LIVE: From Oasis To Pollution Pods, First Look Inside COP28 At Expo City Dubai


(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Thu 30 Nov 2023, 9:30 AM

Last updated: Thu 30 Nov 2023, 1:00 PM

The UAE has identified its North Star for COP28: To hold every country and every stakeholder accountable to keep 1.5oC within reac . Today, that mission begins - with the world coming together at Expo City Dubai.

About 180 heads of states; 97,000 delegates, experts, observers and climate activists; and more than 400,000 UAE residents and environmental advocates are taking part in the highly anticipated UN climate summit. The annual COP conference is being held from today until December 12.

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Khaleej Times has its boots on the ground at Expo City Dubai to bring you real-time updates as the mega event opens to the world:

12: Order your favourite dish - but get a 2050 version of it

Now here's a cool high-tech experience you should check out at the UAE's House of Sustainability: Dinner in 2050.

Just name your favourite dish and it will pop up on a plate in front of you - only to be whisked away and replaced by a more sustainable option.

Here's how it works:

12: 'COP28 cannot be just a photo-op'

At this climate summit, leaders must deliver, a top UN official has said.

“Over 160 world leaders are headed to Dubai, because only cooperation between nations can get humanity back in this race,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell ahead of the climate change conference.

“And as leaders leave Dubai after the opening summit, their message to their negotiators must be equally clear: Don't come home without a deal that will make a real difference.”

Here's a video message he posted on X:

Climate finance stands at the heart of this transformation. Replenishing the Green Climate Fund, doubling financial resources for adaptation and operationalizing the loss and damage fund are key to keeping 1.5°C within reach while leaving no one behind.

“The reality is that without much more finance flowing to developing countries, a renewables revolution will remain a mirage in the desert. COP28 must turn it into a reality,” Stiell added.

12: Fancy headdresses, anyone?

While we know that the discussions that will take over this summit is crucial for the planet, it doesn't mean things have to be boring. Go have fun with a fancy headdress, like these visitors: (Pro tip: Extra cool points for those who will be able to convey an environment-related message through fashion.)

12: Road closure reminder

If you're planning to drive to COP28 tomorrow, take note that a stretch of the Sheikh Zayed Road will be closed in the morning until December 3.

This will affect the lane marked in orange on the map below:

The temporary road closure will be implemented from 7am to 11am from Friday to Sunday.

Read about alternative routes and all other details you need to know here.

12: Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, COP28 president check on preparations

UAE leaders are seen touring Expo City Dubai, personally making sure that everything is in order for the climate summit's opening ceremony - scheduled at 2pm.

Here are photos of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and COP28 president Dr Sultan Al Jaber, accompanied by other officials:

Photo: Abu Dhabi Media Office Photo: Abu Dhabi Media Office Photo: Abu Dhabi Media Office

Here's a photo of Al Jaber at the Blue Zone:

11: Meet an Emirati family of beekeepers

The Alshareef family has been keeping the beekeeping legacy of their forefathers alive. Their photo has been displayed alongside several other Emirati eco-crusaders in the House of Sustainability.

11: 'Unity is still the greatest secret to progress' - Sheikh Mohammed welcomes world to COP28

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, posts an inspiring message as the world tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time - climate change.

"The mission is great... and the challenges are great... but history teaches us that the meeting, cooperation, and unification of humanity's efforts was and still is the greatest secret to the prosperity of their civilisations and their continued progress," he writes.

Here's the full tweet:

11: Israel president to discuss hostages on the sidelines

Reuters file photo

Israeli President Isaac Herzog is set to attend COP28 today, where he will hold talks with diplomats on the release of hostages held by Hamas.

At the summit - which will also be attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas - Herzog will hold a "series of diplomatic meetings on the importance of releasing the hostages held by Hamas", the Israeli presidency said in a statement.

Read the full story here.

11: 'This place is beautiful'

The UAE does it again: A jaw-dropping exhibition that shows how sustainability has long been part of the country's culture.

"This place is beautiful," says KT reporter Nasreen Abdulla. Before stepping inside, explore the oasis surrounding the falcon wing-shaped pavilion:

Just look at all that greenery and stream of water - you just have to be there, right?

Inside, you'll be transported into a golden desert - with sand brought from across the seven emirates:

You can also browse through photos from 52 years ago:

Then, relax on a majlis, sip on some qahwa, and pose with falcons. Yep, this place should not be missed.

10: Philippines' Marcos to skip climate summit due to hostage-taking situation

In a last-minute decision, Philippine President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr announced that he wouldn't be able to attend COP2 due to an emergency meeting on a hostage-taking situation in the Red Sea.

Marcos said he would have to prioritise the“important developments” in a hostage situation that involved 17 Filipino seafarers in the Red Sea.

10: Don't forget your water bottles!

Heading to COP28? Bring your tumblers because no bottled water will be sold on the site. You can easily get your fill from stations like this one:

All Blue Zone pass holders will get free water bottles.

10: Flew thousands of miles to volunteer

Elena flew all the way from Romania for her first-ever volunteering stint.“I just finished my master's degree in international telations and thought it would be a great way to get some experience.”

Here she is speaking to her colleagues, trying to understand the Expo site better:

10: Spotted, cool pods where you can breathe in ... pollution

These igloo-like structures are not your ordinary pods. Step inside and you'll feel what it's like to stand in a polluted environment.

These pods recreate the air quality polluted atmospheres from London to New Delhi and Beijing. Special chemicals are used to mimic the smell and feel in such environments.

10am: Missing this dome?

The Expo 2020 icon Al Wasl dome - the crown jewel of the site - is back in action, with country flags in place to represent another gathering of the world.

This plaza, however, is part of the Blue Zone, which means it won't be accessible to all throughout the duration of the event.

9: Blue Zone comes alive

At the Blue Zone - where official talks and panel discussions are set to take place - delegates, representative, and official observers are getting ready for the day's big events.

Some made it a point to bring touches of their culture to the venue:

This zone is closed to the public and accessible only to UN-accredited participants.

9: World leaders arriving in Dubai

From main players and negotiating blocs in the global climate action movement to populous, fast-developing nations, the world's top representatives are flying in for the summit.

During the first few days, national leaders - from the UK's King Charles to India's Prime Minister Narendra Mod - are jetting in for what is called the "high-level segment" involving back-to-back speeches in the venue's main plenary hall.

Leaders also speak at side events, news conferences or with each other in bilateral huddles over what they think the COP should achieve.

This political oomph is meant to boost ambition and set the summit on the right track.

Read more about the countries participating in the summit here

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