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Saleemul Huq memorial scholarship and award

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Loss and damage (L&D) is an urgent concern, driven by the increasingly harmful effects of climate change. Beyond the direct loss of livelihoods, assets and infrastructure, climate change L&D has other consequences, which is often referred as non-economic loss and damage. For example, in some countries L&D is having far-reaching social impacts, such as loss of cultural heritage, language, and a sense of identity, which can erode the social fabric and further undermine the resilience of communities. Climate shocks increase inequality, social conflict and expose women, girls and people living with disabilities to new forms of exploitation, slavery and trafficking. Recurring impacts and loss of livelihoods and displacements are leading to psychological impacts, such as stress, trauma, and mental health disorders, which is affecting the well-being of individuals and communities.

The current international mechanisms for addressing L&D, though comprehensive in their scope, fall short in effectively tackling the complexities of climate change, especially the non-economic aspects. While there has been a growing body of literature on loss and damage due to climate change, significant knowledge gaps persist. The focus has primarily been more on theoretical aspects of economic loss, with considerably less empirical research exploring the multidimensional and non-economic impacts of climate risk. There is also significant disconnect between the high-level policy frameworks and the realities on the ground. This situation has impeded the development of innovative, interdisciplinary methodologies for assessing non-economic loss and damage. Moreover, there is a dearth of research originating from the global South, leading to limited visibility and influence in shaping scientific discourse, policymaking, and international negotiations. This gap necessitates a more inclusive, interdisciplinary, and grassroots-focused approach to develop international frameworks that are as complex and nuanced as the issues they aim to address.

The legacy of Saleemul Huq

Dr.Saleemul Huq, a visionary in the field of climate change research and advocacy, dedicated his life to addressing these challenges. His work not only advanced the understanding of L&D but also underscored the necessity of integrating local knowledge and perspectives into global climate change discourses. Recognising the gaps in existing research and the critical need for a more nuanced understanding of L&D, Saleemul Huq Memorial Scholarship and Award for Loss and Damage Research has been initiated with the aim to nurture researchers and local organisations from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The scholarship is proposed to encourage them to explore innovative approaches and methodologies to assess and address both the economic and non-economic dimensions of L&D. This scholarship is designed to empower researchers, practitioners and organisations who can create a community of practitioners and carry forward the collective effort for a resilient and equitable world in the face of climate change.

Supporting collaborative efforts towards scaling up practical solutions for loss and damage

This scholarship upholds the principles inclusivity, collaboration, and a deep commitment to understanding and addressing the multifaceted impacts of climate change,with the following goals:

  • Advance research impact and visibility

    Amplify the impact and global recognition of loss and damage research conducted researchers and local organisations from LDCs and SIDS, promoting innovative, locally driven research methodologies that reflect practical and context-specific solutions.

  • Empower local expertise

    Develop robust local research capacities in LDCs and SIDS and directly contribute to the work of international bodies like the IPCC - integrating local knowledge and experiences into global climate change frameworks.

  • Promote South-South and global collaboration

    Strengthen the South-South and global research networks, encouraging cross-regional collaboration and knowledge exchange.

How will it work ?

The initiative is an expansion of the experience of supporting researchers from global south in 2022 which led to the publication of: Loss and damage case studies from the frontline: a resource to support practice and policy and Living in the shadow of loss and damage: uncovering non-economic impacts published in November 2023. Building on the success and network created from the earlier effort, this scholarship will be managed as part of Alliance for Locally Led Approaches for Transformative Action on Loss and Damage (ALL ACT) and L&D Research Observatory . The scholarship programme will have following features:

  • Target participants and support

    The programme is specifically designed for researchers, practitioners and local organisations from LDCs and SIDS. Each year, the program will support up to 25 research initiatives, fostering development in areas critical to understanding and addressing L&D particularly non-economic loss and damage, where the focus would be on supporting women researchers and organisations representing issues of indigenous and marginalised communities..

  • Comprehensive publication and dissemination support

    The selected researchers/organisations will be provided mentoring support during research, including support for publicationin leading journals and presentation at international forums, beyond covering modest honorarium and travel expenses.

  • Recognising outstanding performance

    Among the supported research initiatives, three exceptional researchers/ organisationswill be selected to receive the Saleemul Huq memorial prize for loss and damage research. This award will honour their contributions in the field of climate change research.

What are the benefits

A comprehensive approachwill be designed to support, recognise, and empower researchers/ local organisationscovering the following:

  • Financial support

    Selected researchers/ local organisations will receive a research scholarship of USD 5000 and an additional USD 1000 to assist with travel and research expenses.

  • Mentorship

    Researchers will benefit from mentorship and guidance in research and publishing quality. This will include workshops and training sessions on research methodologies, publication strategies, and effective communication, helping researchers maximise the impact of their work. They will also be provided with access to advanced research tools, databases, and platforms to facilitate their research.

  • Networking

    Researchers will gain access to the ALL ACT community of practice, providing extensive networking opportunities with leading researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the field.

  • Recognition

    Researchers/ local organisationswill be considered for the annual Saleemul Huq Memorial Award for Loss and Damage Research. Award winners will have the opportunity to present their research at COP and receive a USD 5000 award. Additionally, their research will be featured on the ALL ACT Loss and Damage Research Observatory and high impact journals.

How to apply for scholarship

Only one application can be submitted by an applicant (individual/ organisation). The applications can be submitted in one of the following categories of non-economic loss and damage:

  • Loss of cultural heritage

    Climate change can threaten the survival of traditional ways of life, including indigenous cultures, and can lead to the loss of important cultural practices, artifacts, and languages. This can have a significant impact on the cultural identity of affected communities. It can also lead to spiritual and cultural impacts where communities are not able to practice their religious/ spiritual practices in the same way or lose their places of worship, burial grounds etc.

  • Loss of quality of life (shelter, food, health, skills, education)

    Climate change can impact the traditional ways of life and impact the quality of life of communities as the resources on which their lifestyle were dependent are either degraded or lost due to climate impacts or they are forced to move in other areas. For. e.g. This can have an impact on their food habits as they are no longer find the same ingredients to cook or they don’t find them in new areas that they move. This can impact their food security and nutritional status. Similarly people may not have access to safe drinking water due to climate impacts or they may have to walk longer distances to get safe drinking water creating drudgery.

  • Mental and physical health impacts

    Climate change can have direct physical health impacts, such as increased heat-related illnesses, respiratory problems caused by air pollution, and the spread of infectious diseases. The stresses and uncertainties associated with climate change can also have significant impacts on mental health, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. There could also be relationship between lack of mental health and psychological safety and areas like lack of confidence, lack of risk taking, lack of generosity and sharing, lack of innovation and experimentation.

  • Social disruption (migration and displacement)

    Climate change can lead to social disruption due to forced displacement and distress migration, which can lead to loss of social support network, traditional ways of life, cultural heritage as well as create mental and physical health problems and can expose communities moving in despair to trafficking and modern slavery. Migration to new areas can also lead to conflict with the native community.

  • Loss of ecosystem and biodiversity

    Climate change can lead to the extinction of certain species, as well as shifts in the distribution and abundance of other species. This can have impacts on ecosystems and the services they provide, such as pollination and pest control. Similarly, many indigenous communities treat many ailments based on medicinal plants available locally.

Applicants may find that the area in which they are proposing to undertake research may seem to cover more than one of the categories defined above. In such circumstances, please submit your application in the category where the non-economic loss and damage seems most substantive. In the submission format, there will be option to identify other categories of non economic loss and damage where the impacts are also seen.

The research application would need to cover the following aspects of L&D:

  • Highlight the L&D impacts of climate change related hazards such as droughts, floods, soil degradation, glacier melt, sea-level rise, salination, coastal erosion and biodiversity loss from the case study location.

  • Explain the different economic and non-economic loss and damage impacts these climate hazards are having on the lives, living conditions and livelihoods of the most vulnerable people (considering women and men, disabled people, children, young people, older people, marginalised and indigenous groups) and at the level of community and society (such as loss of customs, places of rituals, cultural heritage).

  • Highlight how economic and non-economic loss and damage impacts compound or exacerbate other risks (poverty, health, marginalisation etc.).

  • Explain the existing coping mechanisms being employed by households and communities to manage L&D and what practical solutions/measures might work in context of thesecommunities, including the financing and delivery mechanism.

  • Explain the action, support and financing needed to support the practical solution from national and international level.

Application submission timeline and process*

The timeline and process for submission, development and final publication will be as follows:

  • Review and shortlisting of research abstracts and intimation to shortlisted applicants by – 30 July, 2024.

  • Virtual training sessions, guidelines (particularly on research ethics) and mentoring support by experts to the shortlisted applicants to finalise the work plan and approach for the research training sessions completed by 30 August, 2024 and mentoring support throughout the research

  • First draft of research paper submitted by authors - 30 December, 2024

  • Second draft submitted by authors after addressing suggestions and feedback of peer reviewers and mentors - 28 February, 2025

  • Publication of a compendium of at least 10 high quality case studies covering different types of NELD – by 31 May, 2025

*the timelines are indicative and may change depending on need and context of research area

How to submit Case Study Abstract

Interested applicants are requested to submit their application providing an abstract of their research proposal on or before 20 June 2024. To proceed, click the "Apply" tab below.