The COP28 conference marked a record turnout on the first day, with tens of thousands of participants showing up in Dubai on Thursday to take part in climate change discussions.

As of 4pm, the high-profile event that seeks to address the impacts of global warming attracted 75,000 attendees, including heads of state, ministers, journalists and representatives from global organisations, organisers said at a press conference.

“It’s a record participation,” said Alexander Saier, UN Climate Change moderator, at the media briefing.

The total number of participants adds up to 84,000 if those who attend the event virtually are taken into account.

The attendees were from 198 countries, according to a press statement.

On the first day, countries reached an agreement on setting up a Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) to help different nations to deal with the impacts of climate change. The UAE pledged $100 million to the fund, followed by contributions from Germany, the UK, the US and Japan. 

The 28th annual meeting known as COP, after the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is being held in Dubai and scheduled to run through to December 12.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai welcomed the delegates, who he said have come to the UAE to “address a singular issue: the preservation of our planet for future generations”.

The Dubai ruler said that climate change is one of the most important challenges humanity must address through consolidated global efforts.

“The challenges are big; however, history has always demonstrated that the unity, cooperation and assembly of humanity remain the greatest enablers of prosperity and continued progress,” he said.  

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)