Loss and damage scholarship created in memory of Prof. Saleemul Huq
Observatory also launched to pool knowledge on climate-related loss and damage.
IIED and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) are launching the Saleemul Huq Memorial Scholarship and Prize for Loss and Damage Research, for early career scholars from least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the ongoing climate negotiations in Dubai, known as COP28.
The scholarship is designed to help young researchers explore innovative solutions and strategies to address both economic and non-economic loss and damage due to the impacts of climate change.
Professor Saleemul Huq, who died in October, was at the forefront of research into climate loss and damage, which can range from destruction of buildings, infrastructure and crops to loss of livestock, wellbeing and death. Some loss and damage is intangible and unmeasurable, like the loss of cultural practices, increased stress or loss of Indigenous knowledge, and is known as non-economic loss and damage.
At the time of his death Huq had been involved in setting up a loss and damage observatory to serve as a comprehensive resource for researchers, policymakers and communities, and address the knowledge gaps about the issue. The observatory will administer the scholarship fund and its web platform is now also being launched.
Saqib Huq, ICCCAD’s managing director, said: “Professor Huq’s pioneering climate research was always carried out in service of his vision for a resilient and equitable world. He believed in inclusivity, bringing all voices to the table, and in collaboration to find answers to the challenges presented by climate change.
“The scholarship, prize and observatory will all serve to further his vision, empowering young scholars from some of the most climate-vulnerable countries to together find solutions to avert this crisis.”
Tom Mitchell, executive director of IIED, said: “Saleem spotted early on how vital it was to strengthen the ability of people in the places hardest hit to shape their own futures. Supporting the careers of young scientists from the least developed countries and small island states was a special passion of his and this scholarship will continue that important work.
“Saleem was a most forthright champion for low-income countries that are suffering the worst impacts of climate change, having done the least to cause it. We will need to ensure that without his presence at climate negotiations their voice is still heard loud and clear.”
The scholarship programme will support up to 25 early career researchers and practitioners from LDCs and SIDS each year, researching areas critical to understanding and addressing loss and damage, especially non-economic loss and damage. It’s intended that at least half the places will be taken by women and scholars from Indigenous and marginalised communities.
Selected researchers will be given mentoring, including support to publish in leading journals and present at international forums, as well as an honorarium and travel expenses.
Each year, three exceptional individuals will be selected from the cohort to receive the Saleemul Huq Memorial Prize for Loss and Damage Research. This prize will not only honour their contributions but also commemorate the legacy of Saleemul Huq in the field of climate change research. The programme is set to open its call for applications in April 2024, with the inaugural award ceremony planned for COP30 in 2025.