Several actors within the environmental movement are calling for a boycott of the climate conference COP28, which this year is being held in the United Arab Emirates. Photo: Alisdare Hickson. Source: Flickr.

Development magazine explains

Therefore, several actors are calling for a boycott of COP28

FN:s climate conference COP28 held this year in Dubai i United athe rab emirate. This has drawn criticism from both activists and climateorganizations, and a campaign to boycott the conference has spread worldwide. The development magazine analyzes the arguments for and against a boycott of COP28.  


So said Greta Thunberg on the decision to allow an oil executive of a state-owned oil company in the United Arab Emirates to be chairman for the upcoming climate conference which is being held in Dubai this year.

Two of Sweden's largest environmental organizations - the Nature Conservation Association and the World Nature Fund - have announced that they will not participate in the climate conference, and refer to re-prioritization, according to Sweden's Nature.

- We are very critical that this oil sheik has been chosen as chairman, but we do not call for a boycott. It is incredibly important that civil society continues to be present and follow the negotiations, that is our general approach. Not least when fossilsThe lobby is so very strong, says the Nature Protection Association's general secretary Karin Lexén to Sveriges Natur.

The founder of the 2030 Secretariat, Mattias Goldmann, however, urges the environmental movement to stay away from the conference and make use of it elsewhere.

- This year's COP is the fossil fuelers' deathmatch, of course we must stay away from it. Those who really negotiate should have as small a delegation as possible and the rest of us should show how we can make greater climate benefits elsewhere, he says to Sweden's Nature.

The human rights organization Human Rights Watch also warns of the limited space for civil society in the United Arab Emirates, citing their extensive surveillance techniques and strict legislation on dissent. The country has stated that environmental activists and organizations should be allowed to "peacefully demonstrate" during the conference, despite a ban against unauthorized demonstrations.

Another criticism against the United Arab Emirates is that the country, which is en of the world's largest oil producers, has a strong climate impact and insufficient action plan to meet the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting global warming to 1,5 degrees, according to Climate Action Tracker.

Global campaign to boycott COP28

The "Boycott COP28" campaign advocates a boycott of the climate conference, citing the United Arab Emirates high climate emissions and human rights and war crimes.

- A boycott of the climate negotiations may seem counterintuitive for those who want to influence climate policy, but civil society is still largely relegated to the sidelines at the COP conferences, writes Tom Weis, chairman of the environmental consulting organization Climate Crisis Solutions, in a opinion text on Common Dreams.

Tom Weiss believes that the presence of civil society would give the conference an undeserved legitimacy and that the environmental movement should instead use their power to prevent the conference from "speaking in their name".

Ndileka Mandela - writer, activist and granddaughter of Nelson Mandela - believes, however, that this boycott could have negative consequences for developing countries that need climate finance. According to her is UAE first COP presidency to prioritize agreement to actually deliver money to global south.

- As parts of Africa suffer terribly from climate change - as illustrated by five consecutive years of drought in the Horn of Africa - we cannot afford to let the opportunity for a breakthrough in climate finance at COP28 go to waste, she writes in a opinion text in Bloomberg. 


The UN climate conference, known as the Conference of the Parties (COP), has been an annual event since 1995. During the two-week summits, world leaders, politicians, experts, civil society representatives and a host of others gather to discuss the global climate crisis. It works as one meeting place for those who signed the UN's international agreement on climate change (UNFCCC) three decades ago.

After being held in Egypt last year, the 28th COP meeting will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates between 30 November and 12 December 2023. Four key objectives have been set for COP28:   

  • To speed up a fair, orderly and fair energy transition
  • Fixing climate finance
  • Putting nature, life and livelihoods at the center of climate action
  • And mobilize for the most inclusive Conference of the Parties to date. 


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