CARE: Civil Society asks for new ‘Loss & Damage’ framework

• December 3, 2012
Flooding in India Climate Change

Creative Commons: Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties

Over 40 international NGO’s have signed an open leader at the beginning of the high-level week at COP 18:

The world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and many fragile and precious ecosystems, are already being hit by the devastating impacts of climate change. As a coalition of NGOs and civil society groups representing millions of people who are extremely concerned about our changing climate, we are calling for urgent action to tackle loss and damage, starting with dramatically up-scaled commitments on mitigation and adaptation at COP 18 in Doha.

Scientists increasingly warn of the impending dangers posed by climate change. The past 12 months have provided some of the starkest indicators that climate impacts are unfolding much faster than previously modelled. This year has seen an increasing number of severe floods and droughts and dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice – all cause for alarm. In spite of these realities, political leaders are still failing to act with sufficient ambition. Globally, we are well off track to meet commitments on emissions reductions to keep average global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Because of past inaction by developed countries and the sheer severity of the problem, we have now entered a new era of ‘loss and damage’. The first and foremost response must be to immediately and drastically cut emissions, and help vulnerable countries and ecosystems adapt to new climate realities.

Governments must now also recognise that we are in a ‘third era’ of climate impacts and address and redress the permanent loss and damage that is resulting from unavoided and unavoidable climate impacts. Poor countries and communities least responsible for the global climate crisis are also the most vulnerable. Given historic inaction by developed countries, we are heading towards the biggest social injustice of our time.

Responding requires a new framework under the UNFCCC to address loss and damage. This requires new approaches on finance, compensation and rehabilitation. It also requires consideration of non-economic losses including loss of culture, ecosystems, indigenous knowledge and territory that will result
from climate change. The adverse effects from slow-onset disasters such as sea level rise or changes in rainfall patterns that lead to migration, displacement and relocation also need urgent attention.

Therefore, governments must act in Doha to:

* Establish an International Mechanism for Compensation and Rehabilitation, under the guidance of the Conference of the Parties;

* Ensure global leadership and coordination carried out through the Adaptation Committee

* Continue the work programme on loss and damage under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), with active coordination and collaboration with the Adaptation Committee and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), which at a minimum should focus on:

  • Assessment of Loss & Damage at national level, in particular with respect to slow onset events
  • Approaches to address Loss & Damage, particularly for slow onset events

We have no time to lose to limit emissions, increase adaptation and support and establish a framework to address loss and damage.

See all the signatories on the CARE website >>


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About the Author

Karl Burkart is the Digital Communications Director for the GCCA, the Global Call for Climate Action, and TckTckTck, a network of 400+ diverse organizations working around the world for greater action on the growing problem of climate change. Karl also blogs on technology and the environment for a variety of publications. You can follow him on Twitter @greendig.

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