Activists say climate summit skipping out on developing nations is ‘not fair’

Greenpeace’s annual “Art for Change” installation in Rio de Janeiro.

A world-renowned climate conference set to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next year is coming under fire from environmental groups for breaking with a decades-long tradition of addressing issues in the developing world.

Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced on Sunday that the event was coming to the city for the first time.

The Conference of Parties (COP28) – also known as the UN Climate Change Conference – is an annual global event organized by the United Nations (UN). The 2019 COP28 will take place in the city between November 5 and 8, which means Sheikh Mohammed’s 10-year-old son, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will take part in the event for the first time. He will be an invited “ambassador” for the 2020 COP28.

“On this occasion I am very pleased to announce that my country of the United Arab Emirates is hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2023,” Sheikh Mohammed said at a ceremony in the city.

Various climate groups criticized the move, in which countries and other states convene at a UN climate conference to discuss how to coordinate efforts towards reducing global warming and prepare for future climate change. The 2019 conference, scheduled for November 23-25, will cover just one day.

“COP28 is a very important and important part of this process,” said Michael Doughty, manager of international programmes for Greenpeace International.

The move to split responsibilities between the UAE and the hosting state of Qatar “disproportionately underlines the divide between global carbon on the one hand and developing countries on the other,” Mr. Doughty said.

Mr. Doughty called for Qatar to host COP28 every two years in countries in the south of the world. The 2019 meeting will take place in Qatar.

Mr. Doughty argued that in 2023, countries will have a better understanding of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that seeks to end poverty and improve the lives of people on Earth.

“We expect countries in the south of the world to again be at the very centre of this process – such as Mauritania, Gambia and Mali – and we believe they’ll have the ability to mobilise the countries from the north as well,” Mr. Doughty said.

Over 300,000 people attended the 2015 COP21 in Paris, including the world’s poorest nations.

Bishop Oscar Andrus of St. Mark’s Catholic Cathedral said the decision to host the conference in the UAE came at a bad time for groups that pushed for climate justice around the world.

“From a Christian perspective, you would never say that a climate conference should be in this part of the world,” he said. “On the contrary, you’d say to them, why don’t you look to other parts of the world?”

Most national delegations stay in the same place every two years to negotiate complex international agreements dealing with the environment.

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Algeria, Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, India, Indonesia, China, France, Japan, Poland, Jordan, Iran, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Australia, Canada, Fiji, Chile, Malaysia, Namibia, Mozambique, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, New Zealand, Palestine, Uganda, Vanuatu, Kenya, Zambia, Uruguay, Namibia, Mozambique, Tunisia, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Australia, Japan, Spain, China, Peru, the U.S., Korea, the European Union, Bulgaria, New Zealand, and Jordan will attend the 2019 COP28.

Among the notable attendees from developing countries to attend the COP28 next year include Kiribati, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.

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