Canadian Underwriter

Rio Convention signatories expected to recommend institutional mechanism for weather disaster losses

November 15, 2013   by Canadian Underwriter

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Participants in an ongoing climate change conference in Warsaw are expected to recommend an “international institutional mechanism for loss and damages” from weather-related disasters, according to a United Nations document.

Rio Convention signatories expected to recommend institutional mechanism for weather disaster losses

The Conference of the Parties, which is the decision-making body of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, is currently holding its 19th conference in Warsaw. The framework convention is also known as the “Rio Convention” because it was developed after the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. One of the aims of the Rio Convention is to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system and to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations

“It is expected that COP19 in Warsaw will recommend (and possibly endorse) the establishment of international institutional mechanism/arrangement on loss and damage,” according to a briefing paper published by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). That paper presents UNISDR’s “observations and recommendations for the inclusion of disaster risk reduction in the climate change negotiations” at the ongoing COP 19, which ends Nov. 22.

All 195 countries that are parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change are represented at COP, where the representatives “review the implementation” of the climate change “and any other legal instruments that the COP adopts.” COP members also “take decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of the Convention, including institutional and administrative arrangements.” Canada signed the Rio Convention in December 1992.

An institutional mechanism for loss and damages should “build on existing capacities and initiatives globally, regionally and nationally and promote local and national owned disaster loss data and related risk assessments to support planning and prioritization of adaptation actions,” according to the UNISDR briefing paper on COP19.

UNISDR suggested in the paper that economic loss risk due to flods and cyclones in members countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are “growing faster” than the per capita gross domestic product. OECD currently has 34 member countries.

“Since 1980, risk of economic loss due to floods has increased by over 160 percent and to tropical cyclones by 265 percent in OECD countries.”