Addressing the impacts of climate change through an effective Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage


Submission to the second review of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage under the UNFCCC

The second review of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage (WIM), due to take place at the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2019, provides an opportunity to take stock of progress towards establishing processes to address losses and damages and to find common ground on which meaningful work can be undertaken to protect vulnerable populations in particularly vulnerable countries.

This paper outlines a set of observations on Loss and Damage and makes recommendations for the WIM. It draws from the Loss and Damage literature and the experience of the authors over years of working in the context of the UNFCCC negotiations and within academia. The paper aims to advocate and illustrate how to:

  • Depoliticise the international Loss and Damage discussions by highlighting the need for urgent action on Loss and Damage and finding common ground on which to undertake that action.
  • Reimagine the role of the WIM to identify how it could have the greatest possible chance to protect lives and livelihoods, alongside promoting effective ex-ante (preventative) efforts to be undertaken by governments and communities that will reduce losses and damages in the first place.
  • Mainstream Loss and Damage within broader climate change, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development discussions, policy development and planning.

Summary recommendations

The authors argue that the WIM can support a holistic climate policy approach at all levels through five recommended activities:

  1. Establishing a Loss and Damage finance facility through new resources to direct rapid-response finance to where it is needed, facilitate increased availability of finance aimed at slow-onset events like desertification and sea level rise, improve access for poor and vulnerable communities to this Loss and Damage finance, and provide finance to support capacity-building and knowledge-sharing.
  2. Acting as an international overseer by monitoring and reporting on progress, including through the UNFCCC global stocktake and independent reports on gaps in Loss and Damage action and support, by gathering information on progress in scaling up Loss and Damage finance, accessibility and use of funds, and highlighting where inadequate climate change mitigation or adaptation efforts are resulting in losses and damages that are greater than they should be.
  3. Scaling up existing knowledge development efforts under the WIM and support for the improved collection, accessibility and dissemination of climate risk and disaster information.
  4. Providing concrete technical and financial advice to governments through a mechanism similar to the Climate Technology Centre and Network but dedicated to Loss and Damage.
  5. Acting as an international convenor to bring together relevant international bodies and regional country groups, to break down silo working and facilitate cooperation, including through long-term risk-pooling initiatives and international funds.

Example actions on Loss and Damage at different levels

(Source: authors)