The impacts of climate change are real, but they are felt differently across countries. Those who are less responsible often have to bear the severe impacts of the crisis. In this case, improving access to financial assistance is crucial. The United Nations launched a new loss and damage database to help countries track the impacts of climate change and act accordingly.
Climate Crisis & Financial Assistance
Climate change is costly. Researchers found that the impacts of extreme weather events over the past 20 years have cost an estimated $2.8 trillion globally. Furthermore, based on UNCTAD’s calculation of 48 developing countries, the annual cost of climate actions could reach USD 5.5 trillion annually from 2023 to 2030.
Various funding mechanisms have emerged to bridge this gap, including the Loss and Damage Fund. The fund was first announced during COP27 and was finally set to operate following the agreement during COP28.
To maximize the impact of this mechanism, countries need a comprehensive database system to track the loss and damage of climate change. In this light, the United Nations is developing a new database to help countries track their losses and damages due to the climate crisis.
New Loss and Damage Database System
The new loss and damage database tracking system was developed through the collaboration between the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It will build off the existing tracking systems, such as DesInventar, which has tracked disaster losses and damages since 1994 based on country-owned data sources.
In essence, the new loss and damage database system is intended to address key challenges that have emerged as the climate crisis and its impacts get more complex. The challenges include data governance, technological innovation, assessment methodology improvement, and interoperability of systems. The new system aims to achieve the following:
- Provide a deeper understanding of underlying risks, triggers, causes, and the cascading impacts of the climate crisis.
- Strengthen governance, institutionalization, and sustainability of databases and information systems.
- Address significant changes in technology options, capacities, and needs with solutions according to maturity levels.
- Consider evolving methodologies for assessing losses, damages, and impacts according to data standards.
- Enhancing data use and reuse support, connecting and integrating multiple sources, and fostering complementarity.
The new system has three components: hazard parameters, effects and impacts, and statistics and context. The organizations aim to develop a synergized system that can link weather observations and hazardous events with related losses and damages information. Furthermore, the system will collaborate with country-level disaster management and hydro-meteorological services offices to enhance the data value chain and improve analysis.
Better Data for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
Climate mitigation and adaptation efforts are critical as the threats of the crisis grow. All key stakeholders must encourage changes and improvements at all levels to support countries, especially the developing ones, in facing the crisis. The new loss and damage database system will hopefully support countries in assessing the impacts more accurately and tap into more effective and comprehensive mitigation and adaptation support, including financial assistance.
Editor: Nazalea Kusuma
Madina is the Assistant Manager for Program at Green Network Asia. She is an English major graduate from Universitas Indonesia with two years of professional experience in editorial and creative writing, researching, editing, and creating content.