COP26 update: adaptation, loss and damage

By Elise Belcher, Adessou Kossivi, Bijay Kumar & Becky Murphy
8 November 2021


Throughout COP26 we’re calling for international decision makers to give greater attention to loss and damage, gender equality and inclusion, and climate finance – read more.

We were joined by Bijay Kumar, our Executive Director and Becky Murphy, our Global Board member. We had a packed day: civil society called on global leaders to pay for loss and damage (#payupforlossanddamage), and for those who have caused the climate crisis to compensate those who have contributed the least to it – yet are feeling the negative impacts of it the most.

Adessou, our Regional Coordinator, and Bijay Kumar both spoke at the UNDRR event Scaling Up Comprehensive Risk Management for Resilience. Adessou highlighted that climate change is causing an increased level of conflict in many regions due to increased food insecurity and loss of livelihoods. Young people, in particular, are finding it hard to hope for the future and turning to violence. He called for coherence between reality and policy, and that local perspectives should be listened to – especially those of women – when designing policy.

Bijay challenged participants to think of those most at risk within communities and ensure they were included in all actions. They were joined by representatives from Colombia, Red Cross Kenya, UNHCR, UNDRR and UNHCR delegates who shared ideas of solutions to complex risk including fiscal plans, data collection and early warning systems.

Adessou also spoke at Getting ahead of climatic disaster: know, predict, warn and act, launched by UNDRR Special Representative Mami Mizutori, who highlighted efforts to connect UNDRR, the World Meteorology Organisation and the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs so that together they could develop an integrated and risk-informed anticipatory action approach to work. There were calls for investment in climate change adaptation plans, and for them to be integrated in national disaster risk management plans. The need to close the resilience gap between rich and poorer nations, was highlighted, with the value of anticipatory action said to be up to ten times greater than the cost of publicly financing disaster response.

Data was a key theme throughout the day with several organisations calling for improved collection of data as well as combined data management so that it is more accessible, understandable and easier to analyse from a community perspective.

Mentioned was given to the need for weather forecasts to shift from what the weather will be, to what the weather will do. For example, wind speeds may be 60 knots strong, but it would clearer if peope knew this may be strong enough to uproot trees.

Exploring gender, climate and conflict helped us reflect on the realities women face . For example, examples were provided on energy saving stoves that women can’t use because they don’t suit their style of cooking – and they were not consulted. Other examples include the burden of domestic violence women face if they cannot provide food for their family – and session proved to be a powerful call from two women in Uganda and Kenya.

USAID confirmed that they now have a Gender Pillar in their work, and that every document, plan and policy linked to USAID must have gender perspectives considered. This was an encouraging step for gender transformation in the sector.

The session Addressing Migration Driven by Disasters, Climate Change and Environmental Degradation in West Africa raised awareness of the links between migration, displacement, planned relocation and disasters, climate change and environmental degradation. Calls for collaborations to find solutions were made.

The final session of the day was an overview of adaptation, loss and damage, led by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP). They showcased new commitments to adaptation.

Poet Emi Mahmoud reminded us all with a powerful poem to make sure we keep at-risk communities – already displaced by the climate crisis – at the heart of negotiations.

We thought we’d highlight work of others at COP26 as part of our vision for everyone to work together to strengthen the resilience of people most at risk and stop hazards from becoming disasters. Today we met the Youth and Children Constituency to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change who have launched a Call to Action to Reduce Climate-Induced Loss and Damage.

And finally, a quote from President Barack Obama from the day: “If you’re anxious, I’ll tell you what my mother used to say to me. ‘Don’t sulk. Get busy!’ Get to work and change what needs to be changed!”

Let us know (email: and we’ll add you to the GNDR COP26 WhatsApp group.

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