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REPORT: Climate change and exposure to ‘natural’ disasters threaten to derail global anti-poverty efforts


A new report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK Met Office and Risk Management Solutions shows how disasters and climate change could undermine the goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.

As temperatures warm, many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens will face the growing risks linked to more intense or lengthy droughts, extreme rainfall and flooding and severe heat waves – risks that threaten lives and livelihoods, as well as the hard-won gains made on poverty in recent decades.

The impoverishing impact of both climate change and natural disasters is so grave that the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel (HLP) on Post-2015 Development Goals has suggested a target to be added to the “first proposed post-2015 development goal on ending poverty: ‘to build resilience and reduce the number of deaths caused by disasters’”.

We already know that disasters have a distinct geography, that poverty is concentrated in particular parts of the world and that climate change has an impact on extremes of heat, rainfall and droughts in many regions. But how will these patterns overlap in 2030, the probable end point for the next set of development goals, and how serious a threat do disasters and climate change pose to our prospects of eliminating extreme poverty in the next two decades?

A new report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK Met Office and Risk Management Solutions The geography of poverty, disasters and climate extremes in 2030, examines the relationship between disasters and poverty. It concludes that, without concerted action, up to 325 million extremely poor people could be living in the 49 countries most exposed to the full range of natural hazards and climate extremes in 2030.

It maps out where the poorest people are likely to live and develops a range of scenarios to identify potential patterns of vulnerability to extreme weather and earthquakes – who is going to be vulnerable and why. These scenarios are dynamic: they consider how the threats may change, which countries face the greatest risk and what role can be played by disaster risk management (DRM). At present, The 11 countries most at risk of disaster-induced poverty are: Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

The report argues that if the international community is serious about eradicating poverty by 2030, it must put DRM at the heart of poverty eradication efforts. Without this, the target of ending poverty may not be within reach.

Read the full report: The geography of poverty, disasters and climate extremes in 2030

 

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