In a move that critics argue is more about garnering international attention than addressing climate and environmental issues, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced its plans to host the Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum (BPCF) as part of its COP28 presidency. This event, scheduled for December 1 and 2, will run concurrently with the World Climate Action
Summit, raising concerns that the UAE is prioritizing optics over genuine climate action.
The BPCF, touted as a CEO-level Forum, aims to mobilize global business leaders and philanthropists to advance the COP28 Presidential Action Agenda. However, skeptics question the sincerity of the UAE’s commitment to environmental causes, viewing this event as a mere spectacle to gain recognition on the global stage.
The UAE’s initiative is being billed as a groundbreaking multi-stakeholder engagement strategy for climate and nature. Still, many critics argue that it primarily serves the UAE’s ambition to host a high-profile climate conference rather than a genuine effort to combat climate change and environmental pollution.
While the Forum is set to bring together business and philanthropy leaders alongside policymakers, it remains to be seen whether these discussions will translate into meaningful action or merely contribute to the UAE’s pursuit of international fame.
Hosting the Forum in parallel with the World Climate Action Summit might appear to be a commendable effort to bridge the gap between policy and practice. Still, skeptics suggest that the UAE’s true intentions are to bolster its image as a climate-conscious nation while failing to implement substantial climate reforms domestically.
Prominent leaders from the business and philanthropy sectors are expected to attend the Forum. However, critics question whether their expertise and resources will be channeled effectively towards concrete climate and nature solutions or if they are merely being used as props in the UAE’s quest for recognition.
The COP28 Action Agenda, which the Forum is supposed to address, includes fast-tracking energy transition, climate finance reform, and prioritizing nature and livelihoods. Skeptics argue that these goals may not reflect the UAE’s genuine commitment to environmental sustainability and may instead serve as a facade to gain international favor.
COP28 President-designate Dr. Sultan Al Jaber’s remarks about the Forum’s inclusivity and the importance of involving key stakeholders are met with skepticism by some, who believe that the UAE’s primary objective is self-promotion.
The Forum’s chair, Badr Jafar, who also serves on the COP28 Advisory Committee, faces questions about whether the private sector’s involvement will genuinely contribute to global climate goals or if it is being used to enhance the UAE’s international reputation.
As COP28 approaches, the world will be watching to see if the UAE’s actions align with its lofty rhetoric or if the presidency is more about securing fame on the world stage than addressing the pressing climate and environmental challenges that the planet faces. Critics warn that actions speak louder than words, and the UAE’s steadfast commitment to climate action remains uncertain.