the African Group of Negotiators, Dr Al Jaber pointed out that Africa is rich in clean energy resources such as wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal, which gives the continent huge potential for low-carbon growth and sustainable development.

An independent study by the European Investment Bank, International Solar Alliance and African Union – unveiled at COP27 – has spotlighted the continent's potential for a $1 trillion green hydrogen play by 2035.

Dr Al Jaber also listened to the priorities of the Indigenous Peoples, the role they can play in the COP process, and assured them that that their voices and those from marginalized communities are being heard. He noted that Indigenous Peoples represent just 5 percent of the global population but protect 80 percent of the world's biodiversity.

COP28 will be held at Expo City Dubai from November 30-December 12 this year. The conference is expected to bring together over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, industry leaders, academics, and non-government organizations.

As mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, COP28 will also undertake the first ever Global Stocktake, for a comprehensive evaluation of progress against global climate goals. 

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Author : Mandar Bakre
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