By Zulker Naeen
In the context of Loss and Damage, most financial instruments that have been proposed did not solve the problems faced by the developing countries. In quest of the financial instruments for addressing Loss and Damage, under the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM), Suva Expert Dialogue at the last inter-sessional climate summit at Bonn, ended on May 3, was organized to deliberate on issues in the mechanisms set up.Suva Expert Dialogue is a dialogue that was agreed on in COP23 and it is meant to provide an important space to raise awareness and push the conversation beyond existing approaches, in particular, risk transfer approaches. The expert dialogue came about in response to a call by developing nations during last year’s COP for a separate agenda item on Loss and Damage to tackle issues related to finance, technology transfer and capacity building while dealing with climate change impacts.
An active engagement has followed how current mechanisms and financial instruments under the UNFCCC, which were inadequate to deal with the mounting pressure of climate change on vulnerable populations. But, while lack of access to financial mechanisms of addressing loss and damage as well as lack of technical and institutional capacities were brought up repeatedly during the course of discussions and from various different perspectives.
However, rich nations did not engage in discussions on the financial support they need in order to deal with the problems of climate change. Germany was the only developed economy to speak over the two-days, and according to Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change for NGO ActionAid.
Unsurprisingly, as a financial instrument, climate insurance system got a lot of attention to deal with the calamitous impacts of climate change. Earlier, in the course of deliberations, insurance system has pointed out as serious doubts.
Insurance schemes and initiatives would face similar roadblocks in terms of affordability of premiums and the access of payouts following an extreme event or weather-related disaster.
“The dialogue gives a very clear mandate that we need money,” said Julie-Anne Richards, an independent consultant at Climate Change Advocacy. “Developed countries have this idea that they can perform magic,” she said. Insurance is unhelpful as a financial instrument because it transfers risk “from rich to poor people, and climate change is not their fault”.
However, the insurance is hardly an option to address Loss and Damage, also seems to be no alternative that could be relied upon the institution of new mechanisms. These mechanisms have turned into a slow onset event, already puzzled the international community, and it was clear in the final session of the two-day dialogue.
While the outcomes of insurance dominated discussions, there was no clear direction how technology and capacity could be built in vulnerable countries to reduce the cost of climate-related disasters. Now, as a part of the input, a document is being prepared following the discussions, will be announced during the review scheduled for 2019, a year before the updated mechanism is due to be operationalized.
Undeniably, the expert dialogue was an important step in the review process of the Warsaw International Mechanism; however, the two-day meeting has failed to act as the catalyst to look beyond finding possible financial options to deal with the mounting impacts of climate change.
By Zulker Naeen