Three weeks ago, the closing of COP28 left an indelible mark on my commitment to fostering sustainability and combating climate change. Clad with the esteemed Blue Zone badge, I had the privilege of not only attending but actively engaging with key figures in the industry. These included influential voices from Civil Society, individuals who embody the spirit of activism for climate change and sustainability. As the founder of Marco Polo Experience, our company played a pivotal role in championing the cause of COP28. It was an experience that fueled my dedication to contribute meaningfully to a sustainable future.
The “UAE Consensus,” a groundbreaking agreement achieved by 198 participating Parties, is now at the forefront of ambitious climate agendas, with a focus on limiting global warming to 1.5°C. It is a comprehensive document outlining the shift away from fossil fuels, striving for net-zero emissions by 2050. It urges Parties to submit economy-wide Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with specific targets, including tripling renewables and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. The agreement also sets the stage for a new framework for climate finance, fostering momentum toward a sustainable future.
United Arab Emirates President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan made a crisp and brief opening speech at the COP28 climate summit at Expo City in Dubai. He recalled the first President of the UAE Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision of sustainable development by keeping the people at the centre and instilling respect for the environment among them. Sheikh Mohamed referred to Sheikh Zayed as “a leader who believed in love of the earth and respect for nature while establishing ways to conserve resources.”
Key achievements include the launch of ALTÉRRA, a $30 billion catalytic private finance vehicle by the UAE, aiming to mobilise $250 billion for global climate action. COP28 also saw the endorsement of the ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Agriculture, Food, & Climate’ by 158 countries, embedding sustainable agriculture and food systems in climate change responses. The ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health,’ endorsed by 144 countries, propels the development of climate-resilient, sustainable, and equitable health systems. Initiatives like the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge and the Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter were introduced through the Global Decarbonization Accelerator (GDA).
Naomi Campbell, one of six models of her generation declared supermodels by the fashion industry and the international press and the first black woman to appear as a model on the covers of Time and Vogue France was one of the guests in the panel called METAMORPHOSIS: INNOVATION an IN FASHION AND WOMEN LEADING THE WAY. This panel at COP28, IN Green Zone stage delves into the evolution of fashion and the innovation in the fashion industry as it embraces new materials, technologies and design philosophies, mirroring the concept of metamorphosis. This evolution isn’t just about aesthetic shifts but extends to sustainable practices, digital advancements, and consumer behaviour.
Collaborating with Azerbaijan, the hosts of COP29, the aim is to ensure ambitious updated climate plans for action in this critical decade, with Massimiliano Falcone,Global Engagement and Partnerships at The World Bank, and he is a Neuro-Marketing, Cross-cultural Communication and Strategy, leading discussions as the moderator of the event “Communication for Climate Action: Empowering Youth Voices and Engagement.”
Beyond the Global Stocktake, COP28 achieved negotiated outcomes, including the operationalization of Loss and Damage, securing $792 million in early pledges, advancing the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA). As COP28 concludes, attention turns to ensuring the implementation of agreements and their follow-through at COP29 and COP30. The inaugural ceremony of the World Climate Action Summit during COP28 provided a platform for the global indigenous community to express their perspectives. Among the prominent figures sharing the stage with world leaders was Brazilian climate activist Isabel Prestes da Fonseca. As the Co-Founder and Environmental Director of Instituto Zág, an indigenous youth-led organisation primarily focused on reforestation and safeguarding traditional knowledge related to the Araucaria tree (referred to as Zág), Isabel Prestes da Fonseca delivered a compelling message. “Today, I stand as a representative of indigenous voices, emphasising the critical imperative to address environmental crises. Join us in championing the cause for nature and biodiversity. Together, we have the power to effect positive change,” she declared.
COP28 sets a precedent for future conferences, offering a blueprint for ambitious and inclusive climate action on a global scale. In my personal commitments beyond the global stage. Marco Polo Experience, my company, remains dedicated to amplifying the messages and commitments made during COP28, with a special acknowledgment to the influential voices such as Naomi Campbell, the English model who actively participated in the COP28 panel on “Metamorphosis: Innovation in Fashion and Women Leading the Way.” Together, let’s forge ahead, turning aspirations into tangible actions for a greener and more sustainable world.