Who’s attending COP28 in Dubai — and who’s giving it a miss?

Modi, Sunak, Macron and multiple Middle Eastern leaders are there. Joe Biden and Xi Jinping are likely skipping it.

Over 160 world leaders are attending COP28 at Expo City, Dubai [AP Photo/Peter Dejong]

More than a hundred world leaders are expected to attend the United Nations’ annual climate summit, COP28, which started in Dubai on Thursday and will continue until at least December 12.

On Thursday, King Charles III addressed the conclave, as did Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At COP28, government representatives and climate experts will participate in negotiations around climate change mitigation while they also assess each country’s progress in recent years, amid growing worries that world leaders remain too slow to respond to the crisis.


Here is what we know about some of the prominent figures who are attending or skipping.

Europe and USA

  • Britain’s King Charles III
  • United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
  • French President Emmanuel Macron
  • First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf
  • Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz
  • Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni
  • Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte
  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
  • European Council President Charles Michel
  • Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez
  • United States Vice President Kamala Harris
  • US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry
King Charles III with Qatar’s Emir at the UN’s 2023 Climate Conference [Peter Dejong/AP Photo]

Middle East

  • Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi
  • United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah II
  • Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
  • Israeli President Isaac Herzog
  • President of the Libyan Presidential Council Mohamed Younes Menfi
  • Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous


  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
  • Pakistani caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar
  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo
  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida
  • Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi with COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni [Peter Dejong/AP Photo]


  • Senegalese President Macky Sall
  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
  • Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu
  • Kenyan President William Ruto

Latin America

  • Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
  • Colombian President Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego
  • Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena
Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the COP28 UN Climate Summit 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates [Peter Dejong/AP Photo]


  • United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
  • International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi
  • World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas
  • WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
  • Former CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates

Not attending

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen will not be attending the summit due to the war in Gaza. This year’s Israeli delegation has only 28 members, a sharp drop from the 1,000-member group the Ministry of Foreign Affairs planned to send.

US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, presidents of the world’s largest emitting countries, agreed to cooperate on addressing climate change at a rare meeting in November. However, neither of them are expected to attend COP28. Harris is representing the US after pushback over Biden’s absence.


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will also not be attending, despite receiving an invitation from Emirati leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Pope Francis cancelled his attendance two days before the summit due to flu and lung inflammation. He would have been the first pontiff to address the summit.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies