The Institutional Ecosystem for Loss and Damage

Loss and damage (L&D) is a complex concept that raises difficult legal, political, scientific, and ethical questions. While Parties to both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement have not formally defined L&D, they have nevertheless sought to address L&D through a range of institutions and processes. This report provides an overview of the institutional structure and processes for L&D under the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement, from the Warsaw International Mechanism for L&D to the newly established Santiago Network. However, it is important to acknowledge that institutions and processes for adaptation, like the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process, which integrates and implements short- and long-term adaptation needs into national planning processes, are also relevant to L&D. Other important institutions include funds and financial institutions that can support efforts to avert, minimize, and address L&D. 

Others in the “institutional ecosystem for L&D” share these efforts—those international institutions and their regulatory frameworks, systems, processes, and platforms for understanding, action, and support for reducing climate risk and L&D. These fora address adaptation, disaster risk reduction, sustainable development as it relates to L&D, migration, and human displacement, some of which provide other means to finance L&D efforts. 

By broadly assessing relevant institutions and their frameworks outside the UNFCCC that address elements of L&D, this report contextualizes an assessment of the strengths, gaps, and weaknesses of the UNFCCC’s and Paris Agreement’s approach to L&D. It examines four key issues: 

  • the gaps in the UNFCCC/Paris Agreement’s institutional set-up and tools to address L&D 
  • the omission of L&D in the NAP technical guidance tool 
  • the lack of indicators for climate risk, adaptation, and L&D 
  • the lack of institutional coherence on L&D. 

The report concludes by making recommendations to strengthen the cooperation, coordination, and coherence between the different institutions and how institutions can better streamline climate risk management.