Car, bicycle and foot traffic coalesce amid a monsoon in the New Market area of Kolkata, India

Photo: Tuul and Bruno Morandi / Getty Images

Loss and damage (L&D) refers to the serious climate change impacts that can’t be avoided through mitigation and adaptation efforts alone. Evidence indicates that L&D is already a lived reality for people around the world, threatening their fundamental human rights and trapping them in poverty. Poor and vulnerable communities, who are least responsible for climate change, are already facing the brunt of its impacts and urgently need finance to recover from extreme events, build new livelihoods, and be proactive in responding to slow-onset but unavoidable impacts. Despite this, financial support for L&D through the UN system has not yet been provided.

COP26 indicated a potential turning point for progress on L&D finance, which was a big issue on the agenda of Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA). For the first time, the G77+China group was aligned on the issue, through the push for a Glasgow Loss and Damage Facility capable of channelling L&D finance from the Global North to the most vulnerable populations. The establishment of the Glasgow Dialogue indicates that L&D finance is likely to remain on the agenda, emphasizing the need for research to support this process.

Research has so far mostly focused on the politics of L&D finance, while MAPA ask for more empirical information about the needs, demands and capacities existing at the local level. Our research aims to fill this gap by investigating how finance for L&D can be operationalized, providing an evidence base to negotiators as they discuss a potential L&D finance facility, as well as to funders already aiming to mobilize L&D finance.

Aims and objectives

Our proposed work consists of three key aims:

  1. To explore how climate justice principles can guide loss and damage finance measures to ensure that they do not replicate the flaws of traditional climate finance, which struggles to ensure support finds its way to communities most in need.
  2. To flesh out the types of potential structures and modalities that could be established at the global, national and subnational levels to ensure fair and quick finance dissemination.
  3. To develop a methodology for and conduct locally-led needs assessments of loss and damage finance – including determining how much finance is required and what activities need to be funded in a series of participatory case studies.