UNU Report Highlights Loss and Damage in Five Countries

27 November 2012: The UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) has released a report on climate-induced loss and damage, based on case studies from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Gambia, Kenya and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The study found that all five countries have suffered climate-induced loss and damage, despite implementing adaptation and coping measures.

The findings illustrate the limits of adaptation and country sensitivity to climatic disturbance. Koko Warner, UNU, said “the numbers are alarming” and countries are experiencing climatic affects despite taking adaptation measures. Bhutan farmers, for instance, adapted to changing monsoon patterns and decreased water availability by implementing village water-sharing agreements, using water more efficiently and switching from rice to low-water requirement crops. Despite these measures, 87% of respondents said they experienced adverse effects. The study provides empirical evidence on adverse impacts among 92% of respondents in FSM, 72% in Kenya, 70% in Bangladesh and 66% in Gambia.

The findings also underscore that “not all losses are quantifiable in dollars.” For example, women in Bangladesh reported increased reproductive health problems and incidences of miscarriage. The report calls for policymakers to recognize these non-monetary costs in climate negotiations.

The report calls for the UNFCCC to: scale up mitigation efforts, expand adaptation support for vulnerable countries, including through National Adaptation Plans in Least Developed Countries (LDCs); and address residual loss and damage.

UNU, the Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) presented the findings during a side event at the 18th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UNFCCC, on 26 November 2012. The study was produced in collaboration with the UNU-EHS CDKN Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative. [UNU Press Release] [Publication: Evidence from the frontlines of climate change: Loss and damage to communities despite coping and adaptation] [IISD RS Coverage of Side Event]