27 / 02 / 2024

In this blog, I share my experience at the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 13.  As a young negotiator from the Dominican Republic representing my country and also as a fellow of the New Generation Program by the Loss & Damage Collaboration (L&DC) and the Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI). This blog is a small picture of what it was like for me being my first COP.  

In my country, I participated in various initiatives that familiarized me with  simulations of United Nations (UN) agencies. As a member of the youth advisory panel of the United Nations Population Fund for Development (UNFPA), and  and as Deputy Director at the Conference of the Parties 26 (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), organized by the International Model of UN of the Ministry of Education (MINUME 2022), I had the privilege of guiding and training young leaders on climate change issues. However, witnessing the real-life negotiations at COP28 was a stark revelation.

Navigating in the Negotiations

Upon my arrival at the venue in Dubai on the first day of negotiations, I was eager to put into practice everything I had learned and trained for. Each day, coordinators send out agendas detailing meeting locations where meetings will be held. My focus was on Loss and Damage negotiations (Santiago Network being the technical arm for Loss and Damage and the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage which focuses on the governance). Engaging in negotiations, I sometimes found it challenging to follow due to the use of unfamiliar keywords and acronyms. However, I persisted, seeking clarification from colleagues to connect the dots.

Building Networks and Overcoming Challenges

Networking became a skill I honed at COP28. I was thrilled to attend such a significant conference, transitioning from simulations to reality. One of the highlights for me was the opportunity to  connect with L&DC and CLI team (Justina, Erin, Hyacinthe, and Honorine), as well as negotiators from various countries. Meeting my star mentors, Camila Minerva (Dominican Republic, also my Head of delegation) and Prakriti Koirala (Nepal), was particularly inspiring.

However, despite my excitement, concerns arose as my Party Overflow badge did not grant me permission to speak on behalf of my country. Although I had access to all the meeting rooms,  I felt somewhat powerless. Nonetheless, I recognized the significance of participating  in key discussions  and continued to engage by actively listening and posing questions. I realized that impactful contributions could be made outside negotiation rooms, particularly through networking. After meetings, I visited pavilions and the Green Zone,   introducing myself as a delegate from the Dominican Republic and learning from various projects. This led to unexpected opportunities, such as being invited to a climate communication course at the Singapore Pavilion. Attending this course not only provided me with valuable insights  but also offered me the chance to showcase my country's education and climate change initiatives. Thanks to my strong performance and collaborative efforts within  the course, I was selected to represent the group and advocate for our initiatives. This was my first opportunity to speak up for the collective cause at COP, and it held significant meaning for me. It reinforced the idea that impactful contributions can be made outside of high-level decision-making spaces and underscored the importance of soft skills for effective negotiation. The emphasis on effective communication within the New Generation Program has played a crucial role in my development, and it remains one of the program's most valuable aspects to me.

Advancements in Loss and Damage Negotiations

Despite being my first COP, I observed positive outcomes regarding Loss and Damage at COP28. There was a notable shift towards addressing the longstanding imbalance in climate negotiations, with a focus on serving those most vulnerable by climate change. Key developments included:

Operationalization of a Loss and Damage Fund: A pivotal outcome was the operationalization of a fair and funded Loss and Damage Fund, directly accessible to developing countries and communities. The Fund seeks to provide immediate support while also scaling up over time to meet evolving needs.

Integration into Global Stocktake: There was a consensus on integrating Loss and Damage as a standalone element in the Global Stocktake, alongside mitigation and adaptation. This recognition highlighted the interconnectedness of these pillars and the need for a comprehensive approach to addressing climate impacts.

Support for Developing Countries: Efforts were made to bolster technical support for developing countries through the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage which was established at COP26 and operationalized during COP27 and COP28 finalized the selection of the Host of the Secretariat and UNDRR/UNOPS were selected.

Reflections and Future Commitments

This progress paves the way for increased youth engagement. As the first young Dominican woman to participate in the New Generation Fellowship Program, I feel a responsibility to inspire more young people to get involved in the program and to take an interest in addressing loss and damage.

‍Reflecting on my experience as a New Generation fellow and the outcomes of COP28, I am reminded of the immense challenges that lie ahead. While progress has been made, concerted efforts are needed to address the existential threat of climate change. It is imperative to continue advocating for bold and ambitious action, particularly in supporting those on the frontlines of the climate crisis. By collaborating across borders and generations, we can build a more resilient and sustainable world for future generations. As a New Generation fellow, I carried with me the hopes and aspirations of my generation, eager to see tangible progress towards a sustainable future for my country. Specifically, I looked forward to discussions on Loss and Damage, recognizing its significance for my country and on vulnerable communities. Moving forward, I want to continue engaging in the negotiation processes as well at community level through the local groups that I am already part of through advocacy and different community engagement and also helping local communities understand the concept of Loss and Damage.

To catalyze a movement advocating for finance to address loss and damage, our primary task is to raise awareness about the profound impact of climate change-induced loss and damage. This approach aims to equip policymakers and decision-makers with the same level of understanding as citizens across all regions of their respective countries.

I am committed to continuing education on Loss and Damage in my country and region through Loss and Damage Collaboration (L&DC) and the organizations I am part of. Given the opportunity, I hope to attend SB 59 and COP 29 to further advocate for my country and vulnerable communities disproportionately affected by climate change-induced events

Personally, COP28 was a profound learning experience that provided valuable professional growth opportunities. It reinforced the urgency of addressing Loss and Damage and underscored the importance of collective action in confronting the climate crisis. As we look to the future, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to driving positive change and creating a world where all can thrive in harmony with nature.

Ana Nicolle Javier is a 22-year-old activist from the Dominican Republic. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Universidad APEC. She was a finalist in the COP Operation Program Dominican Republic 2023 by The Climate Reality Project and enhanced her skills through Climate Negotiation Training at the Program On Negotiation at Harvard University. Ana's leadership extends to her role as Deputy Director of COP 26 within the XIII International Model of United Nations (MINUME), by the Ministry of Education. Currently, she serves as Project Assistant at the Global Green Growth Institute, contributing to green initiatives.Ana has been a Youth Consultant for the UNFPA Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) and actively volunteers in the Ministry of Education's Educational Leadership Program. As Vice-President of the Soy Ecológico Reciclo Foundation (SER), she focuses on ecological preservation and recycling. Notably, Ana is also a winner for the National Youth Award for Preserving and Promoting Natural Resources in 2024.