This brief describes why it is critical that Loss and Damage be reflected prominently, both as a theme for discussions and as a focus of action, in the lead up to, and beyond COP 26. The theme of Adaptation and Resilience ignores Loss and Damage entirely and uses instead the term “resilience” as a blanket term, ostensibly to include Loss and Damage without explicit recognition. This is problematic on several fronts:
- Firstly, the UK is refusing to recognize and engage constructively with an agenda that is critical for more than half the world’s countries.
- Secondly, Loss and Damage has a dedicated article in the Paris Agreement.
- Thirdly, there is no agreement on the theme of “resilience” amongst Parties.
- Finally, this would appear to be part of the process by developed countries to sideline Loss and Damage. The UK, as the president of COP 26, which has been billed as an ambitious COP, must be challenged for its failure to mention, let alone engage constructively with, Loss and Damage.
The marginalization of Loss and Damage has also been playing out with the UNFCCC secretariat. Developing country negotiators and ExCom members have long been calling for Loss and Damage – the policy agenda aimed at addressing loss and damage – to be reflected more openly on the UNFCCC website2. Instead, it is hidden amongst adaptation agendas under the overarching theme of Adaptation and Resilience; despite loss and damage being raised continuously by developing countries as a vital component of climate action.