Updated Loss and Damage text – “Warsaw international mechanism” under Cancun Adaptation Framework, still L&D not LDM

As of Saturday morning, the COP 19 delegates negotiated a new draft text (FCCC/CP/2013/L.15) for the international arrangement for loss and damage (L&D), hereinafter referred to as the “Warsaw international mechanism” (para. 1). The draft text outlines the general structure of the international mechanism, recalling decisions 1/CP.16, 7/CP.17, and 3/CP.18 but most of the discussion will center around paragraph 1, which places loss and damage “under” the Cancun Adaptation Framework (CAF).


Under the UNFCCC, COP 19 had the legal mandate from Decision 3/CP.19 in the Doha Climate Gateway to “establish institutional arrangements, such as an international mechanism, including functions and modalities, to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change” (Decision 3/CP.18, para. 9), including extreme events and slow onset events. The COP 19 “establishes” the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage under the CAF, which would enhance action on adaptation under the five clusters of implementation, support, institutions, principles, and stakeholder engagement (para.1). This language means that L&D will not be a stand alone mechanism but will operate “under” the CAF, which was not advocated by G77 + China, AOSIS and other developing countries.

The draft text outlines how the Warsaw international mechanism will have an executive committee, consisting of two representatives from the following bodies under the Convention, to ensure “balanced representation” (para. 4): Adaptation Committee, the Least Developed Countries Expert Group, the Standing Committee on Finance, Technology Executive Committee and the Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from Parties not included in Alex I of the UNFCCC.

Also, the Warsaw international mechanism outlines a timeframe for future discussions. The workplan for L&D would operate over the entire 2014 calendar year to establish a two-year work plan for implementation of the Warsaw international mechanism. The executive committee will meet by March 2014 to develop an initial two-year workplan by COP 21 in December 2014 (para. 8-9). Then, the executive committee would conduct a review of the 2 year program by COP22, where this review would be part of an “appropriate decision” to be adopted at COP22 (para. 15).

The Warsaw international mechanism would fulfill the role of promoting the implementation of measures to address loss and damage (para. 5), First it would fill in knowledge gaps to improve risk management, increase data sharing and management, including gender indicators, share best practices, provide leadership and coordination, and foster dialogue at all levels. Second, the Warsaw international mechanism would enhance action and support for adaptation, finance, technology and capacity-building (as stated under the Durban Platform); provide information, guidance, and recommendations to reduce risks and provide technical support to the various bodies under the UNFCCC, including the operating entities of the financial mechanism (i.e Adaptation Fund); and facilitate the mobilization and securing of experts  to address L&D. Third, the Warsaw international mechanism will facilitate and coordinate actions to address loss and damage, including working with various bodies outside the UNFCCC and those within the UNFCCC. The language is very broad and vague at this stage. Substantive and specific modalities will be discussed at later meetings.

Furthermore, the new Warsaw international mechanism will aim to establish new institutions at the regional and national levels and should be country-driven. Vulnerable developing countries, in particular, will need these new institutions to enhance adaptation and deal with climate change impacts “beyond adaptation.” Cooperation, coordination and partnership between developed and developing countries as well as relevant stakeholders (including communities directly involved in loss and damage programs) will be vital.