Lobby protests Al-Jaber appointment to COP28

PACJA Executive Director Mithika Mwenda speaks during a press conference on Friday. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has faulted the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for appointing Sultan Al-Jaber to head the 28th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28).

This year's COP28 is scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi, UAE, after the previous one that was held between November and December last year at Sharm El Sheik in Egypt.

"We have learnt with consternation, and are profoundly appalled, that a fossil fuel executive will lead the 2023 climate change negotiations," said PACJA Executive Director Mithika Mwenda during a press conference on Friday.

Mwenda said Al-Jaber is head of oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and he will be deal-cutting and exert enormous influence on the COP28 outcome, adding that the appointment is "contradictory and a conflict of interest".

"Never again have we witnessed a quasi-government executive being appointed to lead such a crucial multi-lateral process, and this as infamous as it may sound, marks the lowest moment for the UNFCCC," he said.

"This is veering off from its mandate to an international expo where corporates with dubious environmental climate integrity greenwash their fossil-fuel credentials. Previous COPs have been led by persons at the level of ministers. Never have we sunk this low," he added.

According to Memory Kachambwa, Executive Director of the African Women's Development and Communications Network (FEMNET) the appointment will prop oil lobbies that have tried to derail global climate action for decades.

"It is an insult to the collective wisdom of everyone committed to addressing the climate crisis and a disturbing show of bad judgement by the Emirates authorities," said Kachambwa.

"Everyone who cares for the health of the planet and for the survival of the most vulnerable people at the frontline of climate crisis, particularly women and children, must rise and resist the appointment," she added.