Loss and Damage in the political Berlin

Blog Post

Loss and Damage in the political Berlin

A brief summary of events in the run-up to Doha 2012

Loss and Damage

Roughly two weeks before the COP, the political Berlin, Germany´s capital, had the opportunity to learn about the loss and damage experienced at the frontlines of climate change in vulnerable countries. Putting this in the context of the upcoming Doha COP allowed policymakers to better understand the concerns of those at risk from loss and damage associated with climate change impacts.

On 7 November, the German Parliamentary Committee on the Environment, where those Parliamentarians are active which usually attend the COPs, invited developing country experts to report about their expectations towards Doha. The two-hour sessions was opened by Pa Ousman Jarju, lead negotiator of the LDCs, Hafij Khan, environmental lawyer from Bangladesh and currently Germanwatch staff member in the Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative, and Wael Hmaidan, Director of Climate Action Network International (CAN). Dr. Karsten Sach, German lead negotiator from the Federal Environment Ministry, presented the views of the German government. Both Pa Ousman and Hafij Khan made a clear case of the urgent and growing need to address loss and damage associated with climate change, reporting also on their own experience in the LDCs, including in Bangladesh. They furthermore outline the suggestions of LDCs for an international mechanism on loss and damage. They appreciated the exchange with the Parliamentarians and requested their support for the needs of the LDCs.

The evening before, a public event on Doha organised by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in collaboration with Germanwatch and Bread for the World was well attended. The more than 100 participants had the chance to follow a panel discussion with Hafij Khan, Wael Hmaidan, Baerbel Kofler, member of Parliament from the biggest German opposition party SPD, and Juan Hoffmaister, loss and damage coordinator for the group of G77 and China in the UNFCCC. Loss and damage as it is felt already today in Bangladesh and other developing countries and the arguments for the need for an international mechanism featured prominently on the agenda of the panel discussion, among other issues.

On 14 November, a number of German NGOs hosted a journalist workshop to inform about the agenda in and the expectations  towards Doha. The four-hour session was opened by an intriguieng presentation from climate expert Prof. Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) who highlighted recent science results related to climate change and clearly stressed the urgency to scale-up mitigation action in order to limit global warming to as much as possible below 2°C. Sven Harmeling, member of the Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative from Germanwatch, explained to journalists the background of the adaptation and loss and damage agenda in Doha. He highlighted that almost 100 developing countries have stressed the need to develop a globally more comprehensive and consistent response under the Convention through an international mechanism.

While the different discussions also showed that loss and damage requires further investigation and better conceptual clarification regarding differences to adaptation, the growing urgency to tackle the problem and the opportunity to make an important step forward in Doha were largely uncontested.

The participation of the developing country experts was facilitated by Bread for the World and Germanwatch (in the context of the Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative).

Sven Harmeling, Germanwatch