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Key issues lost in ‘Loss and Damage’ talks: Page 2 of 3

Posted on 3 December 2012
issues. This Multi-Window Mechanism consists of three interdependent components: a) Insurance, b) Rehabilitation/Compensatory payments, and c) Risk Management component. These three components play different and complementary roles and comprise necessary components of an integrated approach to risk reduction, risk transfer and risk management efforts.
 
d) Establishment of a second phase of loss and damage work program at COP18 and elaborate the function and institutional structure of the international mechanism on loss and damage.
 
Given the context and expectation on loss and damage negotiations, the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI) of the Convention proposed recommendations and a draft decision for further discussion and negotiation by the country Parties. The text raised disappointment among many of the Parties and CSOs as it ignored the critical issues that should be considered to address loss and damage. However, it created a scope of engagement for the Parties to deliver an agreed outcome.
 
While it is important to undertake immediate measures on the three Thematic Areas to address loss damage, the negotiation at COP18 is sidetracking towards knowledge generation alone, that is enhancing knowledge and understanding of comparative risk management approaches, strengthening dialogue, coordination, coherence and synergies among different stakeholders, and capacity building at the national and regional levels to collect and analyze relevant data for assessing the risk of loss and damage—all of these are to be implemented through an invitation to the Parties and relevant institutions outside of the Convention, as the US proposed. However, the key issues of addressing loss and damage such as establishment of a compensatory mechanism in the context of the notion of “beyond adaptation” and addressing the “residual losses” caused by both sudden onset and slow onset events are missing.
 
In the context of slow progress and protracted discussion on loss and damage, it is important to focus on at least on three major issues:
 
First: understanding the risks that will potentially contribute to loss and damage. 
 
Climate change has increased and will intensify risks in two main ways: firstly, global warming leads to change in precipitation and weather patterns generally, threatening agriculture and food security. And secondly, an increased number of climate-induced sudden onset disasters (such as cyclones, floods, river bank erosion, and increased tidal surges) and slow onset disasters (such as drought, salinity ingress, ocean acidification, and increase of sea surface temperature) will result in both economic and non-economic loss and damage. These are in the form of destruction of livelihoods, infrastructure, habitat, loss of territories, crop production, natural resources and ecosystem services, among others, and will eventually cause displacement and migration.
 
Many studies suggest climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of prevailing disaster events and triggering new forms of these events. As these events are becoming unique and dominant for a particular region, the SBI takes the view that both extreme events and slow-onset events will be considered as potential risks to loss and damage.
 
It is likely that loss and damage resulting from slow-onset events will be different from sudden-onset events, in
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