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Monday February 26, 2024

Former UN chief calls for climate action over 'visions' at COP28

Ban also signs MoU with Dubai Cares to launch an environmental training programme targeting youth

By AFP
January 29, 2023
Egyptian farmers in Qaliubia, north of Cairo, on October 23, 2006. — AFP
Egyptian farmers in Qaliubia, north of Cairo, on October 23, 2006. — AFP

DUBAI: Climate talks in the United Arab Emirates this year should focus on action rather than visions, former United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said during a visit to the oil-rich Gulf country.

"Many countries and many people have already presented the visions, so we may not need any more," he told AFP in Dubai on Saturday.

"We need a COP of solutions and a COP of action."

The South Korean diplomat, who co-chairs the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, was in the UAE this weekend to launch a partnership with Dubai Cares, a civil society organisation focused on training youth on "green skills".

The last UN climate talks held in Egypt in November concluded with a landmark deal to create a "loss and damage" fund to cover the costs that developing countries face from climate-linked natural disasters and slower impacts like sea level rise.

But observers were left disappointed that little progress had been made on reducing planet-heating emissions from fossil fuels.

Ban urged the COP28 presidency to consider "harmonisation" between adaptation and loss and damage.

"We have to help developing countries to adapt to changing situations... (but) what about the situations already damaged and lost?" he said.

"We have to help them so that they can recover from this loss and damage."

The UAE, a leading crude producer and exporter, named the head of its national oil company as president of this year's COP28 climate talks, prompting fierce criticism from environmental activists.

The wealthy nation argues that oil remains indispensable to the global economy, while pushing the merits of carbon capture — removing carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, as fuel is burned or from the air.

During his visit, Ban signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai Cares to launch an environmental training programme targeting youth.

Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive and vice chairman of Dubai Cares, told AFP during the signing ceremony that the partnership is focused on training 10,000 young people.

"Climate without education (equals) no solution. Education without climate (means) we will suffer. That´s why those two have to marry," said Al Gurg.