UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK — Ambassador and Permanent Representative Antonio M. Lagdameo opened the first session of the Working Group on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters (PPED) under the Sixth Committee of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, following his election as Chair of the Working Group.
“It is an honor for me and for my country that I was elected Chair of this working group. I look forward to working with all delegations and count on your goodwill and spirit of cooperation to ensure that our work in the working group will be a success,” Ambassador Lagdameo said.
He also thanked Ambassador Suriya Chindawongse of Thailand, Chair of the Sixth Committee, who announced his election at the opening of the UNGA’s Sixth Committee, following unanimous support for the Philippines from his Bureau and the regional groups of the Committee.
“The establishment of the Working Group to examine the draft articles on PPED and to consider further the recommendation of the International Law Commission or ILC for the elaboration of a convention by the Assembly or by an international conference of plenipotentiaries is a breakthrough. It is also long-overdue,” Ambassador Lagdameo earlier said at the plenary.
“Just last month, we saw the devastation in the wake of an earthquake in Morocco, the strongest recorded in over a century; the storm and massive flooding in Libya; and the consequent loss of lives and destruction of property. We stand in solidarity with their peoples. With the mandate given to us, we can do more for the protection of persons in the event of such disasters,” he added.
The rationale for the draft articles rests on the frequency and severity of natural and human-made disasters and their damaging impact. These concerns have prompted the international community to act, leading to the ILC's formulation of the Draft Articles. These articles are intended to cover various stages of the disaster cycle, emphasizing response and disaster risk reduction. Their purpose is to enhance disaster responses and cater to the essential needs of affected persons. The articles stress that the rights of these individuals must be respected as outlined in the drafts.
At the opening session of the Working Group, Ambassador Lagdameo welcomed presentations from Ms. Anastasia Carayanides, Chief of the Intergovernmental Policy Section of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; Ms. Toni-Shae Aqeelah Freckleton, Chief of the New York Liaison Office of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR); and Ms. Isabelle Granger, Lead for Disaster Law and Auxiliary Role at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
As Chair, the Philippines will steer the Working Group in its mandate to examine the draft articles prepared by the International Law Commission (ILC) and further discuss the ILC's recommendation regarding a convention either by the General Assembly or an international conference of plenipotentiaries based on these drafts.
In 2024, the Working Group will report its findings to the Sixth Committee, aiming for the Committee to propose any subsequent actions concerning the draft articles to the Assembly.
The Sixth Committee serves as the primary venue for discussing legal questions within the General Assembly. Every United Nations Member State is entitled to representation in the Sixth Committee, a principal committee of the General Assembly. More information about the ILC’s work on the Draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters is available on this website: https://legal.un.org/Ilc/guide/6_3.shtml