The United States Pavilion at COP28, the UN Climate Conference being held in Dubai, is effectively reflecting in its events the thematic programme designed by the COP28 Presidency.
The U.S. Centre (pavilion) is also organising a series of programmes based on the crucial climate issues and related initiative of the U.S. and its partners in global climate action.
“COP 28 is a COP of first, the first COP to take a global stocktake and also the first COP to have thematic days each day. The U.S. Centre has very much embraced these thematic days. So, every day we follow the thematic schedule set out by the COP28 Presidency,” Daleya Uddin, coordinator of the pavilion, told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
Focus on climate finance, inclusion
In addition to that, she noted, there is also a cross-cutting focus on climate finance, technology, innovation, inclusion, and outreach to indigenous groups.
The U.S. Centre has planned an incredible 70 events during COP 28, said Uddin, who is also the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai.
“We have a range of programmes including a daily ‘NASA hyperwall’ that talks about how space technology and satellite data can help with other sectors in the battle against climate change. And then we have climate talks as well,” she explained.
Around 4,000 people visited the pavilion as of Saturday afternoon, and more visitors are expected in the coming days, the coordinator said. “A lot of our popular programmes revolve around the NASA space programmes, but then also the climate talks.”
The events started when the pavilion was opened on 2nd December with a high-level discussion led by John Kerry, the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and other senior officials who highlighted the Biden Administration’s whole of government approach to combating the climate crisis.
The first panel focused on strengthening public, private, and philanthropic collaboration to halt deforestation. Panellists discussed the financial tools required for farmers to deploy more sustainable practices such as the vision for adaptive crops to avoid deforestation.
Alongside members of the Corporate Coalition for Innovation and Technology toward Net Zero such as GE, John Kerry unveiled an interactive multimedia display that showcases how Biden Administration policies and American innovation are tackling climate challenges.
Health and climate nexus
While celebrating COP28 thematic day focused on health, relief, recovery, and peace, Admiral Levine, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health, noted that COP28 is the first COP to acknowledge the health and climate nexus.
John Kerry opened the most popular session of the day on the Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA) with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bezos Earth Fund. The Rockefeller Foundation announced its partnership with the World Bank to support developing countries to deliver deeper, faster emission reductions.
NASA Earth Science Director presented on urban pollution at the NASA hyperwall, where the audience enquired about collection of satellite data that would help with public health research.
Finance, trade, and gender equality
At the celebration of the COP28 themes of Finance, Trade, Gender Equality, and Accountability, John Kerry and Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced the winners of the Blended Finance for the Energy Transition (BFET) competitive award, which is intended to provide catalytic blended funding to mobilise just transitions in developing countries.
The winners, India-based “Eversource Capital” and Swiss-based “Responsability Investments”, noted the need for more blended finance in Asia and Africa.
In partnership with Denmark, the Development Finance Corporation and USAID, BFET aims to mobilise over US$1 billion in capital to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
Focus on indigenous people
While celebrating the COP28 themes of Energy, Industry, Just Transition, and indigenous People Indian Collective Session, the U.S. Centre hosted a standing room only session with the NDN Collective, an indigenous organisation that provides activism, philanthropy, grant making, and capacity building skills to create sustainable solutions on indigenous terms.
“Jump Starting the Global Deployment of New Nuclear Energy Session” started with a message from Bill Gates, who advocated for the inclusion of modern reactors as a part of the renewable energy mix and stressed the need for training the workforce for high paying nuclear industry jobs.
EXIM Bank Chair Rita Jo Lewis noted that her agency funded over US$1 billion in climate transactions last year and developed partnerships across the inter-agency and the private sector to promote U.S. exports and level the playing field – including small modular reactors (SMRs).
The events at the pavilion are continuing with a packed audience. “Our programming is still going to continue until next Monday,” the coordinator said.