Loss and Damage Summary

typhoon cloudA new mechanism for dealing with climate change’s worst impacts is in the works.  The proposed text for the Loss and Damage Mechanism (LDM) discussed during the first week of COP19 would require developed countries to compensate developing countries for the losses and damages incurred due to climate change. It’s not mitigation or adaptation per se: it is in its own category.

LDM emerged from the Bali talks in 2007, when parties realized that mitigation commitments would not do enough to prevent climate change.  Thus the Bali Action Plan called for “risk management and risk reduction strategies…and for consideration of…strategies and means to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts.”  At COP16, the parties established a work program to consider how to address loss and damage of the most vulnerable developing countries, and at COP17, they reached consensus on this SBI program’s elements.  Parties agreed in Doha at COP18 to establish “institutional arrangements” to address loss and damage to these countries at COP19.

In SBI informal consultations late this week that excluded NGO observers, the Alliance of Small Islandhaiyan image States (AOSIS) argued for UNFCCC management of LDM and dedicated funding from a source other than adaptation funding.  Like AOSIS, the G77+ China requested UNFCCC oversight, and explicitly asked for a methodical response to loss and damage from extreme weather events and slow onset events.  The G77 also pointed out that developed country parties had not fulfilled their COP16 promise of money, technology, and capacity-building for developing countries.

In contrast, the EU prefers to work within the existing UNFCCC structures, and the US does not want to admit any financial liability. Norway is the only donor country offering specifics, advocating for a flexible approach to different circumstances and proposing a four-year coordination group of representatives from the Adaptation Committee, Least Developed Country Expert Group, Technology Committee, and Consultative Group of Experts.  Norway also encourages developing countries to add climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction to their long term planning and development schemes.