COP26: loss and damage, gender and financing critical to progress

26 October 2021


Our new policy paper – which has been informed by our global network civil society organisations – sets out how progress can be made at this critical crossroads in the international climate negotiations.

National governments – the primary decision-makers for climate action – will meet in Scotland from 31 October to 12 November 2021 with the aim of reaching an agreement on how to tackle climate change.

Our network believes that leaders must adopt fair, effective, and practical approaches to tackle both the real causes of climate change, and the impact that rising temperatures are already having on communities most at risk.

Climate-related loss and damage are a reality and need to be effectively addressed. Although loss and damage affects many communities and local actors in an extreme way, the issue is rarely approached with the same urgency as other key climate discussions, for example, mitigation and adaptation measures. This must change.

Loss and damage should be addressed with a combination of both urgent and longer-term measures. Immediate solutions should focus on localising early warning systems and allocating budget for early support to the already significant impacts of climate change for the most at-risk communities.

The long-term component should address the cumulative effects of climate change, the occurrence of which is irreversible. These measures include setting up early warning systems adequate for recording the changing weather patterns we are experiencing. Increased data collection and exchange for risk-informed development, as well as local-level involvement in scaling down climate projections, are key aspects of improved early warnings.

Women and children continue to be disproportionately impacted by climate change. Mapping the consequences of climate change must be gender-sensitive and transformative. To do this, it is imperative to invest in information and training activities dedicated to women. These actions will aim to strengthen women’s empowerment, and further support their engagement in national and local climate and resilience processes.

Children also pay a high cost when it comes to climate-induced hazards and disasters. They lose access to their education, and lose their lives and health when hospitals are no longer secure places. They deserve to be listened to so that solutions are sensitive to their difficulties.

Climate financing needs to be increased more effectively, and target the impact of climate change in communities most at risk.

International stakeholders, national actors, and technical and financial partners must work together to define a common plan for financing climate action and resilience. This plan should cut across all relevant sectors, identify urgent actions, and actively promote successful experiences for scaling up. In particular, funds should be provided to tackle loss and damage, as well as overall adaptation measures.

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