The importance of international negotiations and their impact on the daily lives of people are often underrated matters. Especially, negotiations that decide the fate of our planet as we know it. The UNFCCC practicum allowed the participants of the class to try their hand at international diplomacy and negotiations, which was an interesting and necessary introduction to the proceedings we were to expect at COP28.
As a student with minimal background in policy, I was perplexed by the subtlety that exists in UN proceedings between parties. With the context of climate change and “our common but differentiated responsibilities” in mind, this unique challenge urges countries to cooperate with one another to for their direct benefit, instead of a race to get to the top or over-prioritize their personal interests. Climate change issues are intersectional by nature – they include but are not limited to human rights issues, women and children’s issues, technology, health, and safety concerns. This complex interwoven fabric that is our combat against climate change unites all parties in their aspirations, while we all differ in our struggles. While representing Bangladesh during the mock negotiations in the week leading up to COP28, I was exposed to the intricacies of negotiation language, to the do’s and don’ts of diplomacy during bilateral, and the ever-present pressure of coming to a consensus.
With 2023 being the year of the Global Stocktake, many have expressed their concern that hosting COP28 in Dubai could weaken the resolutions that parties set for themselves, despite growing climate concerns across the planet. The gaps revealed by stocktake have been made public well in advance of the conference and have spurred many sectors to begin taking action or amplifying their existing action towards mitigation and adaptation. I have personally been more vigilant about the private sector rather than the public, and I am keen to understand the effects of the results of the stocktake on NDCs.
I am additionally looking forward to an emphasis on actionable climate finance tools and mechanisms at COP28, and not mere promises and pledges. A lot of the pledges are mere rhetoric if they are not backed by adequate financing mechanisms that ensure that they survive to create the impact they were intended for. I also wish to understand what barriers currently exist in the deployment of capital to the global south, and whether those hurdles will impede us from limiting warming to 1.5C. Finally, I look forward to a discussion beyond renewables – the world as we know it will not run merely on solar and wind and is far from addressing energy security challenges that plague many parts of the global south.
I am also excited to collaborate with my client NatureDots, a startup based in India at the nexus of water and technology. I believe that energy, water, and food systems are highly correlated in their growth and demise and are crucial pieces of the puzzles that are mitigation and adaptation. I intend to follow topics related to technology startup journeys and innovations in the water and food resilience space.