The Closing Plenary at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 at Expo City Dubai | Photo Credit: COP28 / Mahmoud Khaled)

13th January 2024

SGI Participates in COP28

  • Sustainability & climate change

SGI participated in the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 30 November to 13 December 2023. At COP28, SGI promoted the meaningful inclusion of youth in climate policy processes, human rights-based approaches and the crucial role of nature, as well as highlighting positive case studies of individual action at the grassroots, and advocating for faith actors to have their perspectives included in policymaking decisions.

Interfaith Talanoa Dialogue

As part of the Interfaith Liaison Committee (ILC), SGI co-organized an informal interfaith gathering in the spirit of Talanoa Dialogue on the first day of COP28. Over 150 participants online and in person shared their initiatives, concerns and hopes in their climate justice work. This event led to a Talanoa Dialogue Call, which ILC representatives presented to the COP28 Presidency as well as to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) representative on behalf of the Executive Secretary.

Alexandra Goossens-Ishii of SGI (second left) speaks at the Interfaith Talanoa Dialogue.

Youth Engagement

Lucy Plummer of SGI and a member of YOUNGO, the official children and youth constituency of the UNFCCC, contributed to the launch of its first-ever Youth Stocktake of UNFCCC Processes. Recommendations included more sustainable and long-term strategies for youth to contribute to the development of climate policies, funding for youth climate innovations and training for States Parties in effectively including youth. The importance of strengthening intergenerational partnerships through meaningful dialogue was also underscored. The Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Affairs, Dr. Felipe Paullier, attended the launch, spoke on one of the panels, and ultimately endorsed the Youth Stocktake.

The Italian Buddhist Institute Soka Gakkai (IBISG) also held a panel discussion featuring three young winners of the Youth4Climate Call for Solutions 2023 from Benin, Mali and Tunisia, during an event co-organized with UNDP Italy at the Italian Pavilion. This global initiative, led by the Italian government and UNDP Italy, received partial support from IBISG via the “Eight per thousand” system, whereby eight percent of an Italian taxpayer’s income tax can be allocated to their chosen religious organization. The executive director of the International Tropical Timber Organization also spoke at the event.

Lucy Plummer of SGI presents on the Youth Stocktake Report.

Mitigation and Adaptation

During an official side event and a workshop at the Faith Pavilion, Nobuyuki Asai of SGI also shared recommendations on how to effectively disseminate early warning systems to help communities mitigate and adapt to climate disasters. The recommendations were based on Japan’s unique experience in disaster risk reduction in the face of extreme weather events.

Asai also spoke during an event promoting the adoption of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. SGI was one of the earliest signatories to the initiative, which aims to tackle one of the root causes of the climate crisis.

Nobuyuki Asai of SGI (second left) speaking at an event promoting local anticipatory action.

Human Rights, Nature and Climate

Together with the Quakers at the United Nations and other partners, SGI and SGI-UK co-organized the discussion, “Shifting Money and Power: True transformational climate action as a peace and justice multiplier.” Focusing on a rights-based approach to climate action, this side event explored how shifting money and power in current economic, energy, land and military systems could help accelerate urgent, transformational climate action.

SGI, SwedBio and World Resources Institute Brazil were selected to organize an event at the 5th Capacity-building Hub, focused on rights-centered climate and biodiversity action in practice. The event was co-sponsored by many partners and highlighted how human rights are central to addressing biodiversity loss and climate change. A human rights-based approach includes the recognition of land rights, meaningful participation of local communities, creating the conditions for the effective engagement of various rights-holders, including youth, in the negotiation processes, and the need to recognize different knowledge systems.

Lucy Plummer of SGI (second left) speaking at a side event on "Moving Faith Forward: Youth Leadership and Faith-based Climate Advocacy" at the Faith Pavilion.

As part of the Faiths for Biodiversity coalition, SGI also co-organized a side event on nature and climate, which explored how action to protect the integrity of nature and ecosystems is key to combating climate change and how faith groups can play an essential role in partnership with other stakeholders.

This is the third year that SGI representatives have attended COP. They have consistently promoted rights-based approaches, the crucial role of nature and the meaningful inclusion of youth in climate policy and climate action, while also highlighting positive case studies of individual action at the grassroots level. SGI is committed to continuing its work in solidarity with other faith-based and civil society organizations to amplify the voices of people, especially youth, who are calling for concrete decisions and change.