SPECIAL COP 22 – Review of the Loss & Damage mechanism agreed in Marrakech

As has become the tradition at climate talks, the issue of loss and damage (L&D) associated with climate change impacts gave negotiators a hard time in Marrakech. COP 22 was importantly called to review “structure, mandate and effectiveness” of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM), established in 2013 to advance knowledge gathering, coordination and support on L&D.

However, developed and developing countries’ diverging views on how to interpret the mandate slowed down consultations for the whole first week, making it hard to believe that an agreement could be ultimately possible.

Consensus on a draft decision was eventually found on November 15 and endorsed with no objections by the COP plenary at its closing session. The feeling, however, is that of an agreement on procedures rather than on substance.

The decision establishes a periodical review of the WIM, with the first one to be held in 2019 and the subsequent to take place no more than five years apart. Reviews should consider progress on the implementation of the ExCom’s workplan but also adopt a long-term vision to reflect on how the WIM may be enhanced and strengthened. On the issue of finance for the implementation of L&D activities, a point often raised by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the African Group during the week, the answer was procedural again. As an input to the 2019 review, the decision calls for a “technical paper (to) be prepared by the secretariat elaborating the sources of financial support”. Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, speaking to the Climate Policy Observer, declared not to be happy about the decision and that there was the need “to clarify clear pathways and indicators especially on the issue of finance”.

In a separate (and less contested) decision, COP 22 also approved the framework for the WIM’s five-year rolling workplan. The latter is meant to build on the results of the currently on-going ExCom two-year workplan and to continue guiding the implementation of the functions of the mechanism in the years to come.


Written by Elisa Calliari in Marrakech, Morocco . In collaboration with Youth Press Agency on Climate Change, Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development.


(Image: The central pacific island of Tarawa in Kiribati. Photo credit: Government of Kiribati/Wikimedia Commons)