The Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) established in 2013 (at COP19) has three main roles: (a) increase understanding, (b) facilitate exchange and (c) enhance action and support on loss and damage. Most vulnerable countries (Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDs)) are negotiating for the WIM to move from technical studies to concrete action plans. This Issue Brief presents strides in knowledge and understanding of loss and damage and surveys opportunities on ways forward for the WIM.

Key Messages

  • The WIM succeeded in fostering a better scientific understanding of loss and damage, with progress on concept definition and evidence. This understanding provides a basis for extending comprehensive risk management approaches, i.e. pairing risk reduction and risk transfer such as insurance, traditionally explored under the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC should take note of emerging research on attribution science to contribute to risk assessments that could help inform approaches.
  • The review of the WIM should clarify governance issues by identifying which body the WIM ExCom should report to (COP or CMA). Transparency in governance facilitates dialogue and coordination to agree upon the work program of the WIM and to convey a coherent global message on loss and damage.
  • A lack of specific criteria to characterise the diversity of impacts contributes to the difficulty to finance loss and damage. The WIM could facilitate dialogue on a set of methodologies to assess and evaluate different types of loss and damage, which could inform tracking and reporting processes, and the design of appropriate national policy responses.
  • The Suva dialogue and recent technical paper by the UNFCCC secretariat released in June 2019 clarifies available financial instruments for loss and damage. The Convention should facilitate dialogue on the risk and magnitude of climate impacts targeted by relevant funding for adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Consequently, arising loss and damage from residual impacts should be a core component to these funding streams.
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