Hello readers! I am Kimberly and this is my first blog.

From the beginning of the semester, we began to get an idea of how big and important COP28 in Dubai would be. Many of the fall 2023 cohort had not participated in a COP in person before and we were very excited to be able to attend an event of this magnitude. This conference brings together nearly 70,000 attendees, including Heads of State, negotiators, activists, and brilliant minds thinking about how to fight climate change.

There were different thoughts about the country hosting the conference, UAE is one of highest oil producers and has a history related to human rights issues, the conference’s president has a business past within the oil sector. However, there were also high expectations of the results surrounding the importance of the most important issues, which are the first-ever Global Stocktake, the operationalization of the loss and damage fund, and phasing out fossil fuels.

For about 14 weeks we prepared on these topics and at the same time contacted potential clients with whom we could work, whether as volunteers, writing reports, attending events or logistical tasks. In my case, after several emails, coordination and long waits, I was able to contact the Ministry of the Environment of Peru to obtain a party overflow badge and attend the negotiations of the G77 + China and AILAC group.

At the same time, I began to better understand the position of my country, the position of Latin America and the other participating countries. Although Peru is not one of the most emitting countries, it does not have high climate risks levels like Island or African countries. This puts a country like mine in a situation of not having strong negotiating power.

The day of the trip arrived and like all my classmates, we asked for assignment extensions, took exams in advance, and accelerated other duties so we could be fully focused on the conference. While I was sending my last emails to teachers, I was packing my suitcase and preparing my brain to take the flight to Dubai and my agenda for the following days. On the other hand, documents from the UAE government were leaked showing that they planned to use their role as an opportunity to close deals on oil and gas. This was somewhat disappointing, but at the same time it was an opportunity to clarify the objectives of the conference’s presidency.

My first day at COP28 finally arrived with mixed feelings, surprised at how big and new this city is. I picked up the party overflow badge and we recognized the venue at the Expo City. I attended the RINGO meeting early, then the G77 + China coordination meeting where I got my first inside look at the real negotiations. Later, I was able to recognize the Peruvian Pavilion, where I met old friends who are environmental activists and negotiators from my country’s delegation.

It was definitely an exhausting and exciting day with many expectations. I look forward to continuing to learn from the conference and making lasting connections.