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Seplaa at COP28 UAE

Navigating COP28 with more than 70,000 world leaders and experts so that you can maximize your presence to meet other business leaders and build partnerships for business and climate change, is both a challenge and an art.

This time, I purposefully focused on the business, finance, energy and gender sections to stay focused on building Seplaa Group’s Seplaa Global Impact Network and AFMalik Law- Attorneys & International Development Consultants.

The panel discussions around these thematic areas were engaging and thought provoking. There was much to see and reflect on.  

Seplaa Group at the Saskatchewan Pavilion, Canada at COP 28

It was a pleasure to meet the Premier of   Saskatchewan province in Canada, Hon. Mr. Scott Moe at COP 28 in Dubai and attend the following Saskatchewan Pavilion panel discussions on:

-‘Sustainably Powering the Future: Saskatchewan Uranium’
with Tammy Van Lambalgen and Travis McPherson.

– ‘Innovation in Energy & Mining’ with Dr. Peter Stoicheff, Dr. Jeff Keshen and Dr. Larry Rosia of the University of Saskatchewan.

I was also able to meet several other Canadian delegates including Prabha Ramaswamy (Hon.) CPA, CGA, M.S.W, Baljit Singh and Jodi Banks.

There is so much work that is going on at the global scale that it is actually mind boggling why we are still not able to achieve Net Zero despite so many initiatives worldwide.

Where is the gap between policy, planning and action and how can it be filled urgently?

This was the question asked by several panel speakers throughout COP28 who quizzed about frameworks, metrics and climate finance with some headway made on at least calling out for the phase out of fossil fuels but with a long way still to go.

Finance & Gender Equality-Women in Renewabales

The COP28 session on ‘Finance & Gender Equality- Women in Renewables’ was particularly interesting as the panel speakers Dr. Gisele Abi Chahla, Fatima Al Suwaidi, Charlotte Johnson and Monique Miller spoke very convincingly about creating role models for younger women so that they knew about the possibilities of working in less traditional fields.

I have been mentoring women for over ten years now and what I have realized is that there are also older women who need role models, role models of women who either picked up the pieces of their lives, or started all over again despite the 100 odds.

It’s worth reflecting on how such women who wish to break barriers after raising families, becoming mature students or coming back to work after long sabbaticals can be motivated to give it their best shot and go where their peers had not gone before.

The solution has to lie in forging collaborations and even creating a small network of strong women who can support each other as work friends. 

 

Private Sector & Sustainable Start Ups at COP 28

Finally, a wrap up from my side on my involvement at COP28 in Dubai:

According to the UNFCCC Summary of Global Climate Action at COP 28, ‘The importance of engaging non-Party stakeholders (businesses, cities, subnational regions, investors, and civil society) in the multilateral process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been long recognized by Parties; dating back to the Lima-Paris Action Agenda launched at the 20th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 20), the appointment of the High-Level Champions since COP 21, and the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action launched by the High-Level Champions at COP 22.’

This was significant in this year’s COP has over 13,000 new private sector pledges and non-parties got involved in the fight for climate justice.

I was able to attend some very insightful panel discussions led by BCG, McKenzie and EY followed by exchanging ideas with several sustainability leaders.

Another highlight was meeting with global cleantech and sustainable startups working in industries such as green construction, energy, health and education at the Startup Village.

For businesses wanting to become sustainable, I think COP28 was successful in encouraging exchange of innovative ideas, collaborations and opening the doors to joint actions.

Wrap Up and Announcement of COP29 Azerbaijan

There is so much one can write about COP28 because it was the largest UN Conference of Parties to date and it was almost exhausting to keep up with all the talks and developments.

This was why at the end of the day, the side displays and the dome shaped central Al Wasi Plaza was a welcoming retreat for delegates and visitors who had participated in tough negotiations during the day making it was a space which I particularly enjoyed.

‘Al Wasi’ is one of the 99 names of Allah and it means ‘The Vast, The All-Embracing, The Boundless’.

With the concluding events of COP28, preparations are already underway for COP29 in Azerbaijan. Will the next COP be as big as the one hosted by UAE and more importantly, will it bring us closer to sustained collaborations for hashtagNetZero?

Follow Up Activities & Actions After COP 28

In 2023, the GAIL Asia Pacific Board had meetings over zoom and had informal meetups with some members in London and this latest one in Hong Kong where we discussed the role of lawyers after COP28 and how we can move forward with projects such as blended finance and climate contracting in Asia Pacific. More follow up meetings are planned under the SGIN in the coming months.