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24 Nov 2023

COP28: Fast, equitable and just fossil fuel phase-out needed to protect human rights

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Speaker: Ubrei Joe Maimoni, Friends of the Earth Nigeria/Africa, at COP28 in Dubai 2023

COP28 - more formally, the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - is taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 30 November to 12 December 2023. This year’s climate summit will come with a pressing agenda for human rights which includes: the establishment and operationalisation of a fund for developed nations to compensate developing countries for climate change damage, commonly referred to as the loss and damage fund; the push for a cover decision which calls for a fast, fair and equitable fossil fuel phase-out; calls for an official conflict of interest policy for UNFCCC procedures; and the operationalisation of the Work Programme on Just Transition Pathways, among other topics.

In addition, COP decisions must explicitly commit to human rights to prevent the repetition of historical human rights abuses linked to fossil fuel economies. Moreover, climate action promoted through COP should actively strive to promote human rights by ensuring that local communities, Indigenous Peoples, women, and historically marginalised groups have the opportunity to benefit from the shift to a low-carbon economy.

As we engage with COP28, we will be covering the following topics:

  • Human rights in the energy transition: we will be following closely the negotiations on the Working Programme Just Transition Pathways to ensure explicit references and specific action items on human rights, the protection of human rights defenders, and access to benefits from the transition to a low carbon economy to historically marginalized groups are incorporated to the final decisions of this discussions.
  • Corporate accountability at the UNFCCC: we will keep an eye on the latest developments on responsible business conduct and corporate accountability at COP, including the development of a conflict-of-interest policy within the UNFCCC, the role of oil and gas company delegates, as well as the role of renewable energy companies, and insurance companies in other pressing negotiation items.