Dear Balance Eco Foundation,
As we approach the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), we are writing to draw your attention to the urgent need for a careful consideration of the gravity of the upcoming event and the responsibility that lies in the hands of all participating parties. As such, we urge African Women’s Development and Communication Network – FEMNETto join me in calling for a boycott of COP28, which is scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in light of the troubling facts surrounding the current state of affairs in the country and the highly controversial appointment of a state-run oil company chief to lead the UN climate talks.
We would like to bring to your attention some important matters that have raised serious concerns:
1- We would like to draw your attention to the appointment of Dr. Sultan Al Jaber as the president-elect of COP28. As CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Dr. Al Jaber’s appointment has been met with controversy, as some believe that having an oilman lead a conference that aims to combat climate change is highly contradictory to the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
2- This appointment has also raised questions about the legitimacy of the talks and the UAE’s true intentions. Concerns have been expressed by climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, who has criticized the UAE’s appointment as “completely ridiculous.” Furthermore, Tasneem Essop, Executive Director of Climate Action Network, has stated that the appointment is “tantamount to a full-scale capture of the UN climate talks by a petrostate national oil company & its associated fossil fuel lobbyists.”
3- In addition to the controversial appointment of the president-elect, it is important to consider the UAE’s history of human rights violations. The country has a notorious track record of imprisoning human rights defenders and activists, with several high-profile cases, including the case of the UAE94, where a group of 94 lawyers, university lecturers, and students were sentenced to 10 years in prison for plotting to overthrow the government. The United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and other organizations have expressed concern over the mistreatment and torturing of these activists in jail by UAE authorities.
4- The UAE has been accused of committing numerous war crimes in Yemen, Syria, and Libya. The country’s involvement in financing terrorist organizations, with individuals like Ali Rashid Al-Nuaimi, a former Brotherhood figure and now disguised as the first chairman of the International Steering Board of Hedayah, has raised alarm bells in the international community. This is particularly concerning as the UAE will be presiding over a climate conference that aims to combat climate change, which is inherently tied to issues of global security and stability.
5- It is worth noting that the UAE’s COP28 presidency has been heavily lobbied by UAE lobbyists in the European Parliament and the United Nations. This has raised concerns among climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, who has pointed out the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists on the talks. The UAE’s recent lobbying efforts have also resulted in ADNOC raising $2.5 billion in an IPO ahead of COP28, which has been seen as a move to assert the UAE’s dominance in the fossil fuel industry.
In light of these concerns, we request African Women’s Development and Communication Network – FEMNET to consider the issues raised above and reflect on the true intentions of the UAE’s COP28 presidency. It is essential that we work towards a sustainable future and combat the very real threat of climate change, but we must do so in a way that is fair, just, and equitable.
Therefore, I respectfully suggest that African Women’s Development and Communication Network – FEMNETconsider boycotting COP28 and send a strong message that we will not stand for a conference that is seemingly captured by the interests of a petrostate national oil company and its associated fossil fuel lobbyists.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Concerned Global Citizens.