Small island states score major victory on loss and damage

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Small island states score major victory on loss and damage

Small island states went into the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland with major expectations for progress on the important issue of loss and damage.

Almost every head of delegation for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and most delegation heads of the Group of 77 plus China, in their speeches at the high level segment of the conference of the parties, identified loss and damage and climate financing as two of the issues in which they hoped concrete action would be taken by this year’s conference.

Saint Lucia’s Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology told the 19th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that, “Addressing loss and damage from the adverse effects of climate change, including slow onset impacts, is an issue of fundamental importance to small island developing states like ours, whose communities and economies are trying to cope with losses to which there is little or no capacity to respond”.

“It is essential that we deliver, here in Warsaw, on the undertaking made at Doha, to arrive at a substantial outcome on loss and damage.”

It is for these reasons that AOSIS sees the decision by the Climate Change Conference to establish the Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage as a major victory for small island states.

This new mechanism will operate under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and will allow the Convention to address loss and damage from extreme weather events and slow onset events like sea level rise, which for years small island states have argued extends beyond the scope of adaptation.

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