The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

COP28 Official Side Event: Enhanced Transparency for Small Island Developing States

Remarks by Jorge Moreira da Silva, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director, at the 'Enhanced Transparency for Small Island Developing States' official COP28 side event, co-hosted by Antigua and Barbuda, Greenhouse Gas Management Institute and Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT).

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Honorable Minister Joseph, His Excellency Ambassador Luteru, distinguished colleagues,

It is indeed a pleasure to be here today to discuss the all important issue of transparency in climate action - and how Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are leading in this area.

In global efforts to address climate change, there is a significant implementation gap that must be bridged to respond to the urgency and magnitude of the global challenge. UNEP’s recent Emission Gap Report 2023 - among others- clearly highlights this gap.

At UNOPS - we have a focus on operation. Our business is implementation and through our expertise in infrastructure, procurement and project management services, we offer practical solutions to help combat climate change.

Through this work, we provide solutions for mitigation and adaptation, supporting partners to implement action and achieve their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.

One of the many ways in which UNOPS supports climate action is through the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT).

ICAT was established in 2015 at the COP that adopted the Paris Agreement, to support implementation of the Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework.

Today, the initiative works with over 40 developing countries ranging from large countries, like Nigeria, to small islands, such as those in this session, to help them advance on their implementation challenges by building effective climate data frameworks to plan, manage and track climate action.

Why is transparency so important?

ICAT’s work is hugely important - because transparency is the backbone of the Paris Agreement, the only functioning mechanism our world has to address climate change.

The first global stocktake - which is prominent on the agenda of this COP- clearly shows that the world is not on track towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Its findings will inform countries’ national climate commitments (NDCs) to be brought forward in 2025, paving the way for accelerated action.

And if we want to get the Paris Agreement targets back on track - we need to further enhance and scale up transparency efforts.

SIDS are role models in this regard.

Reporting is a hard obligation under the Paris Agreement and the basis for international transparency, but climate data is even more important domestically.

Transparency presents countries with the opportunity to bring about the transformation required to achieve the global climate change objectives. The foundation of transparency is good data – numbers that show the effect of climate actions, not only on greenhouse gasses but on other aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals, such as employment, economic growth, and health.

All this data is needed to shape climate policy making, and to engage stakeholders across all sectors. It also helps attract much needed finance to fund the implementation.

SIDS leadership on transparency

SIDS are leveraging transparency to effectively plan and implement climate action, including their NDCs, in accordance with global needs and their national development priorities, showcasing their leadership in climate action.

These nations face mounting and unique climate change challenges, yet are demonstrating remarkable resilience and leadership. They are among the most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. Despite their negligible contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions, they are actively advancing their mitigation efforts.

Amidst adversity, SIDS are harnessing the power of data, and championing transparency as a critical driver of climate action and sustainable development.

And this panel offers such valuable insight into how you achieve this.

UNOPS stands by SIDS in your efforts to drive climate action, including through your pioneering reliance on data. And we are committed to supporting SIDS on your path towards the SDGs and beyond in the implementation of the new 10-year Programme of Action to be adopted at the 4th International Conference in 2024.

Thank you.

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