Addressing Loss and Damage from Climate Change

 As delegations arrive in Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt for the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to negotiate policy on climate change, a difficult issue looms: loss and damage. It was a challenge to put climate change loss and damage on the agenda, and it will be a struggle to reach any kind of agreement on how the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) should address the issue. But pressure has been building amongst vulnerable countries and civil society that are demanding action to address this problem. 

We need global action on adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damage. As a Catholic organization, we see crises like cyclones through the eyes of the people directly impacted. Climate change is already devastating the lives of vulnerable communities that have done the least to contribute to this crisis. At COP27, CRS is calling for leaders to take urgent action to:

  1. Support the establishment of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility.
  2. Advocate for principles of funding for loss and damage, including accessibility and subsidiarity.
  3. Support the creation of a standing agenda item on loss and damage for the UNFCCC.
  4. Support for rapid operationalization and robust funding of the Santiago Network. 
  5. For the United States, policymakers should recognize and align policy towards addressing loss and damage. 
  6. Advocate for debt cancellation.

Right now, the “adjustment costs” for loss and damage largely falls upon poor families, poor communities, and poor countries. At the moment, there is no funding provided to address international climate loss and damage, aside from the usual humanitarian response to catastrophes. Our mission is to help those communities least able to help themselves to adapt to a changing climate and strengthen their resilience.

Published October 2022