Letter to the UNFCCC regarding COP29 Observer Organizations

This letter was sent to the honorable UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell on February 29, 2024 on behalf of 20 NGOs operating Blue Zone Pavilions in prior years' COPs. UNFCCC acknowledged receipt of our letter and promised to respond. To date, no response has been received. The letter invites the UNFCCC leadership to engage in dialogue about how observer organizations can continue to engage effectively at COPs, and contribute to our shared climate goals.

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To: UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell

From: Admitted UNFCCC Observer Organizations, listed below

Date: 29 February 2024


Dear Executive Secretary Stiell,

On behalf of the admitted Observer organizations signed below, we would like to commend your leadership and the UNFCCC's unwavering commitment to bringing together Heads of State and Government, national delegations, UN and other international organizations, civil society, philanthropies, business, youth, and Indigenous Peoples to address the pressing issue of climate change. Your institution’s convening power through the years has been instrumental in creating the world’s most comprehensive collaboration process among these diverse stakeholders - all of whom are needed to develop and implement sustainable solutions on a global scale. We would like to continue to support you and this process as best we can.

In our collective experience, which reaches back to the early COPs, we believe that Observer organizations play a critical role in climate action, bringing regional, national, and local knowledge, expertise, and a wide range of perspectives, relationships, and implementation capacities to the table. As many participants have appreciated throughout the years, the informal briefings and dialogues hosted by Pavilions can complement the formal negotiation process. 

Although our participation is resource-intensive and complicated due to the limitation of access badges, COPs nevertheless remain the best way for many of us to engage on a global scale to find and implement common solutions to the critical climate issues that we all face. COP is a unique, annual opportunity to promote dialogue among many diverse stakeholders and the negotiators who otherwise rarely have the opportunity to meet in person.

Multi-stakeholder pavilions, in particular, provide a valuable platform to exchange knowledge and best practices, make critical connections, break through silos and build partnerships that support the negotiations and lead to viable solutions that can directly translate negotiated outcomes into action on the ground. Please see specific examples of these linkages in the Annex attached to this letter.

Meanwhile, we understand concerns regarding the growing size and quantity of pavilions at COPs, and questions about the contributions that some pavilions and organizations make to the negotiations and overall climate goals. However, calls to radically diminish or even eliminate the direct connection between the negotiations and the pavilions would also eliminate the very positive contributions of these diverse stakeholders on the negotiations and the implementation of their outcomes. We therefore stand ready to work with you to ensure that the value of these important vehicles for multistakeholder engagement are being optimized. 

As we move towards COP 29 and beyond, we would very much appreciate the opportunity to engage directly with you to identify the best ways to ensure that admitted Observer organizations can continue to engage effectively at COPs and contribute to our shared climate goals.

As a first step, we propose exploring with you ways how we can best support you and the COP Presidency in the run up to the upcoming negotiations at COP29, COP 30 and throughout the year? Beyond the negotiations, how can we collaborate on concrete outcomes both at the COPs but also that translate policy agreements into action on the ground?

Based on our collective experience, we would like to suggest starting with:

  • Ensuring a truly “just” transition by ensuring capital flows between countries and within country to enable the most vulnerable countries to transition.
  • Empowering communities to build resilience to adapt to climate impacts.
  • Advocating for effective climate policies and sustainable practices.
  • Raising awareness and mobilizing public support for climate action.
  • Working with women, girls, minorities, and underrepresented groups everywhere and especially in vulnerable communities.
  • Promoting climate-smart agriculture, food, materials and energy solutions, sustainable livelihoods, and gender equality.
  • Supporting forest communities in conserving and sustainably managing their forests, contributing to climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation.
  • Integrating oceans and other water bodies into all relevant considerations.
  • Highlighting systemic, mutually reinforcing solution opportunities among energy and industrial materials transitions, regenerative land use, oceans, and other water bodies - which all play a crucial role in addressing the climate crisis.

What we would find helpful from you and the COP Presidency to support these and many other outcomes, could be: 

  • Promoting systematic engagement between civil society and high-ranking government officials and other decision-makers from diverse stakeholder communities to advance implementation and generate real, meaningful climate action.
  • Strengthening constructive multistakeholder collaboration with the help of civil society pavilions and events, highlighting their linkages to negotiations and the implementation of climate goals.
  • Continuing to provide sufficient space for the pavilions in close proximity to the negotiations as it was the case at COP 28 so that Observers can make constructive contributions to the negotiation process.
  • Replicating the COP pavilion experience on a smaller scale, during the year and throughout the world, convening representative civil society stakeholders at the regional, national and local levels without the lengthy admissions process, to make the process more inclusive and to provide opportunities for new data and points of view to enter the negotiations and global action.

Mr. Executive Secretary, we are committed to continuing our collaboration with the UNFCCC and the secretariat to actively contribute to achieving higher-level outcomes in the fight against climate change. We look forward to engaging with you directly in a constructive dialogue to explore further opportunities for collaboration and collective action.

Thank you for your continued leadership and your dedication to addressing the climate crisis. We are confident that together, we can build a more sustainable and resilient future for all.




The initiating organizations,

The Future Economy Forum Pavilion:

    • Convened by Natural Capitalism Solutions, Inc. (NCS) represented by Hunter Lovins (President and Founder), Walter Link, and Merijn Dols,
    • and SEKEM Development Foundation (SDF) represented by Helmy Abouleish (Co-Founder),

The Food Systems Pavilion:

    • convened by EIT Food ivzw represented by Lucy Wallace (Chief of Staff)

The Food4Climate Pavilion:

    • convened by ProVeg e.V. represented by Juliette Tronchon (Head of UN Affairs)


Together with our fellow signatories from the following pavilions,

The Food Systems Pavilion:

    • International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences (IAAS) represented by Prem Budhathoki (VP of External Relations)
    • Cellular Agriculture Europe represented by Robert E. Jones (President of the Board of Directors)
    • International Fertilizer Association (IFA) represented by Yvonne Harz-Pitre
    • SNV Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) represented by Simon O’Connell (CEO)
    • The Nature Conservancy (TNC) represented by Jennifer Morris (CEO)

The Business Pavilion:

    • We Mean Business Coalition, Inc. (WMB Coalition) represented by Maria Mendiluce (CEO)

The Faith Pavilion:

    • The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD) represented by Yonatan Neril (founding director)

The Ocean Pavilion:

    • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) represented by Kilaparti Ramakrishna (Director of Marine Policy Center)

And further fellow UNFCCC admitted NGO signatories:

    • Club of Rome (CoR) represented by Sandrine Dixson-Declève (Co-President)
    • Fauna & Flora International (Fauna & Flora) represented by Kristian Teleki (CEO)
    • International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) represented by Karen Mapusua (President)
    • Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) represented by Professor Icarus J. Allen (Chief Executive)
    • Regeneration International (RI) represented by Andre Leu (International Director)
    • Soil4Climate Incorporated represented by Seth Itzkan (Co-Founder)
    • Stop Ecocide Foundation represented by Sue Miller (Head of Global Networks)
    • World Future Council (WFC) represented by Alexandra Wandel and Marie Biermann (WFC Executive Directors)


At COP 27, our collaboration with diverse national and international stakeholders advanced the establishment of a new carbon market in Egypt. Among other opportunities, it supports the transition of 40.000 Egyptian smallholder farmers from carbon intensive to carbon positive agriculture. It significantly increases farmers’ incomes and food security, enables the shift from diesel to solar pumps, plants trees and increases biodiversity, social empowerment, and economic development. These COP27 activities were convened by several signatories, including Egypt’s Sekem and the Future Economy Forum under the auspices of Her Excellency Yasmine Fouad, Egypt’s Minister of the Environment and joined by national partners such as the Bank of Egypt and the Egyptian Stock Market and international partners, including the World Food Program and the World Bank. Other Southern Hemisphere countries have already expressed interest to learn from this initiative.


At COP 28, we used our food area pavilions to facilitate dialogues and mutual learning among Parties, Observers, farmers and other stakeholders, including representatives of major media groups to advance the scaling of successful approaches, such as Andhra Pradesh’s Community-managed Natural Farming (APCNF), a public-private partnership that already supports 1 million small holder farmers to transition from carbon intensive to carbon positive, regenerative agriculture. In collaboration with governments in India and other countries we are scaling adapted approaches across Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. These concrete climate solutions that reduce emissions and sequester carbon demonstrate that is it possible to implement large scale win-win solutions that benefit farmers and economies as well as biodiversity and the climate.


COP28 saw the first-ever dedicated Faith Pavilion for climate justice and action. The faith and ecology movement are coalescing as the ecological crisis intensifies. As an international coalition of religion and ecology organizations, we are energized by our greatest success to date. The Faith Pavilion featured 65 sessions and 325 speakers, all livestreamed and posted on YouTube. Among the speakers were Pope Francis (via video from Rome), Hindu religious figures Sadhguru and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Grand Imam of Al Azar El Tayeb (via video from Egypt), and Chief Rabbi David Rosen. The Faith Pavilion mobilized faith leaders and communities to call for urgent climate action, inspire the world with solutions, and demonstrate the pivotal role of faith communities leading a paradigm shift in human awareness to tackle the climate crisis. Over 4,000 news articles, including from The New York Times, Reuters, AP, and BBC, referenced the Faith Pavilion at COP28 with positive key messages. Faith leaders see the climate crises facing humanity as rooted in a crisis of the human spirit. Addressing climate from that perspective requires a major mobilization of the world’s faith communities. We seek to have a Faith Pavilion at COP29 and beyond.