Home LearningKnow It AllOur World COP28: TIME TO LISTEN TO THE CHILDREN


by Belinda Breeze

COP28, like previous United Nations Climate Change Conferences, could significantly impact children, not least by directly affecting youngsters’ futures by striving to create a healthier and safer planet for them to inherit.

The US climate envoy, John Kerry, was spot on when he said that never have, we had to make decisions where the result is one of life and death. And as Cop28 ended after two exhausting weeks, inside the halls of a lavish conference centre in Dubai Expo City, powerful governments negotiated texts, all with profound implications for billions of lives globally. No one was under any illusion about the scale of the task facing the delegates at COP28, but on the opening day of the conference, the loss and damage fund was finally put into operation. This was a good start, with the feeling of determination running throughout the entire 14 days. Indeed, as COP28 concluded, a historic agreement by 198 parties to deliver a new era of climate action was agreed upon, with a landmark text entitled The UAE Consensus, which sets out an ambitious climate agenda to keep 1.5°C within reach. The UAE Consensus calls on the world to transition away from fossil fuels to reach net zero, encourages them to submit economy-wide Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), includes a new specific target to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030, and builds momentum towards a new architecture for climate finance. The UAE Consensus, which follows a year of inclusive diplomatic engagements and two weeks of intense negotiations, reflects the COP28 Presidency’s goal to provide the most ambitious response possible to the Global Stocktake and deliver on the central aims of the Paris Agreement. “The world needed to find a new way. By following our North Star, we have found that path,” said COP28 President, Dr Sultan Al Jaber during his closing speech. “We have worked very hard to secure a better future for our people and our planet. We should be proud of our historic achievement. “I promised a different sort of COP. A COP that brought everyone together – private and public…civil society and faith leaders, youth, and indigenous peoples. Everyone came together from day one. Everyone united, acted, and delivered.”