Demanding attention for the loss and damage from climate change
Blogs, briefings, animations and practical guidebooks are some ways IIED and partners are getting the injustice of climate change loss and damage recognised in policy spaces.
Climate change is causing devastation across the world – with the least developed countries (LDCs), despite having made the smallest contribution to the climate crisis, suffering the worst of its impacts.
Some of these impacts manifest slowly, such as sea-level rise, ocean acidification and desertification, while others – cyclones, drought, flash flooding – hit hard and fast.
The loss and damage from these impacts may be repaired at a cost, including damage to buildings and infrastructure, destroyed crops and loss of livestock. Many are non-economic, such as death, damage to health, destruction of crucial ecosystems, and loss of cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge.
In international climate policy there is no universally agreed definition of ‘loss and damage’. But for the LDCs, these deep and irreversible impacts – while often intangible and unmeasurable – are very real and increasingly unavoidable.
Loss and damage needs stronger attention both at national policy level, and at the international climate negotiations.
IIED is working with people in LDCs to build awareness and improve understanding of lived experiences of loss and damage, and get the concept recognised as a priority issue in the lead-up to and at the UN climate summit (COP26) in November 2021.
Blogs and animations share first-hand accounts of loss and damage
In a series of blogs, listed below, representatives from Rwanda, Sierra Leone and the Solomon Islands shared their personal experiences of loss and damage. They called on governments to acknowledge the realities of loss and damage, and to provide urgently needed financial and technological support to help the LDCs manage the fast-accelerating impacts of climate change.
- Loss and damage in Rwanda: a young climate activist reports: Ineza Umuhoza Grace describes how her family was one of many thousands displaced by climate change, and calls for policymakers to recognise the disproportionately heavy losses that women and girls suffer as a result of the climate crisis.
- Engulfed by the sea: the loss and damage from climate change: from the Solomon Islands, Gladys Habu relays the devastation of losing an entire island – and all the life and culture that thrived there – as sea levels rise.
- How climate change losses could open the Solomon Islands’ old wounds: young climate activist Solomon Yeo fears depleting land and water could spark fresh tensions between ethnic groups – and lead the Solomon Islands to revisit its troubled past.
- Loss and damage of climate change has pushed Sierra Leoneans far beyond their ability to adapt: Gabriel Kpaka gives his personal account of how floods, sea level rise, mudslides, landslides and more are destroying lives and livelihoods in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.
How the erosion of Nepal’s life, land and beauty is deep and irreparable: Shreya K.C. calls on world leaders to replace fake handshakes with concrete action
In a series of animations the experiences of these individuals are brought to life. Each animation is accompanied by behind-the-scenes footage, where each character gives us insights into what motivated them to tell their story on loss and damage, and share their hopes that these personal experiences will drive policymakers to act.
Watch the animations in the playlist below or on IIED's YouTube channel. The animations are available in different langauges, as listed below, and are accompanied by a behind-the-scenes video explaining how and why they were made. Further animations will be added as they are launched.
The film focusing on the Solomon Islands was a finalist in the 2022 Charity Film Awards.
- Solomon Islands: English | Pijin | behind-the-scenes
- Sierra Leone: English | Krio | behind-the-scenes
- Rwanda: English | Kinyarwanda| behind-the-scenes
- Make Change Happen episode 10: Loss and damage – recognising the costs of climate change (2021), IIED podcast
- Loss and damage – research, policy and lived experience in least developed countries (2020), IIED webinar
- Pocket guide to loss and damage under the UNFCCC, Erin Roberts, Sumaya Ahmed Zakieldeen (2018), ECBI | en français
- Loss and damage in the Paris Agreement’s global stocktake, Brook M Dambacher, Olivia Serdeczny, Ms Kunzang (2018), IIED briefing
Brianna Craft (firstname.lastname@example.org), senior researcher, IIED’s Climate Change research group