COP28 – 5 Tips For a Successful Trip

The 2023 UN Climate Change Conference – COP28 – is being held from November 30th – December 12th in Dubai this year.

Participants from all over the globe will be attending, and setting up the proper support for your executives is of paramount importance for a successful conference.

As a Dubai-based, veteran security provider which has supported clients at COP conferences in many international locations over the years, we want to share some useful tips for a great visit.

1.    Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world

As HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai once correctly stated; “if a woman wanders alone at any hour of the day or night without fear, know that she is in the Emirates.”

Dubai ranks as one of the world’s safest cities for crime and the threat of terrorism is set at very low.

Petty theft of bags, personal items or cell phones is pretty much unheard of, and your personal safety will not be threatened no matter where you are in the city or what time it is. In Dubai, if you forget your phone somewhere, more likely than not, it will be there when you go back, or someone would have handed it to the management.

There is extensive camera coverage and facial identification technologies throughout the city which also serves as a strong deterrent to individuals or groups with malicious intent.

 Do not hesitate to ask for help if you need it. People are extremely obliging, and service orientated, and will gladly offer help if you ask for assistance. Use a licensed provider.

The Executive Protection, security and transportation industries are strictly regulated in Dubai. Transportation and security providers must have all necessary licenses and certification from the local authorities in order to legally provide services. Using a sub-contracted sub-contractor of an overseas company, without proper vetting, may leave you and your clients vulnerable to complications with local law enforcement and insurance issues.

In the event that an improperly licensed driver is involved in a fender bender, or even cuts the wrong person off on the road in Dubai, and the police get involved, your driver can be arrested, and your client will end up standing on the side of the road.

Another important point is that each Emirate has its own security and transport licensing authority. This means that a security provider from Abu Dhabi, is not necessarily licensed to provide services in Dubai.

To avoid problems, carry out your due diligence and be sure that companies which claim to have an office in Dubai, actually do and are licensed to back it up.

2.    Be respectful of local culture and law

The UAE is rooted in conservative traditions and while there is a progressive and tolerant mindset in cosmopolitan areas, it is advised to dress modestly and always behave in a respectful manner. Any disrespect to the local population is met with a stern and decisive response that can result in serious consequences. Discourteous behavior, such as cursing or rude gesticulating, can lead to real trouble with the law so stay calm and smile.

Double check whether you can bring your medications or supplements with you. Substances that are permissible in some countries could be prohibited in Dubai.

There is a zero-tolerance anti-drug policy which is strictly enforced. Medications that may be acceptable in other countries such as CBD oil, Tramadol, amphetamines, pain killers containing codeine and others can get you into serious trouble with the law.

Here is a link with guidance on medications:

Always carry a doctor’s prescription for any medications you are bringing into the country and if in doubt, check with the UAE consulate or your embassy.

3.    Currency and tipping

The local currency in the UAE is dirham (abbreviated AED). All major credit cards are accepted just about everywhere; however, cash will come in handy in souks (markets) or small shops.

Tipping is not expected but is a common practice. Be aware that most restaurants add a 10% service charge but if not, adding 10% to the bill is a good yardstick. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, but it is very much appreciated if you do. 5 -10 AED is well received by taxi drivers, bell hops, concierge, and the like.

ATMs are plentiful as are currency exchange kiosks.

4.    COP28 location – Dubai Expo City

 The site will have its own police station, fire station and medical care facility, however if casualties require advanced support they will be transported to a hospital.

WIFI – COP28 UAE attendees will have access to high-speed Wi-Fi and 5G connectivity across the Blue and Green Zones. The connectivity will be secure and tested.

Business Facilities – There will be two computer centers within the Blue Zone strategically located near meeting rooms. While a digital-first approach will be encouraged, printing services will be provided where necessary.

All visitors are required to pass through search and screening and present accreditation, and this may impact wait/throughput times, which needs to be taken into consideration for travel time.

Travel times from popular locations to Expo City during rush hour: rush hour on weekdays is from 0700hrs to 1000hrs and 1600hrs to 2200hrs.

In rush hour, the journey time from DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center) is 60 minutes.

In rush hour, the journey time from Dubai Marina is 30 minutes.

Rush hour in Dubai also effects Dubai Metro, Busses, and Taxi services such as Uber and Careem.

Dubai International Airport to EXPO City can take up to 80 minutes in rush hour, possibly longer due to accidents and time of day.

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Dubai Expo facilities


Blue Zone

The Blue Zone is an UNFCCC managed site, open to accredited parties and observer delegates. It hosts formal negotiations, as well as panel discussions, speaking events and cultural events across the two weeks of the conference. It is attended by:

  • 199 Parties (negotiators from 198 States and the EU)
  • Observers (NGOs, IGOs, UN Agencies)
  • Media
  • World leaders

Access to the Blue Zone

Only UNFCCC-accredited participants such as accredited Parties, world leaders, media, and observers will have access to the Blue Zone. The UNFCCC’s online registration portal has been open since June 2023.

The Blue Zone is in Expo City Dubai. The venue is connected to wider Dubai by the Dubai Metro.

COP28 UAE will supplement the existing facilities available at Expo City Dubai. A range of food and beverage outlets, toilets, multi-faith/meditation rooms and other areas as per the UNFCCC’s requirements will be provided.

If you have not received your UNFCCC registration confirmation letter, you can visit the UNFCCC registration page and use your tracking number to verify the status of your registration. COP28 UAE is not responsible for registration, and all registration questions should be directed to the UNFCCC.

Green Zone   

The Green Zone is a space managed and delivered by the COP28 UAE Presidency. It offers a platform to non-accredited delegates, including youth groups, civil society, NGOs, the private sector, and indigenous groups to have their voices heard, promoting dialogue and awareness about climate action.

Access to Green Zone

The Green Zone is free-of-charge and open to everyone.

The Green Zone is open to delegates and guests of the Blue Zone, Public and Private Sector, NGOs and the General Public.

Further information regarding access to programmed or ticketed events will be shared once finalized and tickets will be available through the COP28 UAE website.

The Green Zone is located at Expo City Dubai, adjacent to the Blue Zone. The Green Zone will be operational between Thursday 30 November and Tuesday 12 December 2023.

5.    Helpful information

Emergency number:

Police & Medical Emergency – 999


Dubai International Airport (DXB) – 55km/miles from conference center – approximately 50 minutes travel by car.

DXB has an FBO (private airfield)

Abu Dhabi International Airport (AHU) – 96km/miles from conference center – approximately 55 minutes travel by car.

Abu Dhabi has a FBO

There is also a FBO at Ras al-Khaimah – 130km/miles from conference center – approximately 1:15 travel by car.


Hotels in Dubai generally offer a high level of quality service, safety and comfort. All the high-end hotels in the vicinity of the Expo are good options. Try not to stay too far out as traffic will be challenging.

We hope you have found value in our article and please do not hesitate to reach out should you have any questions or require further information: [email protected] or [email protected]