Day One Round Up

In case you missed it…

It’s been an exceptional opening day at the Climate Action Innovation Zone here at Madinat Arena, Dubai, which has seen the first of five full days of world class programming.  

For the first time, we unveiled the Island of Hope, focused on the world’s most climate vulnerable regions. In his opening keynote, H.E. President Surengal Whipps Jr, President of the Republic of Palau asked, “should our kids have to read about our islands and our culture in textbooks like they read about the dinosaurs?”. The Global Stocktake reiterates the existential threat facing small island developing states (SIDs) but President Whipps Jr’s was a message of hope – spotlighting the ‘Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity Plan’, which will create a protected area larger than the surface of the moon. 

This COP28 has so far seen a plethora of funding pledges and financial commitments from all sectors – including the agreement of a Loss and Damage Fund deal. Technical questions around implementation and mechanisms for distributing funding were front of mind today, with the insurance broker Howden Group presenting what they see as the solution. David Howden, CEO, shared the group’s designs to use risk capital markets to deliver tens of billions of dollars of pre-arranged and guaranteed protection for the most climate vulnerable countries.  

Our Flagship event series kicked-off with The Sustainable Innovation Forum, which has been the largest private sector event at COP for the last 15 years, spanning policy, business, and finance. It began with a keynote address from H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Chairman of Arctic Circle and former President of Iceland. We caught up with him afterwards and he stressed his optimism for the future: “My generation was brought up on the notion that only governments can enact change. That era is over [..] now other actors are creating waves of change, and you can see that here at the Innovation Zone.” 

The intimate setting of the Climate Action Stage delivered a packed agenda filled with promise and actionable takeaways. We were honoured to be joined by HRH Princess Lamia Bint Majed Saud AlSaud who emphasised three keys for success in partnerships between funders and communities: respect, support, and local relationships.  

We have come away inspired by the focus on tangible, measurable impact – not just ambition, but action

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