Current and future climate risks are eroding already fragile economies and threatening the survival of vulnerable populations.
Existing poverty is exacerbated by severe economic and human losses caused by disasters. During the last two decades, 76 per cent of all disaster events were weather- and climate- related. They accounted for approximately 45 per cent of the deaths and 80 per cent of the economic losses caused by natural hazards. More importantly, the number of small and localised disasters is on the increase and some 92 per cent of these local events are weather-related.
Climate change is expected to increase the number and scale of such events, and to make people more vulnerable to them by destroying their sources of income and reducing development opportunities.
And it is not only the immediate losses caused by disasters that will need to be addressed. Disasters undo decades of development efforts and reverse gains in poverty reduction. Recent estimates calculate that 15 to 60 per cent of aid flows are affected by climate change. Private investments are at an even greater risk. Actions that simultaneously reduce poverty, address disaster risk, and consider current and future climate variations therefore prove to be the best options.
The international agreement should recognise that we cannot choose between adaptation, poverty reduction and disaster risk reduction. Tackling poverty and reducing people’s vulnerability to extreme weather events increases their chances to survive and adapt to climate change.
A recent report of the Commission on Climate Change and Development highlights that in fact, most local adaptation work will need to be ‘doing more of the same’ but with an improved understanding of risks and the multiplying effect that climate change has on these risks.
Similarly, the Bali Action Plan, agreed by governments three years ago, highlights the mutual benefits of risk reduction and adaptation, and calls for effective disaster risk management.
Adaptation funding therefore must be made available for immediate poverty and risk-reduction activities, including sustainable land-use planning, establishing building codes and standards, local risk assessments, effective early warning systems, the protection of environmental resources and ecosystems, and raising public awareness of climate risk.
Recently the Bread for the World and Diakoni Katastrophenhilfe published a study entitled “Women Farmers Adopting to Climate Change”. The study contains four case studies from India, Bangladesh, Kenya & Peru.
Food is something that most of us take for granted, yet more than one billion people go to bed hungry every night. Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of many around the world. This report looks at how the effects of greenhouse gases in agriculture can be mitigated. Please download the report below.
Norwegian Church Aid have produced the following reports on how communities are adapting to climate change on a local level.