The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is slated to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, 2023. However, environmental advocates like us, are desperately calling on the GoodPlanet Foundation to Boycott COP28 due to issues over the UAE’s human rights record and lack of progress toward decarbonization.
Urging GoodPlanet Foundation
The GoodPlanet Foundation has been a leading voice in the fight against climate change for a really long time and has also been acting as an advocate for sustainable development. The organization has been a strong entity in holding governments accountable for their environmental policies and striving for progress toward a greener, more equitable future that is sustainable.
UAE’s stance towards Decarbonization
Furthermore, the UAE’s progress toward the concept of decarbonization has been slow, despite its pledge to reduce carbon emissions. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the UAE holds one of the highest carbon footprints per capita in the world, mainly because of its dependence on fossil fuels. As an organization that promotes sustainable development, the GoodPlanet Foundation should not be associated with a country that is not taking sufficient action toward reducing its carbon footprint.
The GoodPlanet Foundation should not attend the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE’s human rights record is alarming, and attending this event would be a violation of the Foundation’s commitment to protecting people from injustice and inequality.
Inequalities in the UAE
However, the UAE’s track record on human rights has come under intense scrutiny in recent years. The country has been criticized by organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for its treatment of migrant workers, who are often subjected to a negative image due to exploitative working conditions, abuse, and even forced labor. The GoodPlanet Foundation should not ignore these human rights abuses and should not lend legitimacy to a country with such a track record.
Human Rights Violation
Not to mention, how the UAE has had a history of human rights abuses, including torture, arbitrary detention, sexual harassment, and discrimination against certain individuals. According to Human Rights Watch, in 2019 alone there have been widespread reports of suppression of freedom of speech and assembly, as well as reports of forced labor and trafficking. Adding to that, it has been reported that migrant workers are subject to exploitation and abuse at the hands of employers occasionally.
Result of Attending
Attending COP28 in the UAE would send a message that the GoodPlanet Foundation is willing to overlook these issues and hence, endorses such occurrences. It could be seen as an endorsement or legitimization of the UAE government’s policies. This could have serious consequences for vulnerable people living in the country who rely on international organizations such as GoodPlanet for protection from oppression. This is their only hope for a change and to overlook this factor could result in diverse effects.
It is important for organizations like GoodPlanet to stand up for what is right and to use their influence to bring change wherever possible. By choosing not to attend COP28 in the UAE, GoodPlanet can certainly portray that human rights abuses are unacceptable and will not be tolerated by those who share its values.
COP28 in UAE Against GoodPlanet Foundation’s Vision
And as the GoodPlanet Foundation’s website states “The GoodPlanet Foundation was created and is chaired by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, renowned photojournalist, with the aim of raising public awareness on environmental issues and environmental protection.” So, attending the COP28, they will be going against what they, themselves, are standing by. Hence, contradicting what they stand for and losing credibility in their foundation. This should be taken seriously and especially, the people with authority should take a stand in eliminating the bad.