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Loss and Damage

loss and damage: coxs bazaar - largeEvidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has demonstrated that countries around the world will experience adverse effects due to climate change (2014). The vast majority of these effects will be in those most vulnerable and, specifically, developing countries. As a recent World Risk Report points out, countries in the south are the most at risk due to their lack of coping and adaptive capacities. Countries such as Vanuatu, Philippines, Tonga and Bangladesh are therefore more likely to experience losses due to climate change. Although similar evidence was presented early on in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations, this has remained an incredibly contentious issue until more recently.

The fact of the matter is that adaptation and mitigation will not be sufficient to prevent all future losses and damages. At this moment it is not clear what these additional costs will be and/or how much of these can be attributed to climate change. Still, it is important we start addressing such limits now since vulnerable communities around the world are already experiencing disproportionately more adverse effects despite having contributed very little to global emissions. This becomes an issue of injustice since this means the responsibility to adapt and prevent future losses falls on countries that have the least resources available to do so.

The purpose of this Key Issues Guide is to help climate change researchers and development practitioners get a better understanding of the issues and challenges associated with loss and damage, both from the climate negotiations and research perspectives.
Pushed to the limit: Evidence of climate change-related loss and damage when people face constraints and limits to adaptation
Women selling vegetables
M. Henley / Panos Pictures
Climate change related loss and damage undermines adaptation, and can impede progress in improving human well-being. Yet there is currently a lack of empirical evidence of the circumstances under which households manage climatic stressors, the resulting societal impacts, and the loss and damage that results from not being able to adjust sufficiently. This research report by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security seeks to remedy this, and provide policy-makers with better information, empirical data and analysis of both the challenges and the potential solutions.

From the Global to the Local

loss and damage: fernando sanchez - smallLoss and damage resulting from climate change is not a new concept but it is a term that has been widely debated. Vanuatu, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, in 1991 made a proposal for countries to pay into an insurance mechanism to address their future losses due to sea level rise. More . . .

The Definitional Debate

loss and damage: cop20 documents - smallThe term loss and damage has gone through a change in its identity over the years. One of the issues that Parties faced was whether the term only referred to impacts of climate change to developing countries. More . . .

Challenges with Measuring

loss and damage - APAN conference - smallThe debate on loss and damage brings into question the values and methods of measuring. The two items largely complement one another however compensation remains a strong point of contention. More . . .

Linking DRR, CCA with Approaches to Address Loss and Damage

loss and damage: Stephanie Andrei - smallIncentive for bridging action plans from DRR and CCA is to help prevent losses that fall beyond these efforts. Although the main difference between DRR and CCA is the level at which interventions are made, it is clear that reducing the underlying causes of vulnerability also address resiliency. More . . .

Loss and Damage in a New Agreement

loss and damage: ACH with the European Commission DG ECHO - smallWhile the Warsaw International Mechanism on loss and damage has given Parties a two-year period to gather research on items relating to the elements of the work plan, there remains debate on whether loss and damage should be included in a new agreement next year. More . . .


Image credits: Stephanie Andrei / Fernando Sanchez / ACH for the European Commission DG ECHO | Flickr

Latest Documents

Loss and Damage in a warmer world: whither gender matters? Gender perspectives on the Loss and Damage debate
S. Neelormi; A., U. Ahmed / Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative 2012
Is the gender dimension adequately embedded in the loss and damage agenda? Many vulnerable countries will have to deal with unavoidable residual impacts of climate change which will result in loss and damage...
Loss & Damage Associated with Climate Change: The Legal and Institutional Context in Bangladesh
A. Al Faruque; M., H. Khan / Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative 2013
Need for adequate national policies and legal frameworks: case study from Bangladesh While negotiations on loss and damage are taking place at the global level, loss and damage resulting from climate change impacts is...
Loss and Damage, Women and Men: Applying a gender approach to the emerging loss and damage agenda
N., V. Figueres / Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative 2013
This paper argues that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) need to pay a particular attention to loss and damage and gender equality. It is highlighted that there is a limited understanding of bot...
Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010
R. Heede / Springer 2013
This paper presents a quantitative analysis of the historic fossil fuel and cement production records of the 50 leading investor-owned, 31 state-owned, and 9 nation-state producers of oil, natural gas, coal, and cement from as early a...
A Range of Approaches to Address Loss and Damage from Climate Change Impacts in Bangladesh
A. Nishat; N. Mukherjee; E. Roberts; A. Hasemann / Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative 2013
Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, but has increasingly developed national capacity to address climate change impacts. Climate?related hazards are expected to increase in frequency and intensity, how...
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Stephanie Andrei is an independent climate change consultant. Previously, she was based at International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh, where she coordinated and managed research related to loss and damage.