Why the snail’s pace on tackling Loss and Damage?

We may all be sailing on the same ocean, living together in the same canoe, but it’s clear not everyone has their hands on the rudder.

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Can the five year work plan of the Warsaw International Mechanism deliver for Loss and Damage and Sustainable Development?

This week representatives from around the world gather in Bonn, Germany for the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), known informally as COP23. The president of this year’s summit is Fiji a small island developing state, one of the types of countries most affected by a lack of progress to tackle climate change. It’s worth remembering that this is the 23rd COP, which means that we have been talking about the issue of climate change for 23 years, in fact since the first gathering took place in Berlin in 1995. It was only at the 19th COP in Warsaw that the negotiators finally took the issue of Loss and Damage seriously recognising as a consequence of Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines. This resulted in the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) and an Executive Committee being established.

This year the consequence of lack of action tackling climate change has been well reported. Massive hurricanes in the Atlantic, leading to devastation in the US and Caribbean have been headline news. The economic damage in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida alone has been estimated at $300Bn. Less well reported are the communities on other Caribbean Islands trying to survive post devastation. Or the 41 million people in South Asia, struggling to rebuild their homes washed away by unprecedented flooding. Or the 38 million farmers across sub-Saharan Africa grappling with food shortages following two consecutive years of drought. These are all testament to the lack of progress on climate change and why Loss and Damage continues to struggle for the recognition it deserves.

Today at the COP23, Practical Action, along with the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) hosted an event at which speakers from Care International, The International Institute of Applied Systems and Analysis (IIASA), the Climate and Development lab of Browns University and Climate Analytics came together to discuss why this is the case. To shed a much needed light on the issue of Loss and Damage.

What are the problems that we are struggling with? It is clear that climate change is already having an impact on our ability to adapt and that this is felt most by the poorest and those with the least capacity to respond.

Three simple measures that could nurture some progress on Loss and damage are as follows;

  1. Take the issue of Loss and Damage seriously. It is clear after only two days at the negotiations that countries, especially in the global south, are getting frustrated with the lack of progress on Loss and Damage. This has been escalated by the recent devastation around the world, but also the failure of the Warsaw International Mechanism to deliver realistic progress.
  2. Finance is desperately needed. Currently the Executive Committee of the WIM has no budget, not even for pilot studies. As a result progress is impossible. Even the Technology Executive Committee has a budget and an implementing arm the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). Why isn’t the WIM equally empowered to drive their own work plan?
  3. Evidence and Knowledge of irreversible impacts are in short supply. Many developed country negotiators are still in denial about climate change. Therefore we need to capture the evidence of the irreversible impacts of climate change to be better able to articulate the consequences of inaction. Action not taken today means bigger impacts tomorrow. To try and provide more evidence Practical Action alongside several UK NGO’s who are members of the UK Bond Interagency Resilience Learning Group[2] will explore the actual costs of loss and damage – especially in off grid, non-monetised communities, often missing from global hazard datasets. However, we not only need to capture this evidence of climate impact we also need to better communicate this to policy makers and the general public to galvanise action.

Finally what about Technology Justice? Everyone at COP23 is aware of the potential role that technology can play in catalysing climate action, I will write more about this potential in a blog later this week. For more information on our partners at the side event please check;

http://www.icccad.net/icccad-at-cop23/

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/events/171106-COP23.html

http://careclimatechange.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/CARE_COP23_A6Final-2.pdf 

http://climateanalytics.org/events/2017/our-events-at-cop23-in-bonn.html

http://www.climatedevlab.brown.edu/home/watch-out-for-browns-cdl-at-cop23-in-bonn

[2] https://my.bond.org.uk/group/resilience-learning-group

One response to “Why the snail’s pace on tackling Loss and Damage?”

  1. Nasrin Salehnia Says:

    Greetings,
    For drought monitoring one of the best way for knowing about severity and duration of drought is calculating and computing drought indices. Many researchers have problems to calculate this indices in every kind of droughts (Meteorological, Agricultural, and Hydrological). For solving this problem, there are not complete software tools, and some of researchers try to develop small scripts to facilitate this issue. There are complete software in the following links that can calculate around 19 different drought indices in various kinds of drought. See the link for further information:

    http://www.agrimetsoft.com
    https://www.agrimetsoft.com/Drought%20Monitoring%20And%20Prediction.aspx

    Cheers,
    Nasrin

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