By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Paris :: Pacific islands fight to keep Loss and Damage in COP21, Paris. This weekend, representatives and heads of government from around the world arrive into Paris to prepare for the two weeks marathon negotiations that is expected to come up with a legally binding global climate agreement.
The new agreement on 11 December could be the most important and significant achievement of any climate summits since Kyoto in 1997.
For the Pacific and other Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean, apart from having an agreement that is ‘ambitious, legally binding’, they are also pushing for the inclusion of ‘loss and damage’ as a stand-alone chapter.
While the current draft text has not properly defined loss and damage, it is already reflected as stand-alone chapter – Article 5 (options 1 & 2), according to the draft version of October 23.
This is a good start for the Pacific – as ‘loss and damage’ is now recognised as an important negotiating article in the draft Paris Agreement.
Loss and Damage remains a key demand of vulnerable countries and is likely to become one of the key contentious points of the negotiations when the conference begins on 30 November here in Paris.
Article 5, Option 1 introduces the possibility of an international mechanism to address loss and damage. This includes the setting up a displacement facility for people forced from their homes due to climate change.
However, developed countries do not support this position as they are of the view that that ‘loss and damage’ does not need to be included in a separate element of the Paris Agreement. Knowing that compensation was a no-go area for rich countries, in particular the United States, developing countries deleted compensation from their proposal.
Despite the loss and damage already being felt from climate change, and in the knowledge that climate loss and damage will increase dramatically, some rich countries have refused to entertain the idea of loss and damage as part of the Paris agreement.
Fear of being forced to pay compensation for the climate damage resulting from their emissions has meant that the only rich country proposal on the table – from the US, Japan, Canada, Australia and Switzerland – is for there to be no reference to loss and damage in the Paris agreement.
Speaking on behalf of the G77 in October, Juan Hoffmaister said excluding loss and damage from the Paris agreement would be ‘equivalent to climate denial.’
The France-Oceania Leader’s Summit Declaration issued Friday again reiterated the inclusion in the Paris outcome of loss and damage as a critical and standalone element for building resilience against climate change impacts, including responding to extreme weather and slow onset events building on the work of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage – #4PacIslands