Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Opening Remarks
Loss & Damage Side-Event

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen

I call this Event to Order. I invite all participants to be seated.

On behalf of the five co-organizers, namely UNDESA, OHRLLS, FIJI, Poland and the Maldives, I have the pleasure and honor to welcome you all to this important event.
I also thank Minister Xie Zhenhua of China and other distinguished participants.

We are here today to have a frank discussion on the issue of Loss & Damage.

This Side Event is a demonstration of our collective commitment to advancing work on Loss and Damage.

It highlights the need for all stakeholders, in the spirit of the Paris Agreement, to address the issue of Loss and Damage in a more focused and coherent manner.

This Event also underscores the potential adverse impacts of Loss and Damage on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Article 8 of the Paris Agreement provides the legal basis for long-term action on loss and damage and anchors the Warsaw International Mechanism to the Agreement.

This Article, as we know, also clarifies, that action on Loss and Damage shall be cooperative and facilitative and be undertaken in coordination with competent bodies inside and outside of the UNFCCC structure. It also clearly outlines possible fields of cooperation.

In addition to Article 8, I recall Decision 1/CP21 of COP21 which requested the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism to:
• establish a clearinghouse for risk transfer that serves as a repository for information on insurance and risk transfer, to facilitate the efforts of Parties to develop and implement comprehensive risk management strategies;

• develop recommendations for integrated approaches to avert, minimize and address climate-related displacement; and

• clarify that the inclusion of loss and damage in the Paris Agreement does not provide any basis for liability.

While we commend the efforts of the Executive Committee so far, we all know that a lot more remains to be done.

Excellencies,

The ambitious, universal and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is critical to advancing work on climate action, including on Loss & Damage, especially for SIDS.

In many vulnerable countries, including SIDS, there is a realisation that potential disruptions caused by climate-induced Loss and Damage, by extreme and slow-onset events, could derail or slow down progress towards the SDGs.

Amongst the multiple potential scenarios of climate induced Loss and Damage, extreme weather events can destroy infrastructures such as water-treatment plants and wastewater plants, hindering water treatment and releasing raw sewage, and thus undermine the ability to reach SDG 6, while leading to flourishing diseases and epidemics sought to be avoided in SDG 3. Recent Hurricanes in the Caribbean and in the United States are glaring examples that such a scenario is plausible, as several wastewater plants were either overwhelmed or damaged and released millions of gallons of raw sewage.

This Event also offers a space for frank discussion on synergies between climate action and the SDGs.

I hope COP 23 will show leadership and provide clear direction on actions to address issues of Loss and Damage.

I, once again, warmly welcome all participants and our distinguished speakers.

I thank you.

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