Loss and Damage, Ecosystem Integrity and Nature-based Solutions: Launch of FEBA - PEDRR Issue Brief for UNFCCC COP27
Loss and damage refers to the current and unavoidable impacts of climate change experienced by millions of people across the globe. Ecosystem loss and degradation, exacerbated by climate change, is a major component of loss and damage. The Friends of EbA and the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction have launched a joint issue brief for UNFCCC COP27 to provide clarity around the negotiations with a focus on how ecosystem integrity and the implementation and financing of Nature-based Solutions can contribute to averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage.
The term loss and damage (L&D) is used in UN climate negotiations to refer to the effects of climate change that are beyond current means of adaptation, reflecting the significant impact climate change is already having on livelihoods, infrastructure, and ecosystems around the world. These impacts are both economic and non-economic and result from both slow onset events such as sea level rise and loss of biodiversity, and rapid onset events such as floods and wildfires. Ecosystem loss and degradation, exacerbated by climate change, is a major component of loss and damage.
Actions to avert, minimize and address loss and damage – particularly those underpinned by the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of ecosystems - can support vulnerable communities to mitigate risks, adapt to and cope with climate hazards.
This issue brief emphasizes how the relationship between climate vulnerability and ecosystem health is reciprocal: while healthy ecosystems enhance climate resilience, the effects of climate change typically reduce the ability of ecosystems to provide these services.
While Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for both mitigation and adaptation can be a tool for averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage, the extent of its success is at risk from climate change impacts to ecosystem integrity.
The impacts of climate change emphasize the links between the most vulnerable communities and the ecosystems they depend on. Loss and damage is, at its core, an issue of climate justice - defined by the fact that global action on mitigation is not sufficient nor rapid enough, that the responsibility for historic global emissions is starkly disproportionate, and that unequal vulnerabilities result in certain countries, regions, communities, and particularly marginalized groups bearing an excessive share of climate impacts.
Last year’s UNFCCC COP26 saw increased momentum on technical and financial assistance for loss and damage. The Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage was established and set to convene from 2022 to 2024, and the Glasgow Climate Pact strengthened the Santiago Network to advance the work of loss and damage assistance. The hope, from many, is that a specific finance mechanism will be established in the negotiations at UNFCCC COP27 in Egypt this November. The paper recognizes that while a mechanism for funding loss and damage is still under negotiation, the effects of climate change are accelerating, and both actions on and finance for adaptation are falling behind. So far only 5-7% of global climate finance flows are spent on adaptation, and only 1.4% of this on NbS for adaptation.
Investment in Nature-based Solutions provides one of the most cost-effective means to create climate resilience for vulnerable and marginalized communities and the ecosystems they depend on, and offers one pathway for averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage. However, in order to maximize the success of NbS it is vital to account for climate change induced losses of ecosystems and their services, and the resulting effect on future risk reduction.
The paper sets out three core messages around NbS in loss and damage negotiations at UNFCCC COP27 and beyond:
(1) recognize the role of ecosystems;
(2) increase overall investment on NbS for both adaptation and mitigation;
(3) recognize urgent, fair and equitable responsibility for addressing, minimizing and averting loss and damage.
The Friends of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (FEBA) is a global collaborative network of more than 100 agencies and organisations working on EbA working jointly to share experiences and knowledge, to improve the implementation of EbA related activities on the ground, and to raise awareness and understanding of nature-based solutions in adaptation planning processes and multilateral policy frameworks. The CBD COP recognizes FEBA as a key partner “to support Parties in their efforts to promote ecosystem based approaches to climate change adaptation” (Decision 14/5).” IUCN serves as the FEBA Secretariat.
The Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) is a global alliance of 27 UN agencies, NGOs and specialist institutes. PEDRR is the clearinghouse for knowledge, training, advocacy and practice on Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction.