Key issues lost in ‘Loss and Damage’ talks

Posted on 3 December 2012
IBON International Update #7 from Doha COP18
Climate, Number 7
Doha, December 3, 2012
It has become obvious that the continued lack of mitigation ambition and inadequate resources to implement adaptation actions are causing increasing suffering and significant loss and damages of assets and properties in poor 
and vulnerable countries.
Research reports and evidence on the impacts of climate change throughout the world suggest that loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change can no longer be avoided through mitigation or adaptation. Therefore, multiple approaches should be taken. Some approaches may have synergies with adaptation efforts, but others will require taking action through new arrangements and stand-alone approaches, which could be referred to as “beyond adaptation” measures. 
Following a proposal put forward by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in 2008, loss and damage was included on the agenda of UNFCCC negotiations. The COP16 in Cancun, in its decision 1/CP16, decided to establish a Work Program to address the issues related to loss and damage in developing countries in a more comprehensive and actionable manner, with a mandate for the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI) to do this.
The draft decision -/CP17, adopted by COP17, invites Parties, relevant intergovernmental organizations, regional centers and networks, the private sector, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders to take into account three thematic areas when undertaking activities aimed at assisting Parties in enhancing their understanding of and expertise on loss and damage. The thematic areas are:
Thematic area 1: Assessing the risk of loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change and current knowledge
Thematic area 2: A range of approaches to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including impacts related to extreme weather events and slow onset events, taking into consideration experience at all levels
Thematic area 3: The role of the Convention in enhancing the implementation of approaches to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change
Since then, four regional expert-level workshops under the guidance of SBI, referred to in decision 7/CP17, have been held to generate knowledge, opinion and views on the above thematic areas. These experts’ meetings have delivered progress in understanding the issues and challenges to be incorporated in developing the work program on loss and damage. Though loss and damage is a relatively new issue in the UNFCCC negotiation process, it has progressed well so far, which raises expectations of achieving some tangible outcome at COP18. The expected deliverables of COP18 on loss and damage are:
a) Finalization of ongoing work program and comprehensive response to loss and damage.
b) Establish a mechanism under the COP to assess diverse risks (both rapid and slow-onset) and approaches for addressing loss and damage, including by rehabilitating and compensating the losses and damage.
c) Consider the concept of a “Multi-Window Mechanism” put forward by AOSIS to address Loss and Damage from Climate Change Impacts as a basis for future negotiation on the
Global Region: