Developing countries outline elements for decision on loss and damage mechanism

Madrid, 5 December 2019 (TWN)

Developing countries under the Group of 77 and China have proposed ‘elements or components’ for what they expect for a decision on the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (known as the WIM) at the Madrid climate talks.

The informal consultations which began on 3rd Dec and continued on 4 Dec, are taking place under the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Bodies, and are being co-facilitated by Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago) and Marianne Karlsen (Norway).

Following interventions by Parties, the co-facilitators are expected to produce “a note” for the consultations which will continue on Dec 5.

(At the intersessional meeting of the Subsidiary Bodies held in June 2019, Parties agreed on the terms of reference (TOR) for the review of the WIM. According to the TOR, the objective of the 2019 review is to “consider, inter alia, progress on the implementation of the workplan of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism (ExCom), as well as its long-term vision that guides ways in which the WIM may be enhanced and strengthened, as appropriate.” On the scope of the review, the following was agreed to: Para 3 reads: “Parties will review the WIM since its establishment in 2013, taking into account those segments of the population that are already vulnerable….”. Para 4 reads: The review will focus on, inter alia: “(a) The performance of the WIM and its functions as set out in decision 2/CP.19 and how it continues to promote the implementation of approaches to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change; (b) The structure of the WIM; (c) The usefulness and use of the outputs of the WIM, including for developing country Parties; (d) Collaboration, coherence and partnerships with bodies, entities and work programmes, and with relevant stakeholders within and outside the Convention; (e) The progress on the implementation of the workplan of the ExCom;  and (f) The response of the WIM to relevant decisions and the Paris Agreement.” Para 5 states that: “In their assessment, Parties will consider: “(a) The effectiveness and efficiency of the WIM, including timeliness, relevance, usefulness, visibility, coherence, complementarity, comprehensiveness, responsiveness and resourcing; (b) Barriers and gaps, challenges and opportunities, and lessons learned”).

Palestine, speaking for the G77 and China proposed some “elements or components of what can become decision text in relation to the WIM review”.  Referring to an event the WIM that was held on the eve of the official opening of the Madrid talks on 1 Dec, Palestine said that the G77 proposal drew on the discussions at the event. Calling attention to paragraphs 4 and 5 of the TOR for the WIM review, the G77 said that the WIM is bigger than the ExCom.

In relation to the needs, it expressed the following:  prioritisation of the workstreams on slow onset events and non-economic losses; gap analysis at national and international level as regards capacity, technology and finance of developing countries; risk assessments; collaboration and cooperation, which it said is a means for delivering action and support.

“This needed stronger links between the WIM and relevant constituted bodies of the Convention such as the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) and the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism (e.g. Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility and Adaptation Fund).”

It also stressed the need to “build on partnership base which have already been built with institutions such as the International Organisation for Migration, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), International Labour Organisation etc. and the Disaster Risk and Reduction community, civil society organisations etc. for building capacity, technical assistance, sources of data.”

As regards ‘action and support’, the G77 identified the following: enhancement of the WIM budget to work properly; finance for enhanced action and support would involve having technical expert groups, and looking at ideas to provide funding for loss and damage, such as Innovative Finance and Finance Facility.

It also said that what was also needed is a capacity-building programme, with a focus on national focal points; and a need to address the lack of strong communication of knowledge products also in disseminating, socializing, simplifying the messages, getting the public to understand loss and damage, as well as action to be done at a household level.

On the ‘process for review’ the G77 called for a “simple succinct summary of what was discussed in relation to the WIM”.

On the ‘outcome’ expected, a “concrete decision” that “welcomed work, invites partnerships, establish technical groups, and other practical and concrete actions to be undertaken moving on from COP25 to enhance and strengthen the WIM’s effectiveness and performance in addressing the needs of developing countries in relation to loss and damage.”

The G77 hoped that these elements or components could be “the basis for moving forward, subject to discussion, clarification and hopefully consensus.”

Timor Leste on behalf of the Least Developing Countries (LDCs), echoing the G77 call stressed the need for a finance facility, as well as a technology transfer facility that helps the implementation of the WIM. It also said that the WIM is bigger than the ExCom, adding the need for an expert group under the ExCom to assist the most vulnerable developing countries, including the LDCs.

Sudan, for the African Group said that what was needed is to enable the WIM to implement its vision in assisting vulnerable developing countries. It also called for the establishment of a technical expert group to advance the work for on enabling action and support.

Saint Lucia for the Alliance of Small-Island States (AOSIS) called for specific actions on all the workstreams and functions of the WIM in the four broad areas of risk assessment and reporting, action and support, expanding the work on loss and damage and collaboration and cooperation.

Ecuador on behalf of the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) said that while the WIM had some achievements, there were big gaps that needed to be fulfilled with the outputs of the review, stressing the need for finance, technology transfer and capacity-building which enables actual action and implementation of the WIM. It also said that an enhanced WIM was needed with a long-term vision taking into account the science of climate change impacts.

Colombia on behalf of Independent Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean countries (AILAC) called for a periodic review of the WIM which is aligned with the global stocktake (GST) under the Paris Agreement. It also wanted the outcome of the 2019 review to have concrete recommendations on action and support addressing finance, technology-transfer and capacity building. On technology transfer, it called for a replication of something akin to the Climate Technology Centre and Network involving national focal points to facilitate action on the ground.

The European Union (EU) said that the WIM is providing a framework for developed and developing countries to strengthen the averting, minimising and addressing of loss and damage. It agreed that the WIM should do more, adding that the pace of work on slow onset events was slow and needed to be more efficient. It also stressed the need for the products of the WIM to have a better outreach inspire action by Parties. The EU also agreed that there was need to mobilize synergy and among the wide landscape of partners including their resources and a need for comprehensive risk assessments. 

New Zealand said that the WIM had done excellent work but has underperformed in some areas. It said that the challenge was to ensure that there are efficient ways of working with to ensure that the impacts of climate change did not reverse the development outcomes in the recent decades of developing countries.

Informal consultations will continue on Dec 5 on the matter.

Madrid News Update 4

2 December - 13 December 2019, Madrid, Spain
by TWN
Madrid, 5 December 2019