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Waiting for the water to come? Poverty reduction in times of global climate change

Warten, bis das Wasser kommt? Armutsbekämpfung in Zeiten des Klimawandels
[research report]

Scholtes, Fabian; Hornidge, Anna-Katharina

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-323154

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Corporate Editor CARE Deutschland-Luxemburg e.V.; Universität Bonn, Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung
Abstract It is the poor who suffer most under the impact of climate change. They are often directly dependent on the natural environment and have few options to escape the consequences of change such as poor harvests, water shortages and illness. Their survival strategies and livelihoods are endangered, in some cases acutely. Climate change makes poverty reduction more difficult. First, it is harder to help people out of poverty when conditions are increasingly uncertain: but climate projections are often uncertain, making it difficult to assess the effectiveness of adaptation measures. Second, there is the danger that climate change will reduce more people to poverty, increasing the numbers of those who need assistance while the resources of those tackling poverty are limited. This paper presents the consequences of climate change, the ways climate change is anticipated to develop in future and aspects which make the poor particularly vulnerable. The focus is on the measures people themselves can take to maintain and adapt their livelihood strategies to the changing climate conditions. We show how poverty reduction is linked to climate change, the fundamental goals and criteria of poverty alleviation and concrete examples of how it can include adaptation to climate change impacts. Various case studies from Tanzania, India and Indonesia illustrate in detail how both people’s own adaptation strategies and the work of organisations like CARE can constitute successful reactions to the consequences of climate change. Finally, conclusions are drawn in the form of recommendations for organisations like CARE. Recommendations for organisations on povert y reduction 1. Poverty reduction should prioritize adaptation to changing climatic conditions (not merely coping with them) and be based on existing local strategies. 2. Local knowledge of relations between climate change events and local adaptation options should be systematically included; local populations should also be encouraged to develop their knowledge. 3. However, existing practices as well as new strategies should be critically examined applying five criteria (effectiveness, flexibility, fairness, efficiency and sustainability). 4. Tackling poverty should promote awareness of and independent local adaptation to those climate change impacts which have so far attracted less attention. 5. The actual impacts of climate change are extremely hard to predict. This fact should not be ignored and current projections taken as “certain” when planning adaptation measures. 6. The urgency of adaptation to climate change should not be used to justify measures (such as forced resettlement) without the agreement of the local population. 7. Poverty reduction measures should be realistic and organizations should concentrate their energies, aiming to preserve the poorest people’s general resilience and capacity to act. 8. Profound, broad-based and critical analysis of the extent of climate change impacts and adaptation measures is essential. Common recommendations such as diversifying income have sometimes proved unproductive or counterproductive in tackling poverty.
Keywords climate change; consequences; developing country; poverty; combating poverty; water; natural resources; development aid; Africa; Asia; sustainable development
Classification Ecology, Environment; Sociology of Developing Countries, Developmental Sociology
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
City Bonn
Page/Pages 45 p.
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution