Thursday, April 26, 2007

Climate change as a development issue

Earlier this month, UNDP Administrator Kemal Derviş expressed support for the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.

“For many people in the developing world climate change means drought, famine and the loss of their homes, land, or even their lives. These people have been coping ably with the variability of weather patterns for many years. Now, they face a challenge of adaptation they simply cannot deal with alone.”

The IPCC report paints an unsettling picture of the advance of climate change and its potential harm to the lives of millions. It projects that many millions more people will be threatened by serious flooding every year by the latter part of this century, especially in densely populated, low-lying areas that already face other challenges such as tropical storms and local coastal sinking.

How does climate change tie in with development? Simple, hurricanes, flooding, drought, and other effects of climate change can rapidly wipe out important gains made in human development. In Dira Dawa, Ethiopia, more than 300 people died and 10,000 were made homeless by flash flooding last August.