COP28 climate summit will serve mostly vegan food for the first time in its history, confirms UN

Author: Maria Chiorando

Read Time:   |  28th July 2023

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COP28, which is set to be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, will serve plant-based food as it is better for the environment than animal products


COP28 is set to serve a mostly plant-based menu for the first time in its history, organisers have confirmed.

This year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

It will see delegates come together to discuss global action on climate change, agree on common goals and commitments, and negotiate measures to reduce emissions and pollution.

It is ditching animal foods because of their environmental impact, according to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) COP28 Presidency-Designate, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber.

The move follows advocacy by youth activists, alongside other campaigners, who have been calling on the event to adopt a vegan menu for several years.

Calling for a plant-based menu

In April, global food awareness organisation ProVeg supported more than 140 youth and civil society organisations, including Youth and Children Constituency of the UNFCCC (YOUNGO), in sending a letter to the COP28 Presidency.

The letter called for at least three-quarters of the menu to be plant-based, and for the menu to be culturally inclusive.

Responding to YOUNGO by letter, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber wrote: “Inclusivity is at the core of COP28 – including operations – and we recognise the urgency of the challenges you have outlined in your letter.

“The COP28 Presidency also has a firm focus on transformational action on food systems within the wider
global climate change agenda.

“As part of this, we intend to demonstrate sustainable food systems in action at COP28 itself. My team has been working to ensure the availability of plant-based food options that are affordable, nutritious, and locally and regionally sourced, with clear emissions labelling.”

COP27 climate conference in November 2022. Photo © Sean Gallup / Staff via Getty Images

COP27 climate conference in November 2022. Photo © Sean Gallup / Staff via Getty Images

Vegan food at COP28

Speaking about the decision to serve mainly plant-based food at the event, Lana Weidgenant, youth activist and ProVeg International campaigns and policy officer, told VegNews it was ‘hugely important’.

She explained. “This is a hugely important decision because having plant-based foods at COP28 is an effective way of connecting the dots between global food system emissions and the solution to bringing those emissions down as quickly, and tastefully as possible.

ProVeg is participating in COP28, saying it will be maintaining a presence there to ‘ensure that a transformation of our food-systems towards more plant-based diets is at the core of the discussions’.

According to the organisation: “World leaders need to acknowledge the immense pressure that animal agriculture places on land and water systems, while also accounting for up to 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

Not quite sure about the link between diet and the planet? Check out these 6 surprising ways veganism helps the environment

Featured photo © coldsnowstorm via Getty Images

Written by

Maria Chiorando

Maria is an editor and journalist. Her work has been published by the Huffington Post, the Guardian, TechnoBuffalo, Plant Based News, and Kent on Sunday among other national and regional titles.

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