Don't hold up an international mechanism on loss and damage at COP 19



Posted on 20 November 2013  | 
Warsaw: Of the 190 countries represented at COP19 in Warsaw, five countries – Australia, Japan, Canada, US, Norway - and the EU – are standing in the way of establishing an international mechanism on climate change loss and damage, international NGOs ActionAid, CARE and WWF said during a press briefing today.

The agreement on a mechanism would unlock the ability of the UN climate forum to begin to address climate change impacts where countries cannot adapt, or which will not be covered by adaptation and mitigation measures in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“They must not stand in the way of establishing an international mechanism in Warsaw. If this is not resolved by Ministers who arrive today, it could undermine the potential for a new global climate change deal to be concluded in 2015, through further delaying action,” the NGOs said.

More than 100 organisations have signed an open letter to all Ministers attending COP19 to “stop the madness” and act now to establish the international mechanism on loss and damage.

The letter calls on UN member states to build on the agreement at COP18 that the UNFCCC’s role on loss and damage includes enhancing knowledge and understanding; strengthening global coordination and coherence; and enhancing action and support to address loss and damage

Harjeet Singh, International Coordinator, disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation at ActionAid, said: “As we fail in dealing with the unprecedented climate impacts such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, we need a new robust system to be established in Warsaw. Sea levels are rising. Marine life is dying. Some species are being permanently lost. Any further delay in tackling climate impacts will mean more poor women and men losing lives, homes and incomes.”

Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator of CARE International, said: "The world has now entered the ‘era of devastating climate change-induced loss and damage’.

"The collective failure of Governments to adequately mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and support necessary adaptation actions means that vulnerable communities, ecosystems and countries face increasing loss and damage due to climate change impacts on an unprecedented scale. Correcting this failure is urgent and increasing mitigation and support for adaptation in developing countries is crucial, but no longer sufficient.”

Sandeep Chamling Rai, WWF’s senior advisor for Adaptation Policy, said: “Humans have lived in harmony with nature for centuries. Now we are in conflict because of the impact of CO₂ emissions on our climate. Science is telling us that there is no time for inaction and no time to lose. The decisions by Ministers in Warsaw will forever shape the future we inherit.”
The 19th Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is taking place in Warsaw, Poland, from November 11 to November 22 2013.
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