International Experts Unveil Pathways For Addressing Loss And Damage Challenges

By Outlook Planet Desk December 02, 2023

COP 28: The side event by TERI sheds light on fund allocation, scientific nuances, and inclusive approaches for effective climate action

International Experts Unveil Pathways For Addressing Loss And Damage Challenges
We need to develop a deep understanding of the water cycle within a rapidly changing climate, and this is really essential to discriminate between the impact of natural variability vs climate change.

The first day of the UN Climate Conference, COP28 in Dubai, kick started with a positive note for the Loss and Damage Fund, with immediate contributions by a few donors. The topic for the side event organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), ‘Operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund with Equity and Efficacy,’ could not have been better timed.

This event explored the various challenges involved in the establishment and operationalization of the loss and damage fund from three different perspectives: the political, financial, and scientific challenges that would need to be addressed for an effective loss and damage fund.

Beyond highlighting these challenges, the deliberations at the event also discussed some possible solutions and a potential roadmap for the operationalisation of the loss and damage fund in an inclusive and equitable manner that can aid developing countries in addressing the increasing adverse impacts of climate change.

Suruchi Bhadwal, Director, TERI, highlighted in her welcome remarks the role of the scientific community in defining the nuances of loss and damage, which remains a complex issue. “We see this as a substantial achievement for many countries that are experiencing the worst of impacts that are basically being observed the world over,” she said.

Establishing the session's ambiance, Ms Christine Shields, Scientist, CGD, NCAR, set the stage with a presentation on 'Scientific and Technical Challenges around Loss and Damage.' Following her insights, Mr. Amlan Mishra, Research Associate, TERI, presented on the 'Financial and Governance Challenges around Loss and Damage.' 

Key considerations related to science and the affected community encompassed discussions on challenges arising from loss and damage, available resources, and potential resolution tools. Detection and attribution were particularly highlighted during the session.

The panel discussion, moderated by RR Rashmi, Distinguished Fellow, TERI, engaged with experts representing civil society, professors, and scientists. The panel discussion revolved around three aspects: who pays the fund, who is covered by the fund, and who estimates the losses.

Sharing his thoughts on the recent development of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28, Harjeet Singh, Head, Global Political Strategy, Climate Action Network International, said, “I am relieved that what has been going on for the past 30 years has at least taken the first step, which otherwise would have been a political statement only.“We need to work on prioritisation and, hence, the resource allocation framework to address the loss,” he further added.

Highlighting the need for'speed and automaticity’, Dr. Anand Patwardhan, Professor, University of Maryland, stressed that the conventional method of project cycle cannot be used to address the loss and damage impact. “Climate attribution will become the climate rationale before what needs to be done for climate adaptation,” he said.

Dr. Patwardhan emphasised that while the discussion centres on nations, it's crucial to acknowledge that funds must reach individuals who have experienced loss and damage. The significance of ensuring access to delivery cannot be overstated, he stressed.

Referring to the earlier climate conferences on the subject, Dr. Benito Muller, Managing Director, Oxford Climate Policy, said, “I do not see this as a fund which spends 150 billion annually. It is very difficult to spend this annually.  What this fund should do is not only to pilot new funding arrangements but also identify new ways of spending the money, for example, the new insurance schemes."

With the spotlight on ‘data’, Dr. Diana Francis, Professor, Earth Sciences, Khalifa University, said, “Data is not only available on the ground, but a lot of data is also available on the satellite, which is not accessible to scientific communities in some areas. This needs to be open so that they can access the data."

As the panel discussion gained momentum, Mr. Rashmi directed the microphone towards the scientists to obtain their perspective on the day's topic of discussion.

“We need to develop a deep understanding of the water cycle within a rapidly changing climate, and this is really essential to discriminate between the impact of natural variability vs climate change”, said Dr Ronnie Abolafia-Rosenzweig, Scientist, RAL, NCAR.

Underscoring the importance of science, Dr Joyce Kimutai, Scientist, Kenya Meteorological Services, and Imperial College, London, said, “It is really important to have loss and damage as part of global stocktake, because then we will have regular reviews of what is required to address the impacts. We think science is important while designing these funds."

The panel discussion concluded with diverse insights shared by the panel that collectively lay the foundation for informed decision-making and proactive measures to confront the complex challenges associated with loss and damage in the realm of climate change.

As voices from civil society, professors, and scientists converged, the comprehensive discussion illuminated the path forward, emphasising the importance of prioritisation, inclusivity in data access, and the indispensable role of science in shaping effective strategies to mitigate the adverse consequences of climate change.