At COP 26 in Glasgow, Loss and Damage emerged as a key negotiation item and united the voices of all developing countries. The G77 and China, a negotiating bloc representing 6 in every 7 people on Earth, pushed for Loss and Damage to be at the forefront of negotiations by proposing a “Glasgow Loss and Damage Finance Facility”. But as the COP neared its conclusion the proposition was blocked by developed countries.
As a minimum compromise, the COP/CMA decided to establish the Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage “between Parties, relevant organisations and stakeholders to discuss the arrangements for the funding of activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage associated with the adverse impacts of climate change, to take place in the first sessional period of each year of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), concluding at its sixtieth session (June 2024)”.
However, the decision made at COP26 to establish the Glasgow Dialogue did not include a mandated outcome or any guidance for its structure. This meant that the Glasgow Dialogue was at risk of turning into a “talk shop”, a criticism made by developing countries of a previous dialogue, the Suva Expert Dialogue, which took place in 2018 with the intention of informing a technical paper that would make up part of a review of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) in 2019.
Before, during and after the first Glasgow Dialogue —which was held at the Bonn Climate Conference during SB 56— Developing country Parties and the civil society organisations that support them expressed disappointment with the lack of a concrete outcome and at how it had been organised.
The first Glasgow Dialogue had been arranged as a mandated event, meaning that it would be an informal discussion and no draft decision text would be produced to capture the outcome and propose the next steps. This arrangement reflected the disagreement between Parties on different interpretations of the Glasgow Dialogue decision made at COP 26. Developing country Parties maintained that a Loss and Damage Finance Facility was the expected outcome of the Dialogue and that a formal process was needed under the SBI agenda to record the outcomes of the Glasgow Dialogue at SB 56. Whilst, Developed country Parties saw the Glasgow Dialogue as a process for discussion that needs to be concluded before any decisions are made and that Parties should not prejudge the outcome.
Given the lack of agreement, at SB 56 the SBI chair commenced consultations to find a way forward which continued for the duration of the session. Meanwhile, the three informal Glasgow Dialogue sessions proceeded between the 7th and 11th of June with presentations by various stakeholders, breakout discussions based on predetermined guiding questions, discussion on ways forward to the second Glasgow Dialogue in 2023, and strong interventions by country Parties throughout. (See the on-demand recordings here).
Separately at SB 58, the G77 and China also tabled a proposal to the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC for a sub-agenda item at COP 27. This proposed agenda item on “matters relating to funding arrangements for addressing loss and damage”, under the agenda item on matters related to finance on both the COP and CMA agendas, to address the “shortfall” in the Glasgow Dialogue as a standalone dialogue “with no clear destination”.
At the close of SB 56 consultations by the SBI chair had not resulted in an agreement for an SBI agenda item on the Glasgow Dialogue. Although the separate proposal on “funding arrangements for addressing loss and damage” from the G77 and China initially did not result in any outcome, it was later included on the provisional agendas of COP 27 and CMA 4 under their respective item ‘matters relating to finance’.
What happened on the Glasgow Dialogue at COP27?
In the days preceding the official start of COP 27 Parties worked through the night to reach an agreement on how an agenda item for Loss and Damage finance would be framed. Following a heated agenda fight, a Loss and Damage finance agenda item, under “8f. Matters relating to finance”, was formally adopted on the first day of COP 27. This was the first time Loss and Damage finance had made it to the agenda of the COP (see 8f on page 2 of the adopted COP 27 agenda here).
Within the 8f agenda item Parties elaborated on the Glasgow Dialogue’s COP 26 decision to decide where it would fit in the framework for Loss and Damage finance. The adopted Loss and Damage agenda item included the Glasgow Dialogue and the language “no later than 2024”. Both elements were likely included to give assurance that the “process” under this agenda item which “includes the Glasgow Dialogue” is time-bound and will provide a “conclusive decision” by 2024. And it is probable that Parties wanted this included because of the disappointment that the first Glasgow Dialogue did not involve a concrete outcome. In addition, the Chair of the SBI was also requested to provide a summary report of each Glasgow Dialogue within four weeks. This is significant because the COP 26 decision to establish the Glasgow Dialogue did not mandate a report of its discussions and outcomes.
As part of the historic decision to establish a Loss and Damage Fund and Funding arrangements at COP27, the decision was made to set up a Transitional Committee mandated to provide recommendations at COP 28 with a view to operationalising the Fund and Funding Arrangements. The COP 27 decision (see paragraph 9, page 3) also contained further elaborations on the Glasgow Dialogue including that it will inform the work of the Transitional Committee.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that the COP 27 decision invited Parties and relevant organizations to submit views on topics for and the structure of the second Glasgow Dialogue, and that these submissions, including those made by civil society organisations such as The Loss and Damage Collaboration and Climate Action Network, were taken into consideration when shaping the focus of the second dialogue.
What is happening on the Glasgow Dialogue at the 2023 Bonn Climate Conference (SB58)?
At the 2023 Bonn Climate Conference (SB 58) the second Glasgow Dialogue will run from the 8-10th of June. (see the overview schedule of SB 58 here). Following the COP 27 decision, the Dialogue will focus on the “operationalization of the new funding arrangements for responding to loss and damage and the Loss and Damage Fund established at COP 27 by decisions 2/CP.27 and 2/CMA.4.” As well as on “maximizing support from existing funding arrangements relevant for, among other things, responding to economic and non-economic losses, slow onset events and extreme weather events”.
What do we want to achieve through the 2nd Glasgow Dialogue?
The Glasgow Dialogue must be completed in a way that informs the work of the Transitional Committee, the recommendations the Committee will provide at COP 28, and concrete decisions at COP 29. This should include outcomes that provide recommendations to the Transitional Committee on mobilising funding, supporting complementarity and coherence within the evolving loss and damage finance architecture, including distinct actors and initiatives of a “mosaic of solutions” under the leadership of the Loss and Damage Fund; providing support and accountability for the rapid full operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund.
To do so the Glasgow Dialogue must continue to be open and transparent and facilitate active and meaningful engagement by civil society, Indigenous Peoples, women, youth, racialised communities, persons with disabilities and other impacted groups.
Due to the urgency of addressing Loss and Damage and the need to operationalise a fit-for-purpose Loss and Damage Fund and Funding Arrangements at COP 28 it will also be important for Parties to focus on the mandate of the Glasgow Dialogue. This means that attempts by Developing country Parties to focus discussion of the questions of “who is vulnerable” (who will receive support from the Loss and Damage Fund) and “expanding the contributor base” (who will pay into the Loss and Damage Fund) should be pushed back on with the reminder that Glasgow Dialogue and the Transitional Committee have not been mandated to renegotiate the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed in 1992.
How does it relate to the road to COP28?
With the Glasgow Dialogue now mandated to inform the work of the Transitional Committee, the second session provides a further opportunity for Parties and civil society to ensure that the recommendations that will be made at COP28 by the Transitional Committee lead to the operationalisation of a fit-for-purpose Loss and Damage Fund and to Funding Arrangements that deliver loss and damage finance at the scale of the needs.
How to follow the Second Glasgow Dialogue?
The Second Glasgow Dialogue will run from the 8-10th of June (see page 4-5 of the SB 58 overview schedule here). On the 8th of June the Dialogue will run in the morning, whilst on the 9th and 10th it will run in the afternoon. For those who are not going to be in Bonn, webcasts are available here when uploaded by the UNFCCC secretariat.
Teo Ormond-Skeaping is the Loss and Damage Collaboration’s Advocacy, Outreach and Communications Lead, he is also an award-winning artist, filmmaker and photographer working on projects relating to political ecology, Loss and Damage, climate-induced migration and displacement, Slow Violence and the political and cultural critique of the Anthropocene.
This article has been Funded by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung New York Office with support from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The publishers are solely responsible for the content of this publication; the opinions presented here do not reflect the position of the BMZ. We also note that views and any errors, are the authors alone and that the content of this brief does not necessarily represent the views of all the members of the Loss and Damage Collaboration (L&DC).