Developing a study on climate-related losses and damages in India

India: Assessing the impact of Cyclone Phailin

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) with a global initiative on risk assessment and management relating to climate change adaptation. The goal of this global initiative is the development and testing of innovative concepts and instruments for assessing and managing climate risks in four pilot case countries and regions. These approaches are to support Germany’s development cooperation partner countries in managing their climate risks. The experience gained should additionally contribute to the international climate dialogue in the form of expert recommendations.

Since 1991, developing countries have been demanding that the losses and damages that they incur as a result of climate change be accounted for in international agreements. It nevertheless took until 2007 until common international interest in the concept of "Loss & Damage" (L&D) could be discerned for the first time in the text of the Bali Action Plan, drawn up within the framework of the COP 13. Since then, the topic has received increased attention. The international "Warsaw Mechanism" (WIM) was adopted in 2013 within the framework of the COP 19 in order to expand knowledge about L&D, to strengthen exchange and coordination between actors, and to further develop measures and support through the building up of financing and capacities. Even though the WIM and its work have been positively recognised, ideas about how further to handle L&D are strongly divergent. Even the conceptual basis of L&D has not yet been clarified, and some operational difficulties will still have to be overcome. In particular, the assessment and quantification of current and predicted losses and damages represents an extremely demanding task. The problems have to do with the causal relation between climate changed and incurred L&D, the evaluation of non-economic and indirect losses, and how to account for events with slowly developing impacts. Beyond that, there is still no clear picture of which measures are appropriate for dealing with the losses and damages.

India is one of the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. For this reason, the country is exhibiting an increasing interest in existing L&D methods and in a consistent working concept for the development of suitable measures and tools that could be used to minimize the risks of climate-related L&D. In light of this, the GIZ has commissioned adelphi and a group of Indian experts to develop a technical study of L&D in selected Indian states. The study includes, along with an L&D evaluation concept, two case studies from the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Odisha. The document additionally includes a knowledge base for dealing with losses and damages associated with slowly or quickly arising climate change impacts occurring in susceptible sectors and federal states.