LOSS AND DAMAGE, WE CAN’T LOSE SIGHT OF THE GOAL
In the frame of the Bonn Climate Change Conference, the intersessional negotiations which will prepare for COP27, on Wednesday June 8 it was held the second session of the Glasgow Dialogues on Loss and Damage, i.e. losses and damages (and related reparations, even though there are not mentioned in these terms) caused by climate-related extreme events.
The so-called Glasgow Dialogues, designed to last three years within the framework of the UNFCCC conferences, were one of the most disappointing political outcomes of COP26 in 2021, if confronted with the request of a real financial instrument in support of the most fragile and most affected countries. Such request has been reiterated over the years by the countries of the Global South, due to the increasing number and impacts of natural disasters. In spite of this, in Glasgow it was decided to take time for another three years to further investigate the topic and draft common definitions, deliberately remaining within the vague language of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.
During this first days in Bonn, the Italian Climate Network team witnessed hours of facilitated round-table during which many countries requested to present a short statement, helped by guiding questions prepared by the UNFCCC Secretariat.
As an example, the guiding questions of the afternoon session on June 8 were:
- What are the arrangements for financing activities to avert, minimize and address the loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change?
- Which support was most effective in averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage? What lessons could increase funding, and what practices could be replicated or enhanced?
- What are the barriers and challenges that countries face in accessing these funds?
- What can be done to improve and exploit the synergies and complementarities between the current agreements for the financing of these activities?
In this phase of dialogue, the focus on aligning with the Paris Agreement terminology (avert, minimize, address) when talking about loss and damage can lead us to lose sight of the main goal, which is in the first place the creation of a robust financial tool, based on shared assumptions. A second goal is to orient this branch of climate finance towards not only avoiding and minimizing but also really taking charge of the damage suffered by the most fragile communities, without letting them having to pay costly consequences in terms of human lives and material reconstructions.
Such double purpose has been brought to the table by several delegations from the Global South: Antigua and Barbuda, the Philippines and East Timor, to name a few. The opening of the EU delegate’s speech in the afternoon of June 8 (“being here to discuss, and a lot, about things we have already heard and heard…“) is emblematic of a poor political perspective of these dialogues, which will probably not lead to concrete steps in the immediate future. In short, it is occurring what was feared by those countries that in recent years, and in particular at COP26, had fought for a pragmatic acceleration on the issue.
We will talk again about this topic, directly from Bonn, at the official side event Evaluating Policies in Uncertain Times: Pledges and Politics between COP26 and COP27, on Saturday June 11 at 3 PM, in the Bonn Room – for those who participate in person – or live on the UNFCCC YouTube channel. The event is organized by Italian Climate Network together with UK Youth Climate Coalition and Greener Impact International, in collaboration with the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition and as part of the European project Spark.
by Jacopo Bencini, Policy Advisor and UNFCCC Contact Point at Italian Climate Network