Loss and Damaged

25 May 2012

ECO applauds that the negotiations on loss and damage have managed to agree on draft conclusions here in Bonn. Despite the lack of movement in issues such as finance and emissions reductions, negotiators have achieved some better understanding on the issue of loss and damage. The conclusions recognise the role of slow-onset impacts like sea-level rise and ocean acidification, and non-economic losses, but also the importance of involving local communities in risk assessment processes.

A crucial achievement in Bonn has been the reaffirmation of the mandate that was given by the Durban decision, namely to explore a range of approaches and potential mechanisms, including an international mechanism, to address loss and damage.

Negotiators will need to continue working hard to figure out the functions and elements of such an international mechanism. Possible elements could include coordination, information assessment, climate risk insurance, rehabilitation and compensatory elements. The Doha outcome must recognize that climate change is not only a technical and political issue but also one of global climate justice. The outcome must further ensure that the international community starts to build up an adequate response to the multiple problems of loss and damage from climate change impacts.

In the next months, expert meetings will be held in all developing country regions. ECO thinks it is crucial that the process follows a needs-based approach. Key questions include: What is the scale of likely impacts and what are the main problems of loss and damage? What are major needs in the regions that have to be addressed? Where are local solutions sufficient and where can international mechanisms fill existing gaps? And what scale of response is required?

All Parties should work to improve their understanding of the problems and develop solutions. Submissions on the need and scale of the problem would help advance the issue. These can then provide a sound options-based approach for the negotiators coming to Doha. Recognising that much of the loss and damage debate has many questions is no reason not to move forward on developing options and solutions for international and local collaboration to tackle the challenge.

ECO can does not deny its frustration over the fact that many Parties are failing to deliver ambitious mitigation, even though they have agreed to limit warming below 2 degrees Celsius and are aware of the most recent science. They are thus positioning the planet on a course towards a world of increasing climate change loss and damage rather than a transition to a truly low-carbon and climate change-resilient world. Mitigation and adaptation are key to minimise loss and damage. But they are no longer sufficient.

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