Loss and damage: Taking stock and identifying priorities

Action agenda based on Loss and Damage workshop points to the need for continued work to address gaps and raise awareness

March 6, 2023

In December 2022, two dozen experts, including scientists and practitioners, met in Copenhagen to discuss priority areas for support regarding climate change-driven loss and damage.

Based on the discussions during the workshop and subsequent online deliberations, a summary has now been published, outlining an action agenda for continued work and research.

The aim is to identify, and raise awareness about, priority areas for action in loss and damage, building on the heightened attention on loss and damage since COP26 in Glasgow and the establishment of a dedicated loss and damage fund at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.

An action agenda for continued efforts

As part of the workshop, an attempt to synthesize existing knowledge on selected topics related to loss and damage was carried out.

The new summary contains a short overview of current knowledge and challenges related to loss and damage and points to actions to promote within the following areas:

  • Defining loss and damage
  • Governing loss and damage
  • Financing responses to loss and damage
  • Acquiring and managing data
  • Establishing a research agenda
  • Prioritizing adaptation

For the workshop, and as a basis for the subsequent discussions on the action agenda, a series of background documents used to kickstart the discussion were prepared and can be found here.

Additional research needed

Many organizations and experts, including authors of the latest assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, point to the need for additional research on loss and damage.

The summary of the workshop and subsequent online expert discussions also address this need by pointing to several actions that should be promoted. These include:

  • The development of a consensus definition of loss and damage – one that is both scientifically sound and workable from the viewpoints of national policy making and intergovernmental negotiations.
  • Taking action to support the integration of rights-based approaches in the development of mechanisms intended to address loss and damage.
  • The acute need to strengthen the institutions that govern loss and damage.
  • Actions that can speed up the process, possibly by learning lessons from similar efforts outside the climate change convention for funding loss and damage.
  • Concrete actions to address the data gaps, including ensuring that “voices from the frontline” be heard.

UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre will facilitate networking among interested individuals, including those who did not attend the workshop, to promote action on the priorities identified.