The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Averting and Addressing Disaster Displacement in the Context of Climate Change

Remarks by Jorge Moreira da Silva, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director, at the 'Addressing displacement: Lessons learned from effective partnerships' event, co-organized by the UNOPS-hosted Platform on Disaster Displacement, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and the European Union at COP28.

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Colleagues, friends, esteemed guests,

A very warm welcome to you all at the UNOPS COP28 pavilion, and to this event on addressing displacement in the context of climate change.

This is a very important conversation. The latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), clearly show us that climate and weather related natural hazards are increasingly leading to disaster displacement across the world, particularly in developing and least developed countries.

In 2022, disasters triggered more than 30 million new internal displacements, according to global numbers from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. The majority of these were related to climate and weather-related hazards such as floods, storms and droughts.

We are gathered here at COP-28 - a COP that is focused on actions. And we know that climate action has a central role when it comes to averting, minimizing and addressing displacement related to the adverse effect of climate change.

This means strong and effective mitigation measures- that can avert disaster displacement and reduce and minimize displacement risks.

It means effective adaptation measures to the risk associated with disaster displacement, which can help people to stay in their location of origin and build their resilience, but also support safe, regular and orderly migration or planned relocation as a way of adapting to the adverse effects of climate change.

And it means scaling up efforts to address loss and damage in countries and communities affected, when adaptive actions are no longer sufficient. When people are left with no choice but displacement.

Climate action, particularly on loss and damage, cannot be effective if it does not integrate the work to prevent, prepare for, respond to and resolve displacement. Decisions on funding, and future action and support for loss and damage will need to be formulated accordingly.

The agreement reached at this COP to operationalize the new Loss and Damage Fund - is truly welcome. It is a key step towards climate justice. But these conversations should also include - and support measures to anticipate, respond to and address displacement.

I want to congratulate all partners in this side event, and in particular the EU as Chair of the PDD (and key supporter/partner to UNOPS in general) and Kenya as incoming Chair of the PDD for your work and commitment to prepare for and address disaster displacement and for the importance you give to integrated approaches implemented in partnership.

UNOPS is committed to supporting action on disaster displacement. We have proudly hosted the secretariat of the The Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) since 2012 - when it was called the Nansen Initiative Secretariat. And we continue to support its valuable work towards better protection for people displaced in the context of disasters and climate change.

The panel today reflects a wealth of experience and insight on measures to avert, minimize and address displacement. The principles of partnership and whole-of-government approaches are key to such measures. And I look forward to hearing more about your insight in these areas.

Thank you, and I wish you a successful COP28.

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