Climate Change and Development Links
Until recently, climate change was viewed largely as an environmental concern, of little relevance to development policy-makers or practitioners. Likewise, development approaches have been given less attention within the climate change community, who instead favour natural science approaches focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This paper describes the independent evolution of climate change and development discourses, and provides some explanation as to why the two fields have operated largely independently from one another. The recent initiatives to strengthen links between the climate change and development communities are also described. These are of particular importance as climate change impacts will significantly affect national development. Climate change experts can no longer ignore the fact that most climate change impacts will fall predominantly on the world’s poorest people. Likewise, without addressing climate change issues, much development policy and practice will be wasted. Alternative development pathways will influence the capacity of communities and countries to adapt to climate change and will also determine future greenhouse gas emission pathways.The authors make some specific recommendations for particular groups of actors: • International donor agencies need to assess the extent to which their investment portfolios in developing countries might be at risk due to climate change and take steps to reduce that risk.• Developing country governments need to understand the extent to which they may be vulnerable to climate change and take steps to reduce vulnerability (and enhance adaptive capacity) of the most exposed sectors and populations.• Vulnerable communities (and NGOs and other agencies working with those communities) must also understand the extent to which they may be vulnerable to climate change and to take steps to reduce their vulnerability (and enhance adaptive capacity), eg. through micro-insurance schemes.• Less developed country countries should implement their National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs).• All conscious citizens of the world must understand their own contribution to the problem of climate change and their capacity to reduce emissions and support those most vulnerable to unavoidable impacts.