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King Charles III will attend the UN’s COP28 climate summit in Dubai this year and deliver an address at the opening ceremony, Buckingham Palace said Wednesday.
Last year, the UK government, led by then-Prime Minister Liz Truss, advised the British monarch against attending the 2022 annual talks, which were held in Egypt. CNN understood at the time that, following consultations with the government, it was jointly agreed that the climate summit wasn’t the right occasion for the King’s first trip overseas as sovereign.
Few world leaders have confirmed their attendance at the talks. It is not yet clear whether US President Joe Biden will travel to the United Arab Emirates for the event.
The 74-year-old King will give his address on December 1, and also meet with regional leaders, the palace said. His visit comes at a time of high tensions in the Middle East, as the Israel-Gaza war threatens to spill over to other countries.
“The King will attend the Opening Ceremony of the World Climate Action Summit at COP28 UAE, at the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and at the request of His Majesty’s Government, on Friday 1st December 2023,” the statement from the palace added.
During his visit to the UAE, Charles will also attend a reception to launch the inaugural COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum — a two-day event running alongside the UN summit. It will be hosted by the COP28 presidency in strategic partnership with Charles’ Sustainable Markets Initiative, which he set up while still Prince of Wales.
The high-level forum aims to bring together world leaders and figures from the worlds of business, finance and philanthropy to drive forward climate and nature solutions and results.
King Charles III has been a passionate advocate of environmental and climate causes for at least five decades. He attended the COP26 climate talks as Prince of Wales in 2021, which was held in Glasgow, Scotland, where he urged countries to work with industry to create climate crisis solutions.
He gave a speech there in which he said the world must go on a “war-like footing” to combat climate change and biodiversity loss.
Last year, after confirming he would not attend COP27, the King instead convened business leaders, experts and NGOs for a pre-COP reception at Buckingham Palace in London. He ultimately traveled to Germany and France for his first state visits as monarch.
He was also a prominent backer of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord and discussed the importance of the agreement with President Donald Trump in December 2019, as the US leader prepared to pull his country from the pact.