Adhering to COP26 mandate, Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) enhances understanding and knowledge of loss and damage


Speakers during APAN Webinar on Understanding loss and damage in the Asia and Pacific: science, policy, and mechanisms to avert, minimize, and address impacts held last 21 July 2022 via Zoom. 


The Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) tackled loss and damage through the webinar, “Understanding loss and damage in the Asia and Pacific: science, policy, and mechanisms to avert, minimize and address impacts,” on 21 July 2022. Two hundred seventy-three participants from academic institutions, NGOs, CSOs, governments, and the private sector from Asia and the Pacific joined the event.


While there is no universally agreed and accepted definition of loss and damage, it usually refers to the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to, or when options exist but a community does not have the means and resources to access them. As a consequence of climate change, loss and damage is a complex matter to grasp, discuss and act upon, yet widely experienced by vulnerable countries – mostly in Asia and the Pacific region.


In his opening message, Mr. Jerome Ilagan, Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage ExCom Co-Chair and Chief, Policy Research and Development Division (PRDD) Climate Change Commission, Philippines, said “The message from the latest science is clear: loss and damage is increasingly becoming one of the most significant challenges of our time, and climate change is severely impacting on human and natural systems.”


Mr. Gen’ichiro Tsukada – ​​Director, Climate Change Adaptation Office, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan in his opening remarks said, “Millions of people are suffering the consequences of climate change. The need for a global response is indisputable.”


Experts from leading organizations in climate change discussions provided their insights on loss and damage within the context of the Asia and Pacific region.


Science behind loss and damage


From the Australia National University, Dr Melanie Pill, Research Fellow, Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions, gave an overview of the science behind loss and damage. Her presentation cuts across loss and damage definition, types of loss and damage, implications for the region and loss and damage finance.


“We know that data is lacking and therefore loss and damage is hard to manage and challenging to apportion to climate change. Loss and damage remains contentious in international negotiations and affects the poorest and most vulnerable populations disproportionately. Loss and damage increases with each point one of temperature rise and has a major impact on sustainable development.”


Policy directions for loss and damage


Loss and damage had come into the climate change negotiation tables in 2017, during COP 13. Ana Vukoje – Associate Programme Officer, UNFCCC provided a glimpse of the process and the next steps which are expected to happen in the upcoming COP27 in Egypt this year.“[The] Santiago network [needs] to be provided with funds to support technical assistance for the implementation of relevant approaches for loss and damage. [The] Glasgow Dialogue to discuss the arrangements for the funding of activities to avert, minimize and address loss and damage. These are among the key outcomes of COP26.”


Panel: Mechanisms to avert, minimize and address impacts


Being at the forefront, some countries and entities are advancing on their initiatives to minimize, avert or even address impacts of loss and damage, a rich source for adaptation practitioners to emulate best practices in order to inform their adaptation planning processes and resilience-building strategies. The webinar panel was composed of three speakers from Bangladesh, Fiji, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent. They have shared their experiences and insights from their implementation of loss and damage mechanisms and approaches.


“When we talk about relocation, we also talk about non-economic losses. Moving people also means losses on various magnitudes of people’s history, tradition, and culture. Fiji lives with loss and damage. There is so much we can do. Our financial capacity only allows us so much. Nonetheless, we will continue to endeavor.” said Filimone Tuivanualevu – AOSIS Fellow, Senior Climate Adaptation Officer, Climate Change and International Cooperation Division, Ministry of Economy, Fiji. Fiji has gone further than any other country and pioneered first relocation guidelines and then launched Fiji’s Climate Relocation and Displaced Peoples Trust Fund for Communities and Infrastructure to address loss and damage.


Hafij Khan – Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh and Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage ExCom Member, said, “Vulnerable countries need to adopt innovative approaches to address loss and damage challenges. They need to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment at the country level, identify the right tools and methodologies to assess loss and damage, have the suitable approaches, and institutionalize these with legislative mandates.”


Raymond Zingg – IFRC Regional Coordinator for Anticipatory Action in the Asia Pacific, said, “Forecasting is very important. Days, or weeks before a disaster is our actual window of preparation to implement early action responses to avert, minimize and address loss and damage. We also need to understand loss and damage impacts at the local level to implement the right early action response based on their needs. This is a very challenging task but this is what we need to do, otherwise, our efforts to avert and minimize impacts will be too broad.”


Civil society’s take on UNFCCC’s progress on Loss and Damage 


As observers in the international discussions, civil society organizations shared their voices and expectations for COP 27.


Colin McQuistan – Head of Climate and Resilience at Practical Action, who represented the CSO group in climate discussions shared, “At COP 27, we need to ensure that loss and damage finance is accessible to all vulnerable countries via an L&D Finance Facility (LDFF). We need to have the political discussion to see where the barriers are, what the problems are, and what we can do about these. Without the LDFF, then developing countries will have to invest more of their resources on responding to these climate disasters and not to mitigate greenhouse emissions.”


Dr. Alvin Chandra, Global Coordinator, Adaptation Policy and Partnerships, UNEP moderated the webinar sessions and provided a  webinar technical summary.


In ending, Ms. Helene Marre, APAN Coordinator, thanked the speakers and participants for actively joining the discussions. She encouraged more discussions around loss and damage to enable adaptation practitioners to be abreast with the right and timely information as they include L&D in developing their adaptation and resilience strategies.


In case you missed attending the webinar, watch the full webinar recording  here.


About APAN

The Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN) serves as a knowledge platform to equip adaptation practitioners in the region with the information, knowledge, and tools to design, implement and monitor climate change adaptation measures, foster access to technologies and finance, and capacity-building for integrating climate change adaptation into national development policies, strategies, and plans.

With support from the Ministry of Environment of the Government of Japan, APAN was developed and launched by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 2009 under the Global Adaptation Network (GAN). APAN has established close partnerships with key organizations and has become an important adaptation knowledge mobilizer in Asia and the Pacific Region.



  • Adaptation
  • APAN
  • Climate change
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Loss and damage