King Charles III, Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan are among some of the leaders expected to attend COP28. The UAE also extended an invitation to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier this year.
The White House has not confirmed whether President Joe Biden will travel to the summit this year, with Reuters reporting that Biden is unlikely to attend.
It will be Pope Francis’ second time traveling to the UAE. Pope Francis became the first pope to ever visit the Arabian peninsula in February 2019 when he visited the city of Abu Dhabi to promote interreligious dialogue and support the small Christian minority.
The pope will continue the theme of interreligious dialogue on his final day in Dubai by participating in the inauguration of the first “faith pavilion” at the climate conference on Dec. 3 at 9 a.m.
The faith pavilion, hosted by the Muslim Council of Elders, will serve as a hub for faith-based engagement on climate issues and serve as the venue for more than 65 sessions with religious figures, scientists, and political leaders.
At a faith summit in Abu Dhabi ahead of the conference, Cardinal Pietro Parolin and 27 leaders from more than 19 different religions, faith traditions, and denominations signed an Interfaith Declaration on Climate Action Towards COP28, which says that “our faith instills in us a sacred duty to cherish not only our human family but also the fragile ecosystem that cradles us.”