on 22nd November 2012

47 NGOs and Networks sign open letter to ministers at COP18

Open Letter to Ministers attending COP18 on a new framework to address climate change Loss and Damage

Dear Minister,

The world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and many fragile and precious ecosystems, are already being hit by the devastating impacts of climate change. As a coalition of NGOs and civil society groups representing millions of people who are extremely concerned about our changing climate, we are calling for urgent action to tackle loss and damage, starting with dramatically up-scaled commitments on mitigation and adaptation at COP 18 in Doha.

Scientists increasingly warn of the impending dangers posed by climate change. The past 12 months have provided some of the starkest indicators that climate impacts are unfolding much faster than previously modelled. This year has seen an increasing number of severe floods and droughts and dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice – all cause for alarm. In spite of these realities, political leaders are still failing to act with sufficient ambition. Globally, we are well off track to meet commitments on emissions reductions to keep average global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Because of past inaction by developed countries and the sheer severity of the problem, we have now entered a new era of ‘loss and damage’. The first and foremost response must be to immediately and drastically cut emissions, and help vulnerable countries and ecosystems adapt to new climate realities. Governments must now also recognise that we are in a ‘third era’ of climate impacts and address and redress the permanent loss and damage that is resulting from unavoided and unavoidable climate impacts.

Poor countries and communities least responsible for the global climate crisis are also the most vulnerable. Given historic inaction by developed countries, we are heading towards the biggest social injustice of our time. Responding requires a new framework under the UNFCCC to address loss and damage. This requires new approaches on finance, compensation and rehabilitation. It also requires consideration of non-economic losses including loss of culture, ecosystems, indigenous knowledge and territory that will result from climate change. The adverse effects from slow-onset disasters such as sea level rise or changes in rainfall patterns that lead to migration, displacement and relocation also need urgent attention.

Therefore, governments must act in Doha to:

  • Establish an International Mechanism for Compensation and Rehabilitation, under the guidance of the Conference of the Parties;
  • Ensure global leadership and coordination carried out through the Adaptation Committee; and
  • Continue the work programme on loss and damage under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), with active coordination and collaboration with the Adaptation Committee and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), which at a minimum should focus on:
    • Assessment of Loss & Damage at national level, in particular with respect to slow onset events
    • Approaches to address Loss & Damage, particularly for slow onset events.

We have no time to lose to limit emissions, increase adaptation and support and establish a framework to address loss and damage.


1. ActionAid International
2. Action on Churches Together (ACT Alliance)
3. Amigos del Viento Meteorología-Ambiente-Desarrollo (Uruguay)
4. Bolivian Platform on Climate Change
5. Bread for the World
6. CARE International
7. Christian Aid
8. Climate Action Network – Europe
9. Center for International Environmental Law
10. Centro Humboldt (Nicaragua)
11. CNCD 11.11.11
12. Concerned Citizens against Climate Change
13. Earth in Brackets
14. Ecodefense (Russia)
15. Forests of the World
16. Foro de Mujeres para la Integración Centroamericana
17. Friends of the Earth (England, Wales, Northern Ireland)
18. Friends of the Earth (US)
19. Greenpeace
20. Fundacion Centro de Estudios Ecologicos de la Republica Argentina
21. Kiribati Climate Action Network
22. Healthy Planet UK
23. Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA)
24. International Centre for Climate Change and Development (Bangladesh)
25. International National Trusts Organisation
26. Nektarina Non Profit
27. Paryavaran Mitra (India)
28. Plataforma Climatica Latinoamerica
29. MAUDESCO/SARCAN (Mauritius)
30. Nature Trust Malta
31. Organismos no Gubernamentales de Honduras ASONOG.
32. Oxfam
33. Practical Action
34. Stakeholder Forum
35. Stichting CXI AD(aptation) Group
36. Sociedade de Pesquisa em Vida Selvagem e Educação Ambiental (Brazil)
37. Sustainability Watch
38. Taiwan Environmental Protection Union
39. Tearfund
40. The Cayman Institute
41. La Cooperative de Profesionales para el Desarrollo Integral (COPRODI) (Nicaragua)
42. HumanityWatch (Bangladesh)
43. La Concertación Regional para la Gestión de Riesgos de Centroamerica
44. Reza, Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh
45. World Team Now
46. WWF International
47. Rural Coalition

Jo Barrett

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