Loss and Damage Awareness Day

Thursday 22 Sept is Loss & Damage Action Day: a day to call on rich countries and big polluters to pay up for this loss and damage they continue to knowingly cause. An international day to stand in solidarity with those living with the worst impacts of climate breakdown,

Climate activists from Christian Climate Action, the Laudato Si’ Animators and the Southern Dioceses Environment Network will be among those joining a walk of witness through London on Thursday, 22nd September 2022 for Loss and Damage Awareness Day.

‘Loss and Damage’ is an issue which is rapidly rising up the environmental agenda and will form an integral part of the next UN climate crisis negotiations at COP-27, 6-18 November, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

In a recent presentation to the Southern Dioceses Environment Network, Shanon Shah, Director of Faith for the Climate, explained that ‘Loss and Damage’ is part of the architecture of the Paris Agreement which includes three main pillars of climate action; 1) mitigation of climate emissions, 2) adaption to live with the impact of climate change, 3) loss and damage. Loss and damage is when the impact of climate change is so severe that adaption/mitigation is not possible e.g. as a result of sea level rises, extreme weather events. The UK government has historically blocked negotiations on loss and damage.

At COP-19, in 2013, the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage was established in response to the typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. At COP-25 in Madrid, the Santiago network on loss and damage was established to implement the Warsaw mechanism. It called for richer countries to offer compensation for climate-related disasters. At COP-26, there was a push for clarity on how the Santiago network would be implemented. The Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage was established post COP-26. Many questions remain on how to address this issue that will need to be addressed at COP-27.

The first Loss and Damage Awareness Day was held last year. This is largely due to the efforts of faith communities.

Shanon said: “Loss and damage is a human story. People are suffering deeply from the impacts of climate change – right now. Those most impacted are the ones least responsible. As people of faith, we see this as a deep moral injustice that requires a holistic, interconnected solution which can be found in the teachings of our many faith traditions. It is impossible to talk about the devastating losses and damages of the climate crisis without recognition that we’ve reached this point through neo-liberal capitalism and colonialism, and if we are to solve the climate crisis we need to confront these historical, economical and geopolitical complexities. As people of faith we need to imagine a new way of being.”

The UK has faced financial difficulty this year due to the war in Ukraine, cost of living crisis etc. which has made it more difficult to talk about loss and damage. Despite our own issues, we must not forget countries such as Pakistan which is now 1/3 under water with the displacement of 50 million people and 10 billion US dollars’ worth of damage. These poorer countries are suffering the worst effects of climate change despite contributing the least.  Colette Joyce

Actions to take at any time

Hold a discussion with a screening of the five-minute film The Global Story of Climate Change Loss and Damage and Who should Pay it to help people understand what loss and damage is and why it matters – here is a guide to help you plan a discussion event, online or in person. And here’s some talking points to help you lead a discussion.

Write to your MP, asking for their backing for UK support for a loss and damage fund paid for by polluters – our friends at Make Polluters Pay will be providing a template to help with this once the new prime minister is announced.



Categories News