Climate change-induced loss and damage in The Gambia: an investigation of impacts on The Gambia farming community

Climate change-induced loss and damage in The Gambia: an investigation of impacts on The Gambia farming community

This paper aims to raise awareness about Loss and Damage (L&D) and ignite conversation about how Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Loss & Damage (L&D) can be linked in order to ensure more sustainable resiliency strategies for The Gambia.

What is Loss and Damage? Although there is no official definition for Loss and Damage established in the UNFCCC texts, the UNFCCC literature review for the work programme on L&D uses the following working definition: "€œthe actual and/or potential manifestation of impacts associated with climate change in developing countries that negatively affect human and natural systems" ( FCCC/SBI/2012/INF.14 ). Definitions of Loss and Damage from civil society and researchers vary, but generally emphasize that shortcomings of mitigation and adaptation engender L&D (Durand and Huq 2014). Failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is associated with greater frequency and intensity of climate impacts, and an "€œadaptation deficit"€ will result in Loss and Damage from climate impacts (Warner and van der Geest 2013).

Pressure to institutionalize a UNFCCC mechanism on L&D has increased in response to the shortcomings of mitigation policy and the inadequacy of adaptation support for nations and communities already experiencing the worst effects of climate change. At COP19 in 2013, the UNFCCC was charged with creating the "€œinstitutional arrangements... to address L&D"€ it had promised a year earlier. This mechanism created, termed the "€œWarsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage"€ (WIM), was given the role of addressing L&D from extreme and slow onset events in developing countries “particularly vulnerable” to the effects of climate change (FCCC/CP/2 012/8/Add.1.

Key recommendations:

  • a national case study needs to be conducted on Loss and Damage in The Gambia. Such a case study would help policy makers protect the lives and livelihoods of Gambians, par ticularlythose in farming communities
  • the case study would fur ther help develop national legal and institutional frameworks to address Loss and Damage in The Gambia
  • by establishing a more concrete framework for Loss and Damage in The Gambia, better laws and policies could be enacted to address crop and livestock losses that will likely occur as a result to climate change
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