Simon Stiell: Loss and Damage Fund Launches Solidarity with Vulnerable People

Remarks by UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell to open the first meeting of the Transitional Committee on the operationalization of the loss and damage fund


Today, you have come together to build something that is unprecedented.

You are here not just to construct a fund, but to create something much bigger: a lifeline for vulnerable people and places.

The task before you is not merely mechanical – it is creative, a chance to reimagine how our process can better save lives, livelihoods and ecosystems.

This is an opportunity we cannot squander.

The IPCC recently reconfirmed this sense of urgency. Just last week, it reminded us that the world has already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The consequences of that are already being felt, with floods washing away entire villages, wildfires devastating communities, and droughts fueling famines in some of the world’s most vulnerable nations.

Your deliberations will need to address new and innovative areas that we have never dealt with before in the context of climate finance. You have the power to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable people around the world.

We have convened a group of finance specialists from different UN organizations who can help expand our horizons, and provide insights that may otherwise not be readily available to the Transitional Committee.

This ‘technical support unit’ will work with the secretariat to assist the Committee in its efforts.

I have to express my gratitude to their parent institutions for allowing them to invest their time to be with us at this meeting, and to extend a personal thank you to the members of the technical support unit for their commitment to this cause.

The work you are undertaking marks a new chapter in our solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable people. The importance of your efforts cannot be overstated.

Throughout 2023, the work of the Transitional Committee will help answer critical questions related to funding arrangements for responding to loss and damage.

Some of these questions include:

  • What actions related to loss and damage need support?
  • What are the current funding sources, and how do they relate to each other?
  • How do these funding sources connect to actions that address loss and damage?
  • And what new mechanisms need to be created?

Ultimately, we must arrive at COP28 with a robust set of recommendations by the Transitional Committee that lay the groundwork for immediate operationalization of the new fund, and the new funding arrangements.

There is a lot of work to do, and not much time to do it.

I’m not saying that one year of hard work will resolve all the questions on the table.

But we must use this time to mobilize resources quickly, while recognizing that more time and effort may be needed to complete the picture.

The decision to establish new funding arrangements and a fund for responding to loss and damage was historic. It reflected a clear recognition by the international community that existing arrangements fall short of responding to the full spectrum of needs arising from the impacts of climate change. And that there is an urgent need for effective arrangements in this regard.

As we work together on this critical endeavor, I urge you to approach this work in a way that is creative, collaborative, and constructive, so that we can respond to the mandate and rise up to the challenge that is before us.

I assure Parties and all other actors that the secretariat is fully dedicated to supporting these efforts and laying a strong foundation for success.

I wish you the best of luck in your deliberations and I wish you the best of luck in your efforts.

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