First ExCom meeting marks a small but significant step to cope with loss and damage from climate change

The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage marked a fundamental step towards its operationalization as the Executive Committee (ExCom) met for the first time in Bonn from 24 to 26 September 2015.

The meeting was aimed at adopting the Excom’s rules of procedure, discussing the implementation of its workplan and the delivery of activities, and defining arrangements to finally make the mechanism up and running.

The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) was established at COP 19 (Warsaw, 2013) to address loss and damage from climate change (L&D) in vulnerable developing countries through three different kinds of actions:

  • enhancing knowledge and understanding of comprehensive risk management approaches to address L&D;
  • strengthening dialogue, coordination, coherence and synergies among relevant stakeholders;
  • enhancing action and support, including finance, technology and capacity-building.

The mechanism’s implementation had suffered substantial delays due to disagreements on the composition of the ExCom. The issue was indeed of primary concern given the guiding role of the committee in delivering the Mechanism’s functions. The main hurdle concerned developing countries’ disagreement at COP 20 on the nomination of the ten members of the ExCom assigned to non-Annex I parties, with the main point of contention being their regional representativeness. This issue was solved only in June 2015, finally clearing the way for the first meeting of the ExCom.

Although this first ExCom’s meeting was mostly focused on procedural matters, it represents and essential step in kick-starting the works of the mechanism after two year of impasse and thorny discussions juxtaposing developed and developing parties on L&D.

The collaborative atmosphere characterizing the talks was somehow enabled by the advancements seen during the previous Bonn Climate Change Conference (31st August-4th September 2015), where developed countries have shifted the discussions on “how”, and not “whether”, to include L&D in the Paris agreement and suggested the permanence of the WIM after 2020.

 

(Image: Temporary shelters in Tacloban City, Philippines, in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, December, 2013. Photo credit: State Department photo/Public Domain on USAID’s Flickr)