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Beyond the 'how much' and the 'how': non-financial elements and the governance of the climate loss and damage fund.

Maria Eduarda Ardinghi Brollo

Daniele de Oliveira Lazzeres

Guilherme Scheneider de Moura

Vítor Soares Míceli


Protagonists in the latest Conference of the Parties (COP), Climate Loss and Damage represent today one of the most relevant aspects of global resilience in the face of the climate crisis.

In terms of addressing the climate calamity, by examining different international guidelines (such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or the 2030 Agenda), it's possible to recognize two major areas of crisis approach: mitigation and adaptation.

While mitigation encompasses measures seeking to reduce harmful human actions affecting climate health, such as the release of greenhouse gases (IPCC, 2014b), adaptation assumes that climate change is a contemporary reality, and thus humanity must adapt to new scenarios (IPCC, 2014a)

It's interesting to note that while mitigation measures, commonly engage with innovation approaches to combat the climate crisis, adaptation measures make it imperative to associate with themes such as governance, infrastructure management, and reducing social inequalities (BARTON, 2009), since climate impacts are more severely felt by low-income populations and vulnerable groups.

In this sense, Climate Loss and Damage refer to the unraveling of the global climate crisis that imposes unmanageable conditions (an example being the loss of housing areas and lives due to disasters like floods or aggravated flooding) and a Loss and Damage Fund would, therefore, be a capital stock (financial or not) destined for international collaboration in promoting resilience to major disasters and unmanageable conditions.

Adaptation measures generally rely on a population's capacity in the face of the climate crisis and, therefore, when it comes to unmanageability, it also stems, to some extent, from a socio-financial lack of capacity to take necessary resilience measures. This is reflected internationally, delineating a greater need for fund access by Global South countries, a factor already perpetuated in the field of International Development Law in the era of Human Rights (UVIN) and even in the climate arena itself, such as the promised amount of 100 billion dollars pledged at COP 15 (2009).

In the COP 27 (Egypt) and 28 (UAE) the limits of climate adaptation and resilience in the form of the Climate Loss and Damage Fund had their presence recognized on the international stage. However, discussions still seem to be not really effective regarding the structuring aimed at the aspect of combating inequality that climate adaptation-related measures require.

Considering that the Fund was created with the purpose of raising capital for the recovery of damages caused by the climate crisis, its effectiveness requires rethinking legal protection, governance, and management of environmental resources through collective social and political processes and paying greater attention to social power relations, whether material, economic, political, or cultural, which imply interference and transformation of the environment.

Thus, the administration of the Climate Loss and Damage Fund should be outlined based on commitments with a broader range of social actors, through community management of resources as a political and democratic process to ensure environmental protection.

The participation of those social groups with less capacity to defend their interests and influence decision-making, and who are susceptible to vulnerabilities and social exclusion regarding the definition of arrangements and social actors within environmental policies, is the basis for the efficient structuring of a Loss and Damage Fund model.

Therefore, the operationalization and administration of the Climate Loss and Damage Fund must be guided by the creation of management mechanisms and instruments from self-organized community arrangements and through the involvement of active citizenship. Also, policymakers should align with the initiatives of diverse social actors advocating for their interests. Additionally, local administrations should play an active role through governance microsystems, emphasizing multilevel governance as paramount.

This is because, starting from multilevel governance, we can effectively approach an analysis that enables understanding the political role of different actors, whether they are part of state institutions or outside them, such as civil society, organized or not, and even companies (MARQUES, 2016).

Although the State ends up playing a central role, as its functions range from guiding society, usually through laws (laws on pollutants, land use, etc.) and the construction and implementation of public policies - understood as the "State in action" - (JOBERT, MULLER, 1987) and infrastructure, it does not act in all aspects of society, and other political actors, such as companies and NGOs, also have great capacity for action in climate actions, especially regarding access to non-financial capital that contributes to an agenda of a Loss and Damage Fund more aligned with combating inequalities and promoting climate justice.

Therefore, various non-financial components are essential for creating an ecosystem conducive to an efficient Loss and Damage Fund. An example is the transfer of green technologies to countries in the Global South, as there is a technological deficit in these States concerning climate justice, capacity and access. In this sense, the transferred capitals (financial or not) need to be, above all, viable and accessible to the countries that most need them.

Beyond a governance structure, it is necessary to have a structure for empowering local communities. Policies and programs of environmental education, training on environmental management, use and conservation of natural resources, climate change are some themes that can assist in the implementation of capital for an increase in local adaptabilities in the face of the climate crisis and, thus, in achieving a stable, sustainable, and efficient Climate Loss and Damage Fund.


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