Accessibility links

Shaping climate resilient development

This paper presents an assessment of climate risks from the existing climate as well as from a range of scenarios. It assesses the expected annual loss to economies from existing climate patterns, a projection of the extent to which future economic growth will put greater value at risk, and the incremental loss that could occur over a twenty-year period under a range of climate change scenarios based on the latest scientific knowledge. The report also evaluates some feasible and applicable measures to adapt to the expected risk, such as infrastructural, technological, behavioural and financial solutions. Using eight case studies from China, Guyana, India, Mali, Samoa, Tanzania, the UK and the US, the authors test the methodology against a sample of climate hazards, economic impacts and development stages.

It notes that despite uncertainties about the possible effects of global warming on local weather patterns, society knows enough to build scenarios on which to base decision making. It also argues that significant economic value is at risk due to climate change. If current development trends continue to 2030, the locations studied will lose between 1 and 12 per cent of GDP as a result of existing climate patterns, with low income populations such as small-scale farmers losing an even greater proportion of their income. The report further notes that a high percentage of the losses expected in the case locations under severe climate change scenarios could be averted through adaptation measures whose economic benefits outweigh their costs – with even higher levels of prevention possible in highly targeted geographies.

The report recommends the following key steps that would be core to implementing a comprehensive climate resilient development strategy at the national and local level:

  1. Create an inclusive national and local effort. This would ideally be an official process led by a senior government decision-maker, with significant engagement from the private sector, NGO and academics.
  2. Define current and target penetration of the priority measures identified.
  3. Address existing obstacles to development implementation, such as policy frameworks, institutional capability and organisation.
  4. Encourage sufficient funding from the international community, for example, technical skills, institutional capacity-building, policy and planning, and knowledge dissemination.
  5. Recognise and mobilise different roles for each stakeholder, including governments, NGOs, the private and informal sectors, communities and individuals.