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UNECA, ACPC Report Discusses Loss and Damage in Africa

uneca-acpc27 May 2014: “Under all warming scenarios and despite strong adaptation efforts in the region, considerable adverse effects of climate change will be felt in Africa, resulting in further loss and damage,” according to a report by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC).

The report, titled ‘Loss and Damage in Africa,' discusses: projected climate change impacts and costs relevant for loss and damage in Africa; challenges and limitations of existing regional and national institutional arrangements; options for institutional arrangements on loss and damage under the UNFCC; and next steps related to the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.

Residual damages from climate change will cost three to six percent of Africa's annual gross domestic product (GDP) annually by 2080, depending on the level of adaptation measures undertaken, according to the report. It states that early and large investments in both global mitigation and regional adaptation are necessary to reduce monetary and non-monetary costs.

To address loss and damage, the report proposes, inter alia: building preventative resilience, such as hazard mapping, making assets more resistant to damage and temporarily moving vulnerable assets out of harm's way; managing risk; assisting in rehabilitation, including through risk pooling and risk transfer; and providing redress in instances of permanent loss, such as when changes to livelihood activities or permanent relocation are required.

On institutional arrangements, the report notes that African institutions address economic losses in a slow manner and do not address permanent and non-economic losses, instead relying on support from the international community to address these challenges. The report recommends a new international mechanism to address the full spectrum of loss and damage under the UNFCCC and outlines proposed features for such a mechanism.

Among the projected impacts of climate change, the report highlights: rapid increases in unusually extreme heat events; significant increases in water stress; sea level rise 10% higher than the global mean, which will most affect Egypt, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Nigeria; and larger tropical cyclone-induced storm surges, particularly in Mozambique, Tanzania and Tunisia. It notes increasing ocean acidification and rising temperatures will have severe consequences for coral reefs and ocean ecosystems, posing “significant risks to the ongoing survival of reefs in the region.” It also raises concerns about the viability of current millet, maize and sorghum crop varieties and declines in maize and wheat productivity, which will result in negative impacts on nutrition. [Publication: Loss and Damage in Africa]