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The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It bridges the academic world and the UN system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.


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Press release: Addressing loss and damage in the context of social vulnerability and resilience

Doha, 4 December 2012. Loss and damage is a reality today for most vulnerable communities worldwide. Climate change will further alter the frequency and magnitude of meteorological and hydrological disasters. The concept of loss and damage associated with climate change is new for science and policy. Given the major implication for policy, Munich Re Foundation’s Chair on Social Vulnerability hosted at the UN University brings seven targeted recommendations to COP 18 in Doha today. They focus on how loss and damage should be designed to find policies and practices that significantly reduce losses and damages related to climatic stressor in much of the world. These recommendations feed in to the discussions on loss and damage in Doha in order to find a mandated COP decision of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) work programme on loss and damage.

Dr. Koko Warner, Head of the Environment Migration, Social Vulnerability and Adaptation Section (EMSVA) at UN University in Bonn, said “loss and damage from climate change is essentially an anthropogenic phenomenon, with social roots as well as social solutions. Understanding the causes of loss and damage – anthropogenic climate change and the way climate change impacts interact with elements of human society – is at the foundation of all policy and efforts to address it.”

Dr. Saleemul Huq, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Dhaka, Bangladesh continued, “there is a high need to shape science - policy thinking about the interaction between climate change impacts and human society and particularly, when ecosystems are concerned upon which society depends.” Dr. Huq continued with examples’ from most research on loss and damage in Bangladesh, “women have reported reproductive health problems and incidences of miscarriage due to over salinization of soil. It is crucial to address resilience in the emerging policy discussions” he underlined.

Mr. Thomas Loster, Chairman, Munich Re Foundation added, “in this sense, policymakers need to consider the role of social vulnerability and social resilience in loss and damage policy discussions. A holistic thinking about this is required. They need to accept that societies interact with climate and the environment with strong effects in both directions. As these findings are delivered to Parties in the form of a submission, we aim to play our part by bridging the gap between real risk, risk research and policy decisions”, Mr. Loster concluded.

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UN University

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Policy Brief No. 7 Addressing Loss and Damage in the Context of Social Vulnerability

Press conference

View the webcast of the press conference at the UNFCCC website!