COP28 has become ‘too big,’ says head of UN Development Programme


The COP28, UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, with  recorded  97,000 participants, should not become a model for the future in terms of attendance, head of the UN Development Programme, Achim Steiner, said.

“I personally believe that these conferences have become too big,’’ he said in an interview with dpa in Dubai on Monday.

But Steiner said he did not want to tell anyone not to take part.

“And if a country like the United Arab Emirates has the opportunity to organise such a large conference, then I don’t think that’s our biggest problem.”

However, it should be borne in mind that the growth of conferences means a lot of effort, time and costs.

It could become more difficult to find host countries to accommodate around 100,000 people and provide a conference site for them, Steiner said.

Commenting on the debate among the 200 or so countries on whether a formal decision should be made to phase out coal, oil and gas, Steiner said “It will be very important to see whether this conference ultimately manages to recognise that the age of fossil fuels is over.’’

There will be arguments about the wording and about timelines, he said.

“But ultimately it’s about recognising that the future of our energy and transport systems will no longer be based on fossil fuels,’’ Steiner said.

He added that, the whole world senses and knows that the decarbonisation of our economies has become inevitable.

This year’s UN Climate Change Conference, hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, has been the largest ever staged.

According to the UN Climate Change secretariat, 97,372 people were registered on site, including around 52,000 state delegates as well as observers and almost 4,000 journalists.

This makes the conference almost twice as large as its predecessor in Egypt, which hosted the largest climate conference to date with around 50,000 participants.(dpa/NAN)