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NEWS: Update on loss and damage from CoP-17


Kashmala Kakakhel from CDKN Asia, reports from Durban on the work on loss and damage by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation. 

Progress has been made at Durban!

Late Saturday night on 3 December, all countries unanimously agreed to a 6-page text on “approaches to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate to enhance adaptive capacity”.

Loss and damage involves the difficult task of trying to measure and assess the damage from climate change impacts in vulnerable countries. This text has elevated the loss and damage debate in the international discussion, as there are a lot of questions around the concept of loss and damage and no clear consensus on what it entails. It is hoped the adoption of this text provides space for all stakeholders to critically analyse and think of ways to collectively approach this challenge.

The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) at the 35th session held in Durban from 28 November to 3 December proposed the adoption of the draft decision to the Conference of Parties (CoP) at its seventeenth session.

The draft decision has requested the SBI to continue the implementation of the work programme on various approaches to address loss and damage concerns. It now invites the parties, relevant intergovernmental organisations, regional centres and networks, the private sector, civil society and other relevant stakeholders to consider the following three thematic areas while undertaking activities aimed at enhancing the understanding of parties to loss and damage:

  • Assessing the risk and current knowledge of loss and damage
  • Exploring a range of approaches to address loss and damage, including impacts related to extreme weather events and slow onset event
  • Determining the role of convention in enhancing the implementation of approaches to address loss and damage

An expert meeting has been proposed to be held before the 36th session of SBI (tentatively scheduled for June 2012) under the first thematic area, drawing on the expertise within and outside the convention involving relevant organisations and stakeholders. A technical paper will also be prepared before the expert meeting, summarising current knowledge on relevant methodologies and addressing data requirements and lessons learnt and gaps identified.

For the second thematic area, four expert meetings have been proposed; three at the regional level and one for small island developing states. The meeting reports will be considered at CoP-18 (the 37th session of the SBI) and a technical paper on slow onset events will be prepared based on the outcomes of the expert meetings.

Submissions will be invited from parties under the third thematic area by 17 September 2012, which will be based on the activities carried out under theme one and two. The secretariat will consider these submissions at CoP-18. Interestingly, the countries included in Annex II, developed countries and interested organisations, are being requested to provide financial and technical support to implement the programme.

In one week’s time, when the delegates head home, that is when the real work on loss and damage begins – and there isn’t much time to waste. The agreed text has set up a tall agenda to achieve over the next 12 months; CDKN will be keeping a close eye on this track. Watch this space for emerging developments.

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