New Report on Loss & Damage and Climate Litigation

A joint collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme and the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

December 6, 2023


As global temperatures rise, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are experiencing disproportionate consequences of climate change, despite their minimal contributions to global emissions. To address this issue, on the first day of the UN Climate Conference (COP28), taking place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, a historic decision was taken to launch a Loss and Damage Fund.

Considering these recent developments, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives published a report in collaboration with researchers from FS-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance. The report is titled “Loss and Damage and Climate Litigation: How can the Maldives and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) position for greater climate action?” 

The foreword to the publication is authored by Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, along with Enrico Gaveglia, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives. In their foreword, they emphasize the significant climate finance gaps faced by SIDS and urge the international community to take urgent action to address this issue. 

The report offers an overview of the interlinkages between climate litigation and losses and damages from the perspective of SIDS. It advocates for increased funding for SIDS based on the principles of loss and damage, predicting a shift in existing climate governance and accountability mechanisms with the emergence of climate litigation. Furthermore, the report provides practical recommendations for both the public and private sectors in SIDS to position themselves to access loss and damage funding and to better address climate litigation through necessary reforms.

The report underlines the urgency of equitable solutions for climate-related damages and emphasizes the need for climate accountability. "The publication puts recent findings of the latest IPCC and other scientific sources in context, including critical climate hazards, and the limits to adapt for certain SIDS, such as the Islands of the Maldives,” says Michael König from the FS-UNEP Centre. 

Mohamed Shahudh, Country Economist from UNDP Maldives, adds, “SIDs are poised to benefit from new funding for loss and damage. The recommendations in this report will be useful for SIDs in preparing internal resource mobilization strategies to access loss and damage funding in the future.”

Christine Grüning from the FS-UNEP Centre concludes, “The developed recommendations are far-reaching, and the integration of climate change topics in national curricula is, for me, an essential one.” 

The report concludes with thirteen recommendations for SIDS, aiming to achieve two objectives. On one hand, supporting SIDS governments in mitigating losses and damages through initiatives such as establishing disaster risk and early warning strategies. On the other hand, it advocates for better accountability in climate litigation, recommending both the public and private sectors in these countries to implement necessary reforms and establish policies to embrace this novel instrument of climate justice.

The full publication is available for download here.

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