Non-economic loss and damage from climate change

Published: December 11, 2017 21:31:25 | Updated: December 11, 2017 21:34:42

The issue of non-economic loss and damage has recently come into the limelight through United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A technical paper under UNFCCC identified eight categories of non-economic loss and damage: life, human health, human mobility, biodiversity, ecosystem services, territory, indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage.

The traditional system of Bangladesh mainly focuses on the loss and damage of the human system which has direct economic value. Other damages, which have no direct monetary value, are mostly ignored.  Professor Rajib Shaw along with Yohei Chiba and Sivapuram Prabhakar published a research paper titled "Climate change-related non-economic loss and damage in Bangladesh and Japan" in International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management. The paper indicates that non-economic loss and damages are not sufficiently reported in the countries studied. In this year, a devastatiing flood hit Bangladesh. As the policy of Bangladesh, local-level governments had to submit a loss and damage report through a form, called "D-form", to the Upazila Parishad. But the severity of many non-economic issues of the flood remains unreported. Apart from the economic losses reported in the region, affected communities experienced significant non-economic loss and damage. Matters comprising non-economic   losses   and   damages   are not commonly traded in markets and therefore it is difficult to determine these losses using market value. There are issues like psychological trauma, education, biodiversity, etc., where assigning monetary value might lead the assessment to a wrong direction. So we need to think about different indicators for non-economic impacts.

Integration of non-economic loss and damage is essential for researchers and policymakers in decision-making. It is not yet specified how countries can address non-economic loss and damage in their regional development plan. Now Bangladesh needs to develop a standard assessment framework including tools and methods for assessing non-economic loss and damages. The framework must recognise the challenges of direct and indirect impacts. Otherwise, the world will not get the real picture of the impacts of climate change.


Sakib Imtiaz

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