RIYADH (Reuters) -The president designate of COP28, to be held in the United Arab Emirates later this year, Sultan Al Jaber, said on Sunday that adaptation must be "front and centre" of the climate agenda.
“We live in a region of extreme heat, water scarcity and food insecurity. We are also suffering harsh climate impacts, from droughts to the devastating floods of Derna," Jaber said, speaking at the MENA Climate Week in the Saudi capital Riyadh
“To deliver for our region we must put adaptation front and center of the climate agenda.”
Jaber also said that donors must double adaptation finance and replenish the green climate fund.
Adaptation means investing in ways to adapt to climate change like early warning systems, food systems and crop yields.
The COP28 summit is scheduled to take place in Dubai between Nov. 30 and Dec. 12.
The summit is seen as a crucial opportunity for governments to accelerate action to limit global warming with reports so far showing countries are off track to meet promises to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Jaber was a controversial pick to lead the summit because his country is an OPEC member and a major oil exporter.
He has argued for a more inclusive COP that brings the oil and gas industry into the climate debate.
"We have had 27 COPs, and you might be surprised to learn that 17 of them have been hosted in fossil fuel producing nations," Jaber said on Sunday.
"The fact is, energy is fundamental to everyone, everywhere."
(Reporting by Maha El Dahan and Aziz El Yaakoubi; Writing by Rachna Uppal; Editing by Toby Chopra)