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REPORT: Climate change and extreme weather events – can developing countries adapt?

Will developing countries with economic and social development limitations be able to face the challenges imposed by climate change? This paper addresses some pertinent issues related to this question.

Developing countries are vulnerable to extremes of normal climatic variability, and climate change is likely to increase the frequency and magnitude of some extreme weather events and disasters. Adaptation to climate change is dependent on current adaptive capacity and the development models that are being pursued by developing countries. Various frameworks are available for vulnerability and adaptation (V&A) assessments, and they have both advantages and limitations. Investments in developing countries are more focused on recovery from a disaster than on the creation of adaptive capacity.

Extreme climatic events create a spiral of debt burden on developing countries. Increased capacity to manage extreme weather events can reduce the magnitude of economic, social and human damage and eventually, investments, in terms of borrowing money from the lending agencies. Vulnerability to extreme weather events, disaster management and adaptation must be part of long-term sustainable development planning in developing countries. Lending agencies and donors need to reform their investment policies in developing countries to focus more on capacity building instead of just investing in recovery operations and infrastructure development.

Will developing countries with economic and social development limitations be able to face the challenges imposed by climate change? This paper, from Elsevier and ScienceDirect, addresses some pertinent issues related to this question. Section 2 reviews various vulnerability and adaptation (V&A) assessment strategies both currently practised and proposed. Section 3 discusses three case studies of extreme weather events drawn from different climatological and geographical contexts and the coping capacity and adaptation measures. Section 4 discusses whether developing countries can adapt to climate change in the context of present situations. It focuses on the capacity of the absorption of economic shock of a disaster and a shift in development policies to put more emphasis on capacity building than on recovery operations.

Read the report here.

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