This year, environmental disasters impacted millions of people around the world.
A lack of political will puts vulnerable communities at high risk of suffering the worst impacts of climate change.
Taking action on climate change is crucial for alleviating poverty. Although poor communities are the least responsible for climate change, they are the most affected. People who rely on the land for their livelihoods – such as farmers in Vietnam, Cambodia and Ethiopia – are particularly vulnerable. Changing weather patterns make it harder than ever to grow crops. Life in a changing climate is particularly challenging for women, who are often responsible for farming the land as well as caring for their family.
We help poor communities to prepare for and adapt to climate change. We believe that supporting in-country partners who have intimate knowledge of local culture gives vulnerable communities the best possible chance of adapting to climate change.
In Africa, our food security and livelihood projects are aimed at finding climate-sensitive solutions to alleviating poverty. From growing pest- and disease-resilient potatoes, to installing irrigation systems that can see farming communities through drought – our projects are designed to protect vulnerable people from the increasing likelihood of climate shocks.
Our work in Asia addresses the complex relationship between poverty and climate. In Vietnam, salt water intrusion in the Mekong Delta is ruining rice crops and destoying incomes. Many farmers have to seek out new livelihoods. They also face terrible decisions, such as whether to pull their children out of school because they can’t afford the fees. We help farmers in Soc Trang to adapt to salinity by offering micro-loans through our Community Development Fund. These loans help people to invest in technology and training for new businesses that don’t rely on the land, such as basket weaving or running a small shop.
In Cambodia, we work with local partners to map the volatile Veal Veng region for climate risks. Veal Veng is located in western Cambodia, where many people are subsistence farmers who rely on their own produce to feed their families. Irregular weather patterns and rainfall mean they no longer have a stable food source.
We identify the most vulnerable areas, and plan for water points, roads and other essential services. We bring community members and government representatives together in training sessions. These sessions equip at-risk communities with the tools and skills they need to create their own disaster risk reduction and response plans.
In The Solomon Islands, we help indigenous communities to adapt to climate change by incorporating their cultural traditions and practices into government climate strategies.
With our local partner, Foundation for the South Pacific International (FSPI), we record how local communities use traditional and cultural knowledge to cope with the effects of climate change. This knowledge, developed over generations, includes ways of dealing with dengue outbreaks, and alternative ways of growing crops to deal with salt water intrusion due to rising sea levels. By integrating indigenous knowledge with government policy, we are better able to develop sustainable and appropriate solutions to counter the impacts of climate change.