Loss and Damage associated with climate change impacts was first discussed and initiated at the COP16 held in Cancun in 2010, as part of the Cancun Adaptation Framework. This issue which specifically focus on the context of developing countries are more vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change, including extreme events and slow onset events were then formally addressed by the establishment of Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with climate change impacts at the COP19. The initial objective of the mechanism is to promote the implementation of approaches to address loss and damage in a comprehensive, integrated and coherent manner. (Decision 2/CP 19)
The main functions of the mechanism include enhancing knowledge and understanding of comprehensive risk management, strengthening dialogue and coordination among relevant stakeholders, enhancing actions and support through the means of finance, technology and capacity-building to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change.
The administration of the mechanism has been placed under the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. A total of 20 members, 10 each respectively from Annex I Parties and non-Annex I Parties forms the committee, governed by an agreement made at the COP20.
The Executive Committee wasted no time working on the initial two-year work plan that encompasses the following action area:
- Action Area 1: Enhance understanding of factors based on geography, socioeconomic status and livelihoods etc.
- Action Area 2: Enhance the understanding of comprehensive risk management approaches
- Action Area 3: Enhance knowledge of risks of slow onset events and their impacts
- Action Area 4: Enhance data on non-economic losses
- Action Area 5: Enhance the understanding of the capacity and coordination needs with regard to responding to loss and damage
- Action Area 6: Enhance the understanding and expertise of impacts of climate change
- Action Area 7: Encourage comprehensive risk management by the diffusion of information related to financial instruments and tools that address the risks
- Action Area 8: Complement, draw upon the work of the involve
- Action Area 9: Develop a five-year rolling work plan for consideration at the COP22
At the COP21, Loss and Damage is defined as a stand-alone issue rather than being a subcategory under Adaptation, largely due to the reality that there are significant impacts from climate change that could not possibly be adapted. It is also clearly stated in Paris Agreement that Warsaw International Mechanism of Loss and Damage associated with climate change impacts has been decided to be extended from being expired in 2016. The decision has been widely recognised as a necessary move which explicitly differentiate adaptation to climate change and contending with the associated losses and damages.
Following the decision coined at the COP21, the latest list of nominated committee members was updated on 24 May 2016. The Executive Committee has thus put on high hope continue its effort in averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage issues associated with climate change adaptations.
Written by: Diong Siong Loong (Kelvin)
Edited by: Choy Moon Moon
- UNFCCC, ‘Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts‘ Web
- K Mogelgaard & H McGray, ‘When Adaptation Is Not Enough: Paris Agreement Recognises “Loss and Damage“‘  WRI Resources