Reducing the Vulnerability of the Poor through Adaptation
Despite international efforts, poverty has become more widespread in many countries in the last decade, making poverty reduction the core challenge for development in the 21st century... However, climate change is a serious risk to poverty reduction and threatens to undo decades of development efforts.
This paper focuses on the impacts of climate change on poverty reduction efforts in the contextof sustaining progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and beyond. It discusses ways of mainstreaming and integrating adaptation to climate change into poverty reduction and sustainable development efforts.
The chief messages emerging from this paper are:
- Climate change is happening and will increasingly affect the poor.
- Adaptation is necessary and there is a need to integrate responses to climate change and adaptation measures into strategies for poverty reduction to ensure sustainable development.
This decision to focus on adaptation is deliberate and is taken with the understanding that adaptation cannot replace mitigation efforts. The magnitude and rate of climate change will strongly depend on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere.
The higher the concentrations of GHGs, the higher the likelihood of irreversible and grave damage to human and biological systems. Therefore, adaptation is only one part of the solution. Mitigation of climate change by limiting greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere is the indispensable other part.