- United Nations University
- Policy Report No. 9
- Evidence from the Frontlines of Climate Change: Loss and Damage to Communities Despite Coping and Adaptation
- by Koko Warner, Kees van der Geest, Soenke Kreft, Saleemul Huq, Sven Harmeling, Koen Kusters and Alex de Sherbinin
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- United Nations University
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- Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative
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New thinking and practical approaches are needed to address the threats to human security that climate change combined with social vulnerability pose for current and future patterns of loss
Loss and damage is already a significant – and in some places growing – consequence of inadequate ability to adapt to changes in climate patterns across the world. Yet neither the literature on climate change nor on loss and damage fully reflects the circumstances under which households (HHs) manage climatic stressors, resulting societal impacts, and the consequences of not being able to adjust sufficiently to negative impacts.
Policymakers need better information, empirical data and analysis of both the challenges and the potential solutions. In response to this need, the Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative carried out research to find out how the impact of climate change on society leads to loss and damage
among vulnerable HHs. This question is answered here with findings from five countries across three major regions (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Gambia, Kenya and Micronesia).
This report is based on that research and serves as a resource for future research. It includes:
- Research methods to assess loss and damage at local level: The research approach developed for the Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative is a model for community-based assessment of loss and damage. It employs a variety of methods, including a HH survey, focus group discussions (FGDs) and expert interviews. In addition, local meteorological and other relevant data was gathered and compared to local perceptions of changes in climatic stressors.
- New empirical evidence: A team of national and international researchers was deployed to five locations: Bangladesh, Bhutan, The Gambia, Kenya and Micronesia. The team gathered a large volume of quantitative and qualitative data (n= 1,769 HH surveys, and an additional 200 participants in FGDs and expert interviews) on climatic stressors, societal impacts, current adaptation and coping measures, and residual loss and damage affecting households in the communities studied.
- Analysis of case study findings: Case study evidence from the five diverse research sites generated answers to the question ‘How does the impact of climatic variables on societal impacts lead to loss and damage among HHs in vulnerable countries like Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States’. To bring insights into the significance of that evidence, an analysis section highlights four current loss and damage pathways.
- Policy reflections: Drawing on the findings of the field research, global and national policy reflections are put forward for consideration by governments, multilateral and research institutions, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working directly with many of the world’s most