on 3rd December 2012

Take action now on climate change ‘Loss and Damage’

Over forty civil society organisations and networks from all over the world have signed an open letter urging Ministers to take urgent, proactive action to address loss and damage at this year’s UN climate talks.

The organisations include CARE, WWF, ActionAid, Kiribati Climate Action Network, Greenpeace, Oxfam and Action on Churches Together, the global network of 130 churches and church related institutions from all around the globe, and many others. Together, they represent millions of people who are extremely concerned about tackling climate change and its impacts.

The letter is being sent to Ministers as they arrive in Doha. It highlights that past inaction by developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support vulnerable countries to adapt to the realities of climate change, has led to a new era of severe climate impacts which are hitting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, as well as many fragile ecosystems across the world.

The civil society groups are calling on governments to immediately and drastically cut emissions, help vulnerable countries adapt and establish a international mechanism to address and compensate for the permanent ‘loss and damage’ resulting from unavoidable climate change impacts.

The framework must also tackle non-economic losses such as loss of culture, ecosystems, indigenous knowledge and territory and consider the impacts of slow onset disasters such as sea level rise and changes in rainfall patterns that lead to forced migration, displacement and relocation, the groups say.

“The past 12 months have provided some of the starkest indicators that climate impacts are unfolding much faster than previously modeled”, the letter reads, pointing to this year’s unprecedented arctic sea ice melt and increasing numbers of severe droughts and floods.

The letter continues:

“In spite of these realities, political leaders are still failing to act with sufficient ambition and, globally, we are well off track to meet commitments on emissions reductions to keep average global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Loss and damage is now a key issue at the climate talks in Doha. Ministers must take into account the strong demand put forward by developing countries and civil society to:

  1. Establish an International Mechanism for Compensation and Rehabilitation, under the guidance of the Conference of the Parties;
  2. Ensure global leadership and coordination carried out through the Adaptation Committee
  3. 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:
    1. -Assessment of Loss & Damage at national level, in particular with respect to slow onset events
    2. -Approaches to address Loss & Damage, particularly for slow onset events


Notes to Editors

  1. The full text of the civil society letter and list of signatories can be seen here
  2. For further information or to arrange an interview, contact CARE press and communications officer, Jo Barrett jbarrett@careclimatechange.org in Doha + 974 55 05 6325 or Sylvia Ratzlaff Ratzlaff@wwf.de in Doha + 974 66 07 93 79 or Patricia Brooks, Patricia.Brooks@actionaid.org
  3. ActionAid is a partnership between people in rich and poor countries, dedicated to ending poverty and injustice. We work with people all over the world to fight hunger and disease, seek justice and education for women, hold companies and governments accountable, and cope with emergencies in over 40 countries. Visit: actionaid.org
  4. CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. CARE is helping the most world’s most vulnerable communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. Last year CARE worked in 84 countries and reached 122 million people around the world. Visit careclimatechange.org
  5. WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. See: panda.org
Inside the Qatar National Convention Centre, Doha 2012


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