Round table discussion on “Loss and Damage Finance: Scopes and Options”

Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD) organized a roundtable discussion titled “Loss and Damage Finance: Scopes and Options” on the 29th of February, 2020 at The Daily Star Centre. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF was the Chairperson of the event and moderated the entire session whereas Dr. Saleemul Huq, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Dr. Nurul Quadir, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) joined the discussion as  special guest. Also, Mr. Md Ziaul Hoque, Director, Department of Environment (DoE) and Dr. Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Director (Climate Change and Environment Unit), Palli karma Sahayak F oundation (PKSF) were present as Expert.

After delivering the welcome address, Mr. Md. Shamsuddoha, Chief Executive of CPRD delivered his presentation on the approaches and loopholes of addressing Loss and Damage (L&D) that include the scopes and limitations of existing finances and major COP decisions on L&D from the beginning of UNFCCC negotiation. He said that despite of being placed as a separate article (Article 8) in the Paris Agreement, any concrete decision on Loss and Damage Finance is yet to be taken. The developing countries traded off their long standing compensation demand by swapping it with an institutional mechanism named Warsaw international Mechanism (WIM) at COP 18 and later in COP 21 with a stand-alone article on L&D in the Paris Agreement. He also narrated that insurance couldn’t be the stand-alone solution to address L&D as insurance functions only for the uncertain risks, not for predictable risks. Finally, he pointed out some major decisions taken at COP 25 on L&D such as developing an expert group who will work on further actions and support to address L&D and the establishment of the “Santiago Network” to provide technical support directly to developing countries.

Later, Mr. S. M. Saify Iqbal, Senior Research Assistant, CPRD presented on the innovative sources of financing. He said that in recent COPs, one of the key issues of negotiation was the review of WIM to setup a financial arm comprised of additional and innovative sources of finance such as International Air Passenger Adaptation Levy (IAPAL), Bunker Fuel Levy, Fossil Fuel Major Carbon Levy etc. which would compel the fossil fuel companies to pay for addressing the irreversible and unavoidable L&D. He stated that IAPAL could be one of the best proposals that the Least Developing Countries can revive. This levy proposed to deduct 10 USD and 50 USD for economy class and business class respectively which might accumulate 10 billion USD in a year and would be given to Adaptation Fund under the UNFCCC by the airlines. Then, the newly proposed Global Loss and Damage Fund could collect those funds from the Adaptation Fund to compensate the vulnerable communities. Finally he signified that the WIM and SCF could play a major role in identifying options for financing L&D and brings this discussion forward at the forum of SCF and COP 26 in front of global leaders and relevant stakeholders.

After completing the presentation session, an insightful discussion was conducted by the honourable experts and special guests. Mr. Md. Ziaul Haque, Director, DoE pointed out that developed countries still overlap L&D financing with adaptation, humanitarian responses, disaster risk reduction and migration interventions. Political and institutional coordination in these areas will be necessary to prevent duplication and unnecessary complexities. Otherwise, it would be impossible to channelize L&D finance from the GCF as GCF only finances projects that has adaptation and mitigation component. In this context, he also suggested including L&D component while designing adaptation project to get funds from GCF because till now there is no separate window for addressing L&D.

Dr. Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed narrated some limitations of IAPAL as he said that per year a huge number of people from developing countries travel by airlines. In this case, if the IAPAL is imposed on the people of developing countries then it would be manifest climate injustice as they are not historically responsible for global carbon emissions. So, IAPAL should be imposed only on the passengers of developed countries. He also proposed that share from the carbon price market and International Financial Transaction for Arm purchase could be the innovative sources of L&D financing.

Dr Saleemul Huq, Director, ICCCAD stressed that every country should immediately impose a Climate Damages Tax on every fossil fuel company and put the proceeds of that tax into a new Global Loss and Damage Fund to be set up under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Subsequently, he introduced the term “attribution” in case of addressing climate change-induced loss and damage at the national level and drew an example of super wildfire in Australia as an attribution of global temperature rise. He appreciated the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief of Bangladesh government for their consideration to launch national mechanism on loss and damage. Then he pointed out some valuable recommendations which include focusing more on collective knowledge sharing to innovate ideas, reducing dependency on insurance and paving the way to raise fund under the polluter pay principle.

Dr. Nurul Quadir, Executive Committee Member of WIM, under the UNFCCC suggested that the term “Loss and Damage” and “Climate Finance” should be defined separately though a workable definition of these two was used in the WIM. He also added to develop an L&D repository comprised of recent works, which can be an information cluster for relevant stakeholders to know about the current trend of L&D.

Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF, was the chairperson of the seminar and moderated the entire event. In the light of his long-term experiences, he expressed suspicion about channelizing L&D finance in the upcoming years, but he also motivated to continue the raising voice against the manifest climate injustice. He recommended readjusting the internal economy and segregating the social safety net under the different ministries to support the indigenous people of our country. He also stated that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) should take initiative to utilize the one third portion of the funding to tackle loss and damage. He ended up suggesting the associate organizations to increase self-resilience as well as try to move forward with the internal resources and manpower that we have our own.

Among others, Md. Zahangir Alam, Associate Coordinator, BARCIK; S. M. Tazammal Haque, Associate Director, UST; Mrityunjoy Das, Senior Program Coordinator, Humanitarian   & Resilience Program, CARE Bangladesh; Md. Moniruzzaman, Programme Manager, NETZ Bangladesh; Md. Ahsanul Wahed, Deputy Programme Manager, Manusher Jonno Foundatio; Quazi Baby, Executive Director, Participatory Development Action Program (PDAP); Abul Basar, Programme Manager, British Council; Dilruba Haider, Programme Specialist, UN Women; Tanjir Hossain, Manager-Climate Change, Action Aid Bangladesh; Md. Atiqur Rahman Tipu, Chief Coordination Officer, Coastal Development Partnership-CDP; Kazi Amdadul Hoque, Director- Strategic Planning and Head of Climate Change Adaptation & Disaster Management, Friendship; Aznabi Nahid, Programme Manager, YPSA; Joy Bhowmik, Lecturer, ULAB; Marjan Nur, Research Coordinator, Center for Climate Change and Environmental Research (C3ER) and representatives from NGOs & academic institutions spoke in the round-table discussion.