The most difficult climate change Conference of Parties (COP) since the Paris Agreement (2015) has just finished. The mood in Dubai is sober and exhausted; there is little elation. QUNO’s analysis will follow in the next days, but for now we can say that true urgency, equity and wealthy country leadership commitment remain deeply insufficient. Still, certain taboos on fossil fuels and international finance dysfunction are shifting, alongside improved focus on Adaptation and Loss and Damage. QUNO staff, Lindsey Fielder Cook and Anna Aguto, have worked intensively, arriving for pre-COP meetings and still here after delivering official COP side events, extensive publication outreach, quiet diplomacy conversations with negotiators, inter-faith engagement and press conferences. We advocate for urgent, equitable, transformative, human-rights based, and available-at-scale climate action.
At COP28, the main challenges included delivery of an urgent, equitable and science based Global Stocktake, strengthening on just transition and mitigation efforts, and appropriate financing for adaptation and loss and damage.
At this COP, QUNO’s first priority was quiet diplomacy with negotiators from a diverse range of countries. After 10 years of quiet diplomacy at the UNFCCC, we can spend time in one-on-one conversations and reaching out in urgent moments to press for urgency, equity and human rights in climate action.
We arrived at COP28 with physical copies of ‘A Government Official’s Toolkit’ in both English and Arabic, a publication which collates urgent findings from the latest climate science. This was timely – at the COP, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change appears sidelined, and QUNO’s publications are the only printed evidence of IPCC findings in the negotiating halls. In addition, QUNO appears the only organization to provide Arabic translations thus far of IPCC findings, which are also available in English and Spanish, and as personal guides through ‘How to Be A Hero For All Our Children’, in English, Spanish, and Arabic.
Our programme’s focus on transforming the root causes of climate change shaped our advocacy work. Hosted with Quaker Earthcare Witness, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Quakers in Britain and Soka Gakkai UK and International, our COP28 side event: ‘Shifting Money and Power: True Transformational Climate Action as Peace and Justice Multiplier,’ was called by an audience member ‘the best hour of COP so far’. Lindsey also spoke at the Talanoa Dialogue, an interfaith opening of the COP, on the need for a human-rights based Global Stocktake. Lindsey was part of the Interfaith Liaison Committee delegation that presented the culmination of this dialogue—the Talanoa call—to the UNFCCC Secretariat. Continuing with advocacy on transforming root causes, Lindsey spoke on a panel on military emissions and spending and on two press conferences on the hope and resilience and on interfaith calls for this COP. At the core of these advocacy efforts is the call to for true, equitable, human-rights based, and transformational climate action.
Soon to post our COP analysis, for now readers can read Lindsey’s reflections previously published on the politics of ‘phasing out’ fossil fuels and how these politics have shaped COP28 negotiations on Quakers in Britain’s blog here.