Evidence from the frontlines of climate change: loss and damage to communities despite coping and adaptation

Evidence from the frontlines of climate change: loss and damage to communities despite coping and adaptation

Report on fieldwork from around the world documenting loss and damage due to climate change

This study presents empirical findings from fieldwork around the world examining loss and damage caused by global warming. The report begins by defining and contextualising the emerging discourse on assessing, quantifying and reacting to loss and damage. Key findings from the five case study sites include the following.

  • Bangladesh: The coastal district of Satkhira faces a double threat of rising sea levels and cyclones, both of which increase soil salinity. Adopting saline tolerant rice varieties can help, but are still vulnerable to large cyclones.
  • Bhutan: A sharp reduction in rainfall has forced farmers in the Punakha region to modify water-sharing agreements and adopt efficiency methods. However, 87 per cent of respondents indicated these measures were not enough to avoid adverse effects.
  • The Gambia: The drought-prone area of the North Bank Region is showing a strong decrease in average annual rainfall, including a drought in 2011 which saw adverse effects for 97 per cent of respondents.
  • Kenya: More frequent and intense flooding events have impacted the Budalangi Division, resulting in widespread demand for often insufficient amounts of aid.
  • Micronesia: Although this island state has a higher level of development than other areas, it is vulnerable to sea level rise and other coastal hazards.
The report analyses these findings, concluding that adaptation and loss and damage occur simultaneously; that existing measures are not enough to avoid loss and damage and often incur costs; and that in the long-term existing measures have negative long-term impacts. Policy recommendations include:
  • systematic support at the community level is needed to assess risks of loss and damage;
  • non-economic losses must be assessed and included in policy;
  • greater efforts should be made to ensure that international mitigation measures are implemented;
  • increased investment in and scaling-up of resilience and risk-sharing instruments is required;
  • strong community involvement and independent assessments should be promoted.
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