This Loss and Damage Explainer from Legal Response International (LRI) is intended for UNFCCC negotiators and those new to the topic who need a short summary of the main issues related to the topic.
In the context of climate change, "loss and damage" is generally understood as the irreversible or residual results of climate change impacts where adaptation is no longer possible.
During the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in 1991, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) urged action to alleviate loss and damage. However, it was not until 2007 at the 13th Conference of Parties (COP 13) that loss and damage was addressed in a COP decision —the Bali Action Plan.
Since 2007, the promotion of approaches to address loss and damage has gained momentum, whith achievements including the establishment of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) in 2013 and the inclusion of loss and damage in the Paris Agreement under Article 8. The latter of which represented global acknowledgment of the limits of humans and ecosystems to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change thereby formally distinguished the issue from adaptation.
However, it was not until COP 27 where a historic decision to establish funding arrangements and the first-ever dedicated fund for loss and damage was landed that the issue of loss and damage finance would finally see steps in the right direction.
Throughout 2023, work will be ongoing to operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund and Funding Arrangements via a newly formed Transitional Committee that will deliver recommendations to COP 28.