Why do developing countries need support to address loss and damage?
Though many countries are already incurring loss and damage - including high income economies - vulnerable developing countries remain the most vulnerable and exposed to loss and damage from climate change impacts.
Vulnerable developing countries have communicated what they need in order to address loss and damage from the escalating impacts of climate change including:
- Adequate climate information services, risk and needs assessments to inform planning;
- Support to develop and implement approaches to address loss and damage from both extreme weather events and slow onset climatic processes;
- Support to develop and implement financial tools including social protection; and
- Measures to support people and communities displaced by loss and damage at all levels.
There are some initiatives, such as the WMO’s efforts to ensure countries have adequate climate information services, the WFP’s R4 Resilience Initiative and the World Bank’s Sahel Adaptive Social Protection Program. However, these initiatives are addressing a fraction of the needs in vulnerable developing countries. Support must be ramped up urgently and significantly to begin meeting the scale of the needs.
Much more focus is needed on approaches to address irreversible losses at all levels, which cannot be recovered, including migration and displacement.
Work on Loss and Damage under the UNFCCC must focus on addressing loss and damage, which is the mandate of the WIM – inclusion of averting and minimising loss and damage in the Paris Agreement must not distract from mobilising financial resources to address loss and damage.
A narrative has emerged characterising Loss and Damage as a political issue, which has been blamed for the lack of progress on mobilising action and support for vulnerable developing countries. However, this needs to be challenged and concrete ways of addressing loss and damage on the ground at the international, national and sub-national levels need to be brought to the fore, which will make a profound difference to the lives of vast numbers of vulnerable people and communities already incurring loss and damage from the impacts of climate change.