Opening Remarks at COP26 Side Event: “Loss and Damage from Climate Change: Impacts in SIDS – Financing Action and Support”

Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished Panelists,
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN DESA, is happy to be one of the organizers of this Event. The issue of Loss and Damage, in particular, its long term and slow onset impacts on the sustainable development, and aspirations of SIDS, is extremely important.

The world is being marred by the continued rise of global temperatures. According to the World Meteorological Organization, 2020 was one of three warmest years on record. It rivalled 2016 for the warmest year in recorded history.

We cannot lose sight of the unrelenting pace at which climate change is advancing. Regrettably, at the rate at which the world is tackling this challenge, we are on track for a catastrophic temperature rise of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, this century. 

We must act now. We must demonstrate our collective commitment today. Otherwise, we should be prepared for runaway global temperature rise, bringing with it tremendous destruction: 

  • for lives, 
  • livelihoods, and 
  • communities across the world, but especially in SIDS.


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

The Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism should be commended for their work, in advancing implementation of Article 8. 

However, the recent climate reports demonstrate the need to:

  • accelerate this work, 
  • increase our ambition, and 
  • deliver for SIDS and those countries most vulnerable to climate change.

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

In fact, the disruptions caused by climate-induced Loss and Damage – by extreme and slow-onset events – could hinder the achievement of the SDGs, and the SAMOA Pathway.

Recent Hurricanes and Cyclones – in all SIDS regions – are glaring examples of the impact of extreme weather events on infrastructure, livelihoods and agriculture.  The effects of slow onset sea level rise on atolls, and low-level islands in the Pacific, is a catastrophe unfolding in-front of our eyes.

I hope COP 26 will provide clear direction on the issue of Loss and Damage that acknowledges the serious consequences of climate change, for SIDS.

I thank you.

File date: 
Thursday, November 4, 2021

Mr. Liu