Loss and damage from human-induced climate change have been a major priority in several recent global events and demanded holding polluters accountable for their harmful activities to the environment. Experts have also urged that COP27 should commit to establishing a Loss and Damage Financial Mechanism to support the climate-vulnerable nations.
It was highlighted in a dialogue arranged by Climate Trends and International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) on Wednesday (28 September), said a press release.
The webinar was attended by Dr Saleemul Huq, director, ICCCAD; Harjeet Singh, the head of Global Political Strategy, CAN International; Dr Anurag Danda, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); Shreyansh Jain, Accenture, and Farah Kabir, the country director of ActionAid Bangladesh.
Loss and damage (L&D) mainly refer to the impacts of climate change that cannot be (or have not been) avoided through mitigation or adaptation. It signifies the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to. In addition to economic losses and damages to households, communities, infrastructure, and industries like agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and tourism, L&D also encompasses "noneconomic" losses to lives, cultures, and territories.
"The overwhelming fact is that climate change is already happening and we have entered the era of climate change. The evident heatwaves in Europe, floods in Pakistan, and hurricanes in Florida have evacuated millions of people and these events will continue. So, we have entered the era of attribution of facing loss and damage. We have to adapt, deal with the consequences but also react to the causes. It is time to work with neighboring countries in cooperation and solidarity and exchange knowledge among countries," said Dr Saleemul Huq.
"Loss is a story of thirty years of inaction. It's about injustice and violation of human rights. It's about the greed and apathy of rich countries and corporations," stated Harjeet Singh.
Dr Anurag Danda also reiterated this with Singh. He mentioned that "People of Sundarbans do not create problems but face the consequences of climate change. Hence, we need to demand justice not only at the international level but also at the domestic level. Another loss, which would not qualify as damage is the loss of ecosystem services on account of the slow onset changes. Species are migrating that were of significance to the people of Sundarbans."
Singh emphasized that "The issue of loss and damage cannot be handled within our national borders. We must go to international forums like COP27 to discuss justice and hold the polluters accountable. If this process doesn't deliver loss and damage to finance, we will call it a failure because it puts a big question mark on the purpose of climate talks, UNFCCC."
Dr Huq also mentioned "Loss and Damage have been accepted as a provisional agenda and not fully included in the upcoming COP27 agenda. Europe has provided some funding and supported the Loss and Damage financing as they acknowledge the consequences. Hence, we should pledge Europe to delink with the USA and continue to find out the countries who oppose the process and keep on naming and shaming them."
Farah Kabir shared a story of a climate-vulnerable woman, Aktar Banu, from Bangladesh, who lived on an island. Kabir mentioned that she accompanied her to a World Bank meeting and Banu raised a question about how she could gain assurance to live in her own land as she had to move 26 times due to disasters. Hence, climate change has been catastrophic to many for a long time, and it is time to fight for the loss and damage it has been doing to these vulnerable communities.
She emphasised that "Climate change is affecting everyone in many ways. In COP27, we will unite to promote the notion of the ask for loss and damage finance. As we will not be able to adjust and accommodate the climatic threats forever, we must fight for loss and damage."
Highlighting the need for gender dimension, she mentioned "It is important to promote gender justice in the upcoming COP27. Gender justice has often been ignored in the discussion, but climate change has the worst impact on women. Incidents like the recent flood in Bangladesh left girls dropped off from school or married off early. These all are linked to the consequences of climate change. It is thus vital to promote gender and youth agenda while asking for loss and damage finance and they need an accessible funding mechanism."
In the concluding remarks, Dr Huq mentioned "We need to fast track the agreement on loss and damage for COP27 and what needs to be done. However, there can be the multiplicity of delivering the finance, but we should advocate for a governance system under UNFCCC, and not some other entities."
Reiterating with Dr Huq, Dr Danda mentioned that even though Denmark has stepped up, there is still a long way to go. It is not only making Loss and Damage funds available but also its management. We need to determine how the fund will be distributed and how much funds are given to whom and for what. Thus, the Loss & damage fund must be administered and designed well.