While loss and damage has seemed all but forgotten at this SB, ECO expects the UNFCCC’s first Pacific island Presidency to inject COP23 with a strong dose of the reality of climate impacts, thus directing some much-needed attention towards L&D. Although there is no major decision on L&D for November, Fiji’s own extreme vulnerability to losses and damages should create a push for ambitious outcomes.
At least some L&D discussion will occur at COP23, when the Warsaw International Mechanism’s Executive Committee reports on its efforts to flesh out its five-year work plan. So here are a few suggestions on what needs to happen before COP23 to ensure progress on L&D befitting a Fiji Presidency.
First, Parties and non-state actors should actively engage in the drafting of the WIM’s five-year work plan, especially at October’s ExCom meeting. Usually, work plans are negotiated in technical bodies and then reported to the COP, but are not reopened to substantial revisions. Therefore, key issues, such as institutional arrangements and additional sources to provide financial support for loss and damage, must be addressed in the ExCom’s pre-COP draft. ECO will be carefully monitoring how Parties — especially wealthy countries that have resisted supporting L&D despite pledging to do so in Paris — contribute to the ExCom’s work.
Second, ECO hopes to see a side event on financing L&D at COP23. Such an event was originally planned for COP22 but never happened, leaving a serious need for a dedicated event to frame and focus the L&D finance discussion. And, hey, while we’re at it — why not designate a full day at COP23 as Loss and Damage Day?
Third, a decision providing the WIM ExCom itself with enough reliable funding to do its job is long overdue, and would be a valuable COP23 outcome.
Finally, ECO sees many less obvious but crucial steps on L&D that could be taken at COP23. Decisions could establish L&D finance as separate from adaptation funding; clarify pathways for provision of L&D finance; set funding targets; launch COP work on migration; expand support for vulnerable country insurance pools — and the list goes on.
Parties at COP23 have the opportunity to build an impressive legacy on L&D under the first small island Presidency, and a strong foundation for this legacy must be laid in the months leading up to the COP.