15 / 02 / 2022
The Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau are seen from space. Image credit: NASA

Article 8 in the Paris Agreement is devoted exclusively to climate change-driven loss and damage. It follows that the planned ‘global stocktake’ of the Paris Agreement, which will assess progress toward reaching the Agreement’s goals, should also cover loss and damage. Determining how the assessment for Article 8 should be framed is a question that remains largely unexplored. Doing so is challenging for at least two reasons: the prevailing knowledge gaps in loss and damage research and the contentious nature of intergovernmental negotiations about loss and damage. This article identifies the key framing questions that ought to be answered in the context of Article 8, prior to conducting the ‘global stocktake’. Key among these framing questions are critical structural problems, stemming mainly from underrepresentation of Global South worldviews, and from major data gaps and methodological difficulties inherent to assessing progress with managing loss and damage. A ‘global stocktake’ of Article 8 provides a window of opportunity for making headway on the inter-governmental debate about loss and damage, and the direction of the research efforts that are needed to inform such debate. This article concludes by reflecting on the stakes that developing countries have in that window of opportunity.

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