Loss and Damage high on the Pacific list for climate change meetings in June


When it comes to climate change negotiations, Loss and Damage is one Pacific priority issue that has been on the table for many years.

Loss and Damage is when the impacts of climate change are greater than our ability to adapt, be that of our ecosystems, communities or countries. These are impacts of slow onset processes such as sea level rise, or those caused from extreme events such as cyclones or flooding.

The twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) held in Glasgow last year, established the Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage to explore ways to fund Loss and Damage in the future.

Climate change negotiations pick up again for 2022 with the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) in Germany in June. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and Climate Analytics have been working with our Pacific Islands to plan strategically for these, starting with the issue of Loss and Damage.

“Our people are amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. SPREP is committed to working with our Pacific Island Members for our safer island region. One way to do this is working in partnership with Climate Analytics and our Pacific Island Members for an empowered, amplified Pacific voice in the climate change negotiations,” said Tagaloa Cooper Director of Climate Change Resilience at SPREP.

“Much behind-the-scenes planning has taken place over the past months, which brings us to this stage of the special workshops on priority issues at the negotiations as we prepare for the climate change negotiations. Given the urgency, we have much more unfolding over the coming months to ramp up our engagement at these crucial talks.”

The call for a 1.5 degrees Celsius world to avoid dangerous climate change is even more crucial with the release of the latest Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The 2022 IPCC report on Climate Change Mitigation is clear that a 1.5-degree world is possible if global leaders commit to taking strong, urgent action.

Also needed is action on financing Loss and Damage for Small Islands Developing States to address the areas where adaptation to climate change impacts is no longer possible.

In 1991, the Alliance of Small Island States called for a mechanism to compensate countries affected by sea level rise, a loss and damage work programme was eventually initiated at COP16 in 2010. This then saw the establishment of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage in 2013 at COP19. Article 8 of the Paris Agreement also saw loss and damage become a thematic pillar under the UNFCCC.

Our Pacific islands will soon be negotiating with our global community to help us address losses and damages from climate change impacts that we can no longer adapt to, especially when these impacts were caused by greenhouse gas emissions from others.

“We’ve moving onwards, working with our Pacific islands as we prepare to negotiate for our survival. Our range of Pacific priority workshops will continue across the coming month as we lead into the SBI and SBSTA. Watch this space, we have so much more coming as our Pacific islands negotiate for our survival,” said Cooper.

The virtual Loss and Damage Workshop for Pacific Islands Small Islands Developing States was coordinated in partnership by SPREP and Climate Analytics on 28 April 2022. The sessions spanned context and issues, research and information needs, finance for loss and damage, as well as a pathway forward for loss and damage.

The 56th sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) will take place in Bonn, Germany, in June 2022. This meeting will prepare for COP27, which is scheduled to take place in November 2022 in Egypt.