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How to keep 100 million people out of poverty

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Walking through fields Mali. Photo: Curt Carnemark /World Bank-ML020S06

Ahead of UN conference, World Bank says ‘climate-smart’ development can keep 100 million people out of poverty

Without inclusive and climate-smart development, alongside efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that protect the poor, agricultural shocks, natural disasters and the spread of diseases could push more than 100 million additional people into poverty by 2030, the World Bank warns in a new report released just weeks ahead of a major United Nations climate conference in Paris.

The report, Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty, finds that poor people are already at high risk from climate-related shocks, including crop failures from reduced rainfall, spikes in food prices after extreme weather events, and increased incidence of diseases after heat waves and floods. It says such shocks could wipe out hard-won gains, leading to irreversible losses, driving people back into poverty, particularly in Africa and South Asia.

“This report sends a clear message that ending poverty will not be possible unless we take strong action to reduce the threat of climate change on poor people and dramatically reduce harmful emissions,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said today in apress release.

“Climate change hits the poorest the hardest, and our challenge now is to protect tens of millions of people from falling into extreme poverty because of a changing climate,” the World Bank chief explains. Efforts to end poverty, the linchpin of the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in September, could be derailed if the impacts of climate change on poor and vulnerable people and communities not effectively addressed.

According to the report, the poorest people are more exposed than the average population to climate- related shocks such as floods, droughts, and heatwaves, and they lose much more of their wealth when they are hit. In the 52 countries where data was available, 85 per cent of the population lives in countries where poor people are more exposed to drought than the average. Poor people are also more exposed to higher temperatures and live in countries where food production is expected to decrease because of climate change.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.