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Urgent need to fund measures to protect world’s poorest from impact of climate change
The findings of a major climate change report published today highlight the urgent response which is needed to protect the world’s most vulnerable people from the immediate threat posed by climate crisis to their livelihoods and very existence, Concern Worldwide warned.
“The report’s expert authors confirm what the world’s poorest are experiencing everyday – that the impacts of climate change are here now and will only get worse without immediate action,” Concern’s Sally Tyldesley said.
“The report also shows that there are steps we can take to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Disasters do not need to be inevitable. But funding from high-income countries is needed to take action.”
Ms Tyldesley was commenting following the publication of a report by Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which addressed impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. It warned that between 3.3 billion and 3.6 billion people live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change.
Climate change is a major driver of global hunger, with projections that an additional 78 million will be hungry by 2030 as a result.
“The $100 billion a year promised by high income countries in 2009 to help people in poorer countries avoid greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the ever increasing droughts, floods and extreme weather events that come with climate change has never been delivered. At the COP26 gathering in November world leaders further pushed it back to 2023.”
“In light of today’s report, the world’s high income countries need to make sure they are delivering on the commitments they’ve made and provide vulnerable communities with the resources to adapt and protect themselves from the impact of climate change,” Ms Tyldesley said. “We know from our experience working with communities around the world the very real positive impact which climate adaptation can have on people’s lives.”
With funding, climate adaptation programmes can be effective. In Tana River County, Kenya, Concern began working in 2020 with pastoralist communities whose pasture lands were being impacted by climate change.
Pastoralists are used to living with drought, but climate change is making them more frequent and more severe. This makes it harder and harder for people to cope, as their livelihoods are repeatedly eroded. In some places there has been no appreciable rainfall for four years.
Working with Concern the pastoralist communities learnt to plant crops and, irrigating land with water from the Tana River, have become successful farmers.
In their first two seasons, members of the project produced over 850 tonnes of combined produce, valued at more than €200,000. Crops grown include mung beans, tomatoes, maize, collard greens, spinach, cow peas, watermelon kale, banana, okra, onions, red pepper and groundnuts.
Despite the worst drought to hit Kenya in 40 years they are currently harvesting their watermelon and red pepper crops. They not only have enough food to support their families but are also selling excess produce in local markets, helping to stabilise soaring food prices in Kenya. This is the first time in 30 years where the communities have not needed food assistance.
Another example of climate adaptation is the work being done by Concern with communities in northern Bangladesh who are impacted by increasingly recurring flooding.
Homesteads and livestock pens have been built on platforms about the high water mark. Homes are constructed so that they can be quickly dismantled and moved to higher areas when there are advanced flood warnings. Bamboo and banana trees are being planted to protect against soil erosion.
“The most vulnerable communities have not contributed to climate change, but are paying a heavy price,” Ms Tyldesley said. “We know that with support, people can build their lives and deal with the impacts of climate change, but to do so they need commitments made by governments to be delivered on.”
Notes to the Editor
To watch a video on the climate-smart agriculture programme in Tana River County visit https://youtu.be/tuBBAd9ObLA
For more details of the flood reduction work in north Bangladesh visit https://vimeo.com/679783171/afd62e0ea6
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