Climate Policy Brief 13, August 2014

Developing the loss and damage mechanism in climate change: The tasks ahead

The establishment of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with climate change impacts (the Mechanism) stands out as one of the key outcomes and milestones of the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Warsaw in November 2013. This brief offers our views, as negotiators from developing countries, who have worked on this issue in the past few years. Negotiating on the issue of loss and damage has always been very difficult, but is also often an emotional experience for a lot of negotiators from developing countries. But in light of those difficulties, there is also a community of individual negotiators from both developed and developing countries that works very closely on the issue.

The establishment of the Mechanism, as is not widely known, was not a last minute political compromise to break the deadlock at the talks, but rather it is the result of a longstanding call for the need to address unavoidable impacts of climate change that date back to the early 1990s and the early days of the international talks. The concept originated with the small island developing states through the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and has over the last few years gained the overwhelming support of other vulnerable developing countries. As science has made it clear that there are now climate change impacts that can no longer be managed by mitigation or adaptation, vulnerable countries have found common cause in the need to create the Mechanism.

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