PROJECT: Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative
Project Reference: TAAS-0026
There is a significant gap between existing and projected emissions and the level of emissions that would confine global warming to a 2°C – let alone a 1.5°C – increase. Countries and societies are increasingly preparing adaptation strategies and implementing a range of activities to facilitate adaptation. However, at the existing pace it is unlikely that current levels of adaptation will allow societies to transition smoothly to a changing world. The frequency and intensity of weather-related hazards is expected to grow, along with the long-term adverse impacts of weather-related risks. In many cases this could exceed adaptation thresholds of individuals, communities and countries.
Existing mitigation commitments and actions are not enough to prevent dangerous climate change related impacts. Therefore, residual loss and damage, the climate change impacts that we are unable to prevent through mitigation and adaptation efforts, will be a defining part of the future response to climate change. Like adaptation 15 years ago, loss and damage is an emerging field and an increasingly relevant topic for the international community given current levels of mitigation and adaptation coupled with future climate change projections. Thus any approach to loss and damage – particularly at the international level – must seek to increase international commitment to mitigation and adaptation, the parameters that influence the extent of residual loss and damage.
Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative
The Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative was initiated by the Government of Bangladesh and motivated by the need to understand more about this emerging issue. In order to move forward the debate on loss and damage for the benefit of the least developed countries (LDCs) and other vulnerable countries, the Government of Bangladesh requested assistance from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) to help building a common understanding around loss and damage and provide insight into what it entails for vulnerable countries.
CDKN appointed a consortium of organizations, which includes Germanwatch, United Nations University-Institute for Environmental and Human Security (UNU-EHS), International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) to carry out this work.
The overall strategic vision of the Initiative was to frame the debate of loss and damage to alter the way in which decision makers and stakeholders perceive problems and solutions related to climate change. This paradigm shift has helped to build momentum for the international mitigation and adaptation response towards 2015 when a legally binding agreement was reached. The activities of the UNFCCC Work Programme on Loss and Damage was also a significant guiding element for the work of the consortium.
The Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative is based on a three stage approach:
1. Building a common understanding of loss and damage;
2. Building momentum and commitment to act on loss and damage;
3. Assisting LDCs and other Parties articulate views on the next steps for loss and damage.
The Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative had four main activity areas designed to both interact with and complement each other. The activities supported LDCs and other vulnerable countries articulate their needs vis-à-vis loss and damage and help create momentum in the loss and damage debate. These activity areas included:
1. Supporting LDCs in the Loss and Damage negotiations;
2. Conceptual Framing;
3. Case Studies on the realities of loss and damage vulnerable countries;
4. Driving national policy responses to Loss and Damage in Bangladesh.
Results and Outputs
As part of this project, CDKN achieved the following:
1. International Climate Policy: Under the auspices of Germanwatch, the consortium contributed capacity development activities to vulnerable countries and stakeholders in the loss and damage discussions and supported the UNFCCC process in general.
2. Framing and conceptual: The consortium contributed to the emerging policy debates around loss and damage through several discussion and framing inputs.
3. Empirical research: At the request of LDCs, UNU gathered empirical evidence around loss and damage in vulnerable countries. Furthermore, the consortium developed several outputs that helped to set-up an emerging scientific understanding of the various facets of loss and damage.
4. National activities: ICCCAD spearheaded several activities on loss and damage at the national level in Bangladesh, which were widened at a later stage of the project to discussions on the climate change impacts and possible approaches to address losses and damages in other parts of Asia.
This was carried out in 3 phases.
Phase I (November 2011 – February 2012)
Scoping: The first phase of the project consisted of examining the needs in the policy arena (particularly with LDCs), by contributing to the articulation of a policy work plan on loss and damage (during and after COP17 in Durban) and to further guide the work during the project. During the first phase the ‘Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative’ was officially launched.
Phase II (March 2012 – February 2013)
Research and policy setting for vulnerable countries: The second phase of the project consisted of research agenda setting, through case studies; and international policy support for vulnerable countries and linking the national activities in Bangladesh to the international process in the run-up to COP18
Phase III (February 2013 – December 2013)
Expanding: In the third and final phase of the project technical understanding on loss and damage in the policy space was both expanded and deepened. Furthermore, the research agenda on loss and damage was strengthened; discussions on loss and damage in Bangladesh continued and were expanded to regional stakeholders over the course of the project.
CDKN funding: £1,200,000
Image courtesy stephenleahy.net