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COP28 Presidency calls for urgent action to protect vulnerable communities

For the first time, COP28 will host a Health/Relief, Recovery, and Peace Day on December 3 as part of its two-week thematic programme. (Image source: Alain Charles Publishing)

At the Korea Global Adaptation Week 2023, the COP28 Presidency demanded immediate action to increase global adaptation activity at all levels to decrease vulnerability and strengthen resilience for vulnerable populations, ecosystems, and economic sectors

Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, director-general and special representative of COP28, reaffirmed the Presidency's commitment to prioritising adaptation and resilience during the Global Adaptation Dialogue's inaugural session.

“The COP28 Presidency has positioned adaptation and resilience firmly in our Presidential Action Agenda,” said Ambassador Al Suwaidi. “Under the focus of putting people and communities back the heart of climate action, we are working to deliver on the Global Goal on Adaptation, and to elevate issues across food, health, water, nature and relief and recovery.”

He continued by saying that the next Global Stocktake at COP28 would allow for a full evaluation of achievements and gaps, marking a crucial time to increase ambition and action for adaptation.

The director-general of COP28 stated that it is necessary to "adopt a framework on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), ensuring that it is complemented by a robust, differentiated, and actionable agenda for building resilience."

The most vulnerable communities, ecosystems, and economic sectors "must help reduce vulnerability, build adaptative capacities, and strengthen resilience." In order to represent the range of difficulties and capabilities inherent in our global community, it must be both comprehensive in view and adaptable in details, according to Ambassador Al Suwaidi.

Al Suwaidi urged developed nations to keep the commitment they made at COP26 to double adaptation financing by 2025. The expansion of adaptation funding was also recommended on multilateral development banks (MDBs) and development finance institutions (DFIs).

He cited the Presidency's emphasis on supporting measures that address the relationship between climate change and the natural world, such as restoring wetlands and ecosystems that fend off storms and sea surges and conserving forests to control soil erosion and runoff during floods. 

Inviting states to sign the Leaders Declaration on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Climate Action, Al Suwaidi further emphasised that the transformation of food systems will be a top priority at COP28. Governments will be urged by the statement to commit to modifying and adapting food supply networks and systems.

The Presidency wants to give water risks and possibilities unprecedented attention during COP28, prioritising freshwater ecosystem protection and restoration, boosting urban water resilience, and supporting water-resilient food chains.

As part of its two-week theme programme, COP28 will also have a Health/Relief, Recovery, and Peace Day on December 3. The day will highlight how climate change is affecting people's health, uprooting vulnerable populations, and increasing fragility, all of which threaten peace. COP28 will also co-host the first climate-health ministerial with the World Health Organisation to scale up investment and policy goals.