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Poverty and climate change: reducing the vulnerability of the poor through adaptation

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The report makes clear that climate change presents a serious risk to poverty eradication and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. While it affects us all, the adverse impact of climate change is more severely felt by poor people and poor countries. The key messages 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
adaptation measures into strategies for poverty reduction to ensure sustainable development

The report also considers how adaptation can be strengthened to build the resilience of countries, communities, and households to all types of shocks, including climate change. Many of these are 'no regrets' measures - things that are worth doing whether or not there is human-induced climate change. The final section outlines steps to promote the mainstreaming of adaptation into sustainable development.
Strengthening policy interventions will require:

Improved governance, including an active civil society and open, transparent, and accountable policy and decision making processes, which can have a critical bearing on the way in which policies and institutions respond to the impact of climatic factors on the poor.
First steps towards mainstreaming climate issues into all national, sub-national, and sectoral planning processes, such as Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) or national strategies for sustainable development.
Encouraging a ministry with a broad mandate, such as planning or finance, to be fully involved in mainstreaming adaptation, especially in countries where major climate impacts are expected.
Combining approaches at the government and institutional level with bottom-up approaches rooted in regional, national, and local knowledge.
Empowerment of communities so that they can participate in assessments and feed in their knowledge to provide useful climate-poverty information. They will also need full access to climate relevant information systems.
Vulnerability assessments that fully address the different shades and causes of poverty.
Access to good quality information about the impacts of climate change. This is key for effective poverty reduction strategies. Early warning systems and information distribution systems help to anticipate and prevent disasters.
Integration of impacts intomacroeconomic projections. The rate and pattern of economic growth is a critical element of poverty eradication, and climatic factors can have a powerful bearing on both. Integration will prevent climate change diverting limited resources into disaster relief and recovery activities and away from long-term development priorities. The national budget process should be the key process to identify climate change risks and to incorporate risk management so as to provide sufficient flexibility in the face of uncertainty.

The report is available in two parts:

Part 1
Part 2