Home Publications Journal Article Climate-Induced Non-Economic Loss and Damage: Understanding Policy Responses, Challenges, and Future Directions in Pacific Small Island Developing States

Climate-Induced Non-Economic Loss and Damage: Understanding Policy Responses, Challenges, and Future Directions in Pacific Small Island Developing States

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Abstract

Despite mitigation and adaptation efforts, the residual risks of climate change will continue to impact the most vulnerable communities globally. Highly exposed regions, such as the Pacific Islands, will continue to experience profound negative loss and damage as a result of climate change, which will challenge current ways of life. Knowledge on the extent to which regional and national climate change polices can identify and respond to non-economic loss and damage (NELD) is limited. From the perspectives of stakeholders in the Pacific Islands region, this research aims to gain insights into how regional and national policies are responding to NELD, as the well as the barriers, shortcomings, and requirements for future responses. Utilising a mixed qualitative–quantitative approach, this research explores the perspectives of expert informants, including those from the government, donors and development partners, civil society, intergovernmental organisations, and other relevant bodies, such as universities. The key findings of this study indicate that current policy responses include a regional policy that integrates disaster and climate change losses, national efforts to preserve traditional and local knowledge, national adaptation and resilience planning, community-based projects, and relocation and resettlement. Additionally, NELD is a relatively new concept for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers, and it is difficult to conceptualise the diversity of issues related to NELD in the region. Owing to this poor understanding, a key gap relates to the dominance of the economic lens when characterising climate-induced impacts in the region. As such, there is a limited holistic consideration of climate change impacts, and thus a limited appreciation of the interrelated factors of NELD within policy responses that then cascade towards communities. Finally, the paper outlines key policy insights as follows: policies on integration, adaptation, resilience planning, relocation and resettlement have advanced; the economic lens dominates when characterising climate-induced impacts on the region; there is a limited appreciation of the interrelated factors of NELD; and there exists a need to account for residual and intangible losses to land, culture, traditional knowledge, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human agency. The insights gained from this research can provide a practical basis for guiding local to regional action and help support and design comprehensive risk management solutions in order to address NELD associated with climate change.


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