Today, world leaders gather in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to kick off the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), a key venue for promoting climate action.

However, we cannot deceive ourselves. Despite three decades of negotiations and agreements, we continue with a continuous increase in emissions. In fact, 2023 is predicted to be the year with the highest temperatures. We have seen broken climate finance promises. There are deep geopolitical divisions over the resurgence of fossil fuel investment and the rise of climate-related disasters.

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The goal is clear: our shared challenge is to put the global economy on a resilient path with zero net emissions. The Paris Agreement says that we must stay below 1.5 degrees. For this to happen, the world must cut emissions in half by 2030.

and level zero by 2050. Transformative change is needed in terms of energy and food systems, infrastructure, transportation, land use, industry, among other sectors.

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For Ecuador, COP28 represents an opportunity to reflect on the challenges this problem presents: a threat to the economy and ecosystems; deforestation; drastic changes in weather conditions; and, above all, the impact of these effects on the most vulnerable communities.

Likewise, the country faces an urgent need to end or at least target fossil fuel subsidies and focus resources on other urgent needs such as fighting poverty and inequality, as well as supporting green growth and the transition to a greener economy.

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Ecuador already has a number of public policies and actions that show the way: its commitment to the framework of the Paris Agreement; decarbonization of the economy; investments in renewable energy sources; the REDD+ policy framework and the important program, Socio Bosque, an initiative that enables the maintenance of forest cover and rewards forest guardians – mainly indigenous people and local communities; as well as an adaptation plan that requires firm implementation in the territory. Progress that is internationally recognized and will be presented at COP28, showing how Ecuador is leading by example.

We hope that the country will continue and strengthen these policies, with the broad participation of various actors in society: central and local government, the private sector, the academic community, civil society, local communities and indigenous peoples.

At the United Nations Development Program in Ecuador (UNDP), we are committed to promoting a path towards more sustainable development that combines climate and environmental action with economic transformation and strengthening people’s livelihoods. (OR)