Skip main navigation

Securing the Agenda: Inclusion of Loss and Damage

Update: Securing the Agenda: Inclusion of Loss and Damage
Picture of a widescreen with the words 'climate changes all' of us' with the word changes highlighted in red.

COP is a process and not an event. Much work happens before a COP ‘begins’. One of the initial steps is the setting of the agenda.

In the days preceding the official opening of COP27, negotiators have been working hard to set the agenda that will inform what issues will be discussed in the coming weeks. COP27 President Shoukry noted that the ‘Herculean’ 48-hour long agenda-setting consultations had ‘borne fruit’. Significantly, the issue of Loss and Damage has made it onto the agenda for the first time since the UN climate talks process began.

‘Loss and damage’ is a general term used in UN climate negotiations to refer to the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to, or when options exist but a community doesn’t have the resources to access or utilize them. Loss and damage is and will continue to harm vulnerable communities the most, making addressing the issue a matter of climate justice.
The United Nations’ chief Antonio Guterres has called the inclusion and spotlight on Loss and Damages a ’litmus test’ for the success of COP27. He named Jennifer Morgan (former Greenpeace Chief and now Germany’s climate envoy) and Maisa Rojas (Chile’s environment minster) as the two high-level national officials to lead negotiations on this issue. In reference to the inclusion of loss and damage, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiel commented: “the fact that it has been adopted as an agenda item demonstrates progress and parties taking a mature and constructive attitude towards this”. His opening speech to the Conference also highlighted the importance of this inclusion:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

The issue of loss and damage has particular significance given COP27 is held in the African continent; which is on the frontline of the climate crisis. Alice Ruhweza, World Wildlife Fund Regional Director for Africa states “currently, the region is estimated to be warming 1.5 times faster than the global mean…Africa contributes roughly only 4 per cent of global emissions, yet it is one of the regions that is most vulnerable to and the least able to protect itself from the adverse impacts of climate change.”
Leah Namugerwa, a 17-year-old climate activist from Uganda, shared her experience of the climate crisis with the COP27 delegation: “When I was 14 years old I saw landslides killing so many people due to harsh weather conditions. These images have disturbed me and cannot allow me to rest until something is done about the changing climate.”

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

It [the issue of loss and damage] has been floating for thirty plus years… what will be most telling is how those discussions progress the substantive discussion over the next couple of weeks.

-UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiel (2022)

This article is from the free online

Learning for a Sustainable Future: Live at COP27

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now