As part of its 2022 Regional Environmental Policy Dialogues, the Manila Observatory, with partner organizations the Samdhana Institute and Chiang Mai University, submitted a concept note called “Making Sense of and Responding to Loss and Damage in Southeast Asia” under the theme “Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in the context of Covid-19 and the climate crisis.”

The aim of the project is to form a regional understanding of loss and damage. Due to their geographical location, countries in Southeast Asia have distinct vulnerabilities that are exacerbated as a result of increasing global temperature levels, including stronger and more frequent typhoons, harsher droughts and food insecurity, among others.

In the first of its kind in the region, participants from seven Southeast Asian countries came together to hold a regional workshop on Loss and Damage in Bohol, Philippines, on 22-25 August 2022. During the four-day workshop, participants from various sectors, including, government, private sector, civil society, youth, women and Indigenous Peoples, came together and discussed loss and damage specific to Southeast Asia and agreed on the importance and urgency of establishing a loss and damage financing facility.

Recommendations for the creation of a Loss and Damage financing facility

Climate change will affect everyone, including both developed and developing countries, but will affect everyone in different ways. Already, marginalized persons and communities are experiencing the brunt of an increasing warming world. Pre-existing concerns, such as development aggression, human security issues, and resource insecurity are exacerbated by the climate crisis. These are threat multipliers for those who are already vulnerable, such as, but not limited to, women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, fishing and farming communities, the urban poor and those in low-income sectors, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ communities.

Although both government- and civil society-led climate assistance exists, issues surrounding accessibility, transparency, and equity remain. Existing aid, including humanitarian assistance, is oftentimes short-lived and does not cover the full range of losses and damages that vulnerable groups and communities suffer.

The facility will be used to enable those who have experienced loss and damage from climate change to recover faster and stand on their own feet again. All the while it is imperative for the global community to continue mitigating greenhouse gases and building adaptive capacities to prevent such losses and damages to occur in the first place.