Archived project

The Loss and Damage Network

Goal: • Support the science-policy dialogue on the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage
• Identify practical and evidence-based policy and implementation options for its operationalization.
• Articulate principles and definitions of Loss and Damage.
• Highlight ethical and normative issues central to the discourse.
• Inform the broad debate by offering and discussing multiple perspectives on Loss and Damage, with a particular focus on climate extremes and climate risk management.

Date: 16 November 2015

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Project log

Reinhard Mechler
added 2 research items
Loss and Damage (L&D) has been gaining traction since the Paris Agreement took the issue on as a separate article, arguably creating a third pillar of international climate policy. Debate so far has led to vague definitions of the remit of the L&D mechanism; research on actor perspectives may help to propel this discourse forward.
Mia Landauer
added a research item
Arctic climate change is happening much faster than the global average. Arctic change also has global consequences, in addition to local ones. Scientific evidence shows that meltwater of Arctic sources contributes to sea-level rise significantly while accounting for 35% of current global sea-level rise. Arctic communities have to find ways to deal with rapidly changing environmental conditions that are leading to social impacts such as outmigration, similarly to the global South. International debates on Loss and Damage have not addressed the Arctic so far. We review literature to show what impacts of climate change are already visible in the Arctic, and present local cases in order to provide empirical evidence of losses and damages in the Arctic region. This evidence is particularly well presented in the context of outmigration and relocation of which we highlight examples. The review reveals a need for new governance mechanisms and institutional frameworks to tackle Loss and Damage. Finally, we discuss what implications Arctic losses and damages have for the international debate.
Thomas Schinko
added 4 research items
The Warsaw Loss and Damage Mechanism holds high appeal for complementing actions on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and for delivering needed support for tackling intolerable climate related-risks that will neither be addressed by mitigation nor by adaptation. Yet, negotiations under the UNFCCC are caught between demands for climate justice, understood as compensation, for increases in extreme and slow-onset event risk, and the reluctance of other parties to consider Loss and Damage outside of an adaptation framework. Working towards a jointly acceptable position we suggest an actionable way forward for the deliberations may be based on aligning comprehensive climate risk analytics with distributive and compensatory justice considerations. Our proposed framework involves in a short-medium term, needs-based perspective support for climate risk management beyond countries ability to absorb risk. In a medium-longer term, liability-based perspective we particularly suggest to consider liabilities attributable to anthropogenic climate change and associated impacts. We develop the framework based on principles of need and liability, and identify the policy space for Loss and Damage as composed of curative and transformative measures. Transformative measures, such as managed retreat, have already received attention in discussions on comprehensive climate risk management. Curative action is less clearly defined, and more contested. Among others, support for a climate displacement facility could qualify here. For both sets of measures, risk financing (such as ‘climate insurance’) emerges as an entry point for further policy action, as it holds potential for both risk management as well as compensation functions. To quantify the Loss and Damage space for specific countries, we suggest as one option to build on a risk layering approach that segments risk and risk interventions according to risk tolerance. An application to fiscal risks in Bangladesh and at the global scale provides an estimate of countries’ financial support needs for dealing with intolerable layers of flood risk. With many aspects of Loss and Damage being of immaterial nature, we finally suggest that our broad risk and justice approach in principle can also see application to issues such as migration and preservation of cultural heritage.
This chapter lays out what we take to be the main types of justice and ethical challenges concerning those adverse effects of climate change leading to climate-related Loss and Damage (L&D). We argue that it is essential to clearly differentiate between the challenges concerning mitigation and adaptation and those ethical issues exclusively relevant for L&D in order to address the ethical aspects pertaining to L&D in international climate policy. First, we show that depending on how mitigation and adaptation are distinguished from L&D, the primary focus of policy measures and their ethical implications will vary. Second, we distinguish between a distributive justice framework and a compensatory justice scheme for delivering L&D measures. Third, in order to understand the differentiated remedial responsibilities concerning L&D, we categorise the measures and policy approaches available. Fourth, depending on the kind of L&D and which remedies are possible, we explain the difference between remedial and outcome responsibilities of different actors.
There has been increasing interest in the potential of effective science-society partnership models for identifying and implementing options that manage critical disaster risks “on the ground.” This particularly holds true for debate around Loss and Damage. Few documented precedents and little documented experience exists, however, for such models of engagement. How to organise such partnerships? What are learnings from existing activities and how can these be upscaled? We report on one such partnership, the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance, a multi-actor partnership launched in 2013 to enhance communities’ resilience to flooding at local to global scales. The program brings together the skills and expertise of NGOs, the private sector and research institutions in order to induce transformational change for managing flood risks. Working in a number of countries facing different challenges and opportunities the program uses a participatory and iterative approach to develop sustainable portfolios of interventions that tackle both flood risk and development objectives in synergy. We focus our examination on two cases of Alliance engagement, where livelihoods are particularly being eroded by flood risk, including actual and potential contributions by climate change: (i) in the Karnali river basin in West Nepal, communities are facing rapid on-set flash floods during the monsoon season; (ii) in the Rimac basin in Central Peru communities are exposed to riverine flooding amplified by El Niño episodes. We show how different tools and methods can be co-generated and used at different learning stages and across temporal and agency scales by researchers and practitioners. Seamless integration is neither possible, nor desirable, and in many instances, an adaptive management approach through, what we call, a Shared Resilience Learning Dialogue, can provide the boundary process that connects the different analytical elements developed and particularly links those up with community-led processes. Our critical examination of the experience from the Alliance leads into suggestions for identifying novel funding and support models involving NGOs, researchers and the private sector working side by side with public sector institutions to deliver community level support for managing risks that may go “beyond adaptation.”
Reinhard Mechler
added an update
COP 23 synopsis of Loss and Damage Book to be presented at COP 23
 
Thomas Schinko
added an update
The Loss and Damage Network held its final writing for an edited book on the Loss and Damage debate, to be published with Springer later this year, on March 20 at United Nations in Bonn.
 
Reinhard Mechler
added a research item
In der gegebenen globalen Governance-Struktur stellen souveräne Einzelstaaten die zentra-len kollektiven Akteure dar, die Verantwortung für einen zeitnahen und effektiven Klima-schutz übernehmen müssen. Dieser Aufsatz vertritt die These, dass die Differenzierung der Einzelstaaten zumutbaren Verantwortung für den Klimaschutz die Bedingungen berücksich-tigen sollte, aufgrund derer sie als kollektiv-verantwortungsfähige Akteure verstanden wer-den können. Dies gilt sowohl mit Blick auf ihre historische Verantwortung für die Verursa-chung des Klimawandels als auch im Hinblick auf die Zukunft. Dabei ist für zeitnahen und effektiven Klimaschutz allerdings von zentraler Bedeutung, dass die Verantwortungsfähig-keit aller Mitgliedstaaten der UNFCCC erhalten bleibt, damit sie als kollektive Akteure ih-ren differenzierten Beitrag zum Klimaschutz leisten können.
Thomas Schinko
added a research item
With the impacts of climate change already being felt across the globe, it is imperative to manage and avoid further irreversible loss and intolerable damage. Adaptive learning, linked to climate risk management (CRM) and building on principled socio-economic analysis, can help overcome substantial scientific and political challenges, and provide operational support for debate around the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damage (L&D).
Thomas Schinko
added a project goal
• Support the science-policy dialogue on the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage
• Identify practical and evidence-based policy and implementation options for its operationalization.
• Articulate principles and definitions of Loss and Damage.
• Highlight ethical and normative issues central to the discourse.
• Inform the broad debate by offering and discussing multiple perspectives on Loss and Damage, with a particular focus on climate extremes and climate risk management.