UNFCCC Publishes Report of the Suva Expert Dialogue on Loss and Damage
UN Photo/Logan Abassi
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The Suva Expert Dialogue discussed risk assessment, risk transfer, risk reduction and retention, and comprehensive risk management approaches to extreme weather events and slow onset climatic processes.

Regarding comprehensive risk management and access to finance, developing country and civil society representatives highlighted challenges regarding accessing post-disaster financial resources, including for the recovery and reconstruction phases.

The dialogue identified the Global Covenant of Mayors on Climate and Energy as an organization, which could develop tools to support risk assessment and reduction strategies for cities for integration into city and national sustainable development plans.

August 2018: The UNFCCC Secretariat has published the report of the two-day Suva Expert Dialogue on Loss and Damage Associated with Climate Change Impacts, which sought to enable open and interactive exchanges between technical and policy experts and the co-creation of comprehensive risk management solutions.

The meeting took place from 2-3 May 2018, during the 48th session of the Subsidiary Bodies to the UNFCCC (SB 48) in Bonn, Germany.

The report of the dialogue surveys information, inputs and views explored during the meeting, as well as outcomes on enhancing understanding of actions to address loss and damage.

The dialogue discussed: risk assessment; risk transfer; risk reduction and retention; comprehensive risk management approaches to extreme weather events and slow onset climatic processes; barriers, gaps and challenges, as well as solutions and opportunities related to risk management; institutional frameworks, enabling environments and scaling up current approaches; and possible sources of support, including organizations that could provide such support.

Further work is needed to integrate the targets of the Paris Agreement into frameworks and indicators for streamlining national-level planning and implementation approaches on DRR and the SDGs.

The dialogue resulted in a number of takeaways related to, inter alia:

  • considering the incremental and cumulative nature of some impacts when addressing loss and damage;
  • risk assessment as an iterative process to keep decision makers informed and support systems aligned with emerging needs and values;
  • assessing long-term climate risks using climate models that integrate quantifiable parameters, as well as demographic and socioeconomic data and information on non-economic assets, including societal/cultural identity, territory, indigenous knowledge and ecosystem services;
  • comprehensive risk management at all levels;
  • involving local communities and integrating their loss and damage experiences into the risk assessment process;
  • allocating resources for use across preemptive efforts and contingency arrangements; and
  • understanding the context and specifics of risks and challenges across different time horizons.

The takeaways also highlight: the use of insurance tools to protect against extreme weather events; the need to develop additional and complementary support systems to address incremental and cumulative residual risks, including related to slow onset climatic processes; considering the poorest population when designing insurance products; and mainstreaming other climate and disaster risk financing instruments, such as forecast-based financing mechanisms, to ensure comprehensive risk management.

The report outlines key issues highlighted during the dialogue’s roundtable discussions, including those related to risk assessment, risk reduction and retention, risk transfer and fostering comprehensive risk management. Regarding risk assessment, the dialogue noted that the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is developing frameworks and indicators for streamlining national-level planning and implementation approaches across the targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the SDGs. Participants agreed that further work is needed to integrate the targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change into this process.

On risk reduction and retention, the dialogue identified a low level of awareness related to climate risks as a barrier to governments, institutions and communities at the local level. Participants discussed various solutions to raise awareness, such as: implementing pilot projects to highlight the feasibility and co-benefits of risk reduction projects and foster political buy-in; and translating scientific knowledge and information into usable material for local governments and communities. The dialogue identified the Global Covenant of Mayors on Climate and Energy as an organization, which could develop tools to support risk assessment and reduction strategies for cities for integration into city and national sustainable development plans.

Regarding comprehensive risk management and access to finance, developing country and civil society representatives highlighted challenges regarding accessing post-disaster financial resources, including for the recovery and reconstruction phases. To remedy this, the dialogue introduced anticipatory approaches, such as forecast-based financing, with some participants emphasizing the need for better coordination among humanitarian action, climate finance and policy architecture. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), for example, discussed an initiative on convening experts from the DRR, sustainable development and climate change adaptation communities to integrate different perspectives and ensure they work in a mutually supportive manner.

Annex I to the report contains a list of organizations and countries whose experts provided inputs, views and information during the dialogue. [Report of the Suva Expert Dialogue] [Suva Expert Dialogue Homepage]


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