‘Loss and Damage Mechanism’ is justice to victims of human-induced climate calamities

January 5, 2022

Various typhoons have claimed thousands of lives of Filipinos over the years due to climate-related disasters. And this negative trend will continue to hit us hard unless our world leaders take drastic measures to address these alarming directions.

Naderev “Yeb” Saño, the executive director of Greenpeace South East Asia stated that these typhoons “will get worse, more unpredictable, and more destructive should our institutions remain merely reactionary to the climate crisis.” 

Meanwhile, Rodne Galicha, the executive director of Living Laudato Si’ Philippines pleaded for everyone not to forget that “our worst imagined climate emergency is already a constant reality for many of our fellow Filipinos.”

Back in November 2013, the COP established the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (Loss and Damage Mechanism). This is created to address the loss and damage issues involving the impacts of climate change targeting particularly the developing countries that are most vulnerable to devastating impacts. 

The function of the Loss and Damage Mechanism is to focus more on the promotion of the implementation of approaches related to loss and damage associating climate change as the main contributor. 

Based on the information of the United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC), one of its functions is to “enhance function and support including finance, technology, and capacity-building, to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, to enable countries to undertake actions.”

Now more than ever, this is what the developing countries need, the initiative to provide technical support and guidance on approaches to address loss and damage, creating financial mechanisms of the Convention, and lastly, the securing of expertise, enhancement of support, all for loss and damage initiatives. 

Concerned world leaders should prioritize the creation of comprehensive financing systems aside from the debt assistance that they are offering. The initiative on financial relief should take from the lens that this is another way of reparations and standing firm to their account rather than luring these developing countries to accept their debt trap. In the first place, these wealthy countries are the primary reason why we are at this alarming stage of the climate crisis.

Setting up a form of contributions from wealthy countries and imposing taxes on transactions related to carbon emissions could be a good start. And when it comes to disbursement, both the governments and non-government institutions may utilize the fund in line with the national laws of the developing countries. These recipients should see to it that the available resources should be directly delivered to communities hit by the climate crisis, which is the primary intent of the loss and damage mechanism.

But this should push through in parallel efforts to call for accountability of the biggest polluters who have contributed most resulting in our climate tragedies. To make these polluters accountable is also paving way for our climate justice to protect our planet, our common home.

Arjay “Jing” Barrios is from a pristine island in Romblon and a graduate of bachelor of arts in political science, and currently taking up law at the Arellano University School of Law. He is passionate about issues concerning Indigenous Peoples’ rights vis-a-vis climate emergency and food sovereignty. His dedication to work brought him to road-less traveled communities to do paralegal and human rights training.

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