President of Ethiopia backs unified approach to help poor adapt
President of Ethiopia backs unified approach as positive way forward to help poor people adapt to increasing global shocks and stresses
Experts from the climate change, disaster risk reduction and social protection fields agreed last week to break down the boundaries that keep their disciplines separate as the need to adapt to the effects of climate change and other natural disasters becomes ever more evident.
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan is the most recent disaster to illustrate the massive human cost natural calamities can bring about. The official death toll currently exceeds 9,000 and the World Bank has put the cost of Japan’s economic recovery at up to US$235bn – and this in a country where preparedness for natural disaster may be considered a national priority. When calamities occur in developing countries, the cost can be considerably greater in human terms, and development is set back even further.
At a workshop in Addis Ababa opened by the President of Ethiopia, Girma Wolde-Giogis, leading international development agencies, policy-makers and practitioners from 21 countries from Latin America, Sub-Sahara Africa and Asia considered an integrated approach to reducing poor people’s vulnerability to climate change, as well as to disasters and other shocks and stresses affecting their livelihoods.
‘No one on this planet is immune to the facts of climate change or disaster, whether natural or man-made,’ the President said. ‘It is however in the developing world countries where the impacts are more clearly felt. Whether it is flooding, drought, landslide, forest fire, conflict, disease or economic shocks, not only are developing countries more aggressively impacted but it is often the lower income groups who are most vulnerable.’
He added: ‘Either we change our ways of life, or climate change will alter it [for us].’
Participants at the four-day workshop, ‘Making Social Protection Work for Pro-Poor Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, were also addressed, in a special video presentation, by Andrew Steer, the World Bank’s Special Envoy for Climate Change. Declaring that ‘a revolution is underway’ in social protection programmes, which seek to place cash and assets in the hands of poor people to help make them less vulnerable to adverse shocks, he told participants that there was also a sharply growing focus on disaster risk management as well as adaptation to climate change in development thinking and practice.
He said: ‘The proposition of this conference is that these three [social protection, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation] must talk to each other, perform together, sing together and be part of a common process. And yet, for the most part these three have lived in their own silos: adaptation in ministries of the environment, disaster risk management in ministries of public works or the interior, and social protection in ministries of social affairs. The same also in development agencies, where teams have lived in parallel systems.’
It was time, he said, for these three main approaches to risk reduction and adaptation to come out of their ‘parallel universes’ and find ways forward to work together.
The workshop was co-organised by the Adaptive Social Protection in the Context of Agriculture and Food Security1 research programme (ASP programme), based at the Institute of Development Studies2 (IDS), which is seeking to explore and highlight the benefits of an interlinked approach to risk reduction and resilience building for poor people in rural areas of developing countries.
Source(s):Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and http://www.preventionweb.net