Climate change is happening. This is not a reality that can be swept under the rag any longer. It continues to threaten progress on development particularly in developing countries because they have the least capacity to cope. Ironically, the most affected by this phenomenon, the most vulnerable in the poorest of countries around the globe have had the least contribution to this phenomenon that’s threatening lives, food baskets, clean water, and entire livelihoods each passing day. Adaptation to climate change in these countries is therefore critical. These adjustments in response to the negative impacts of climate change are necessary as they are locally focused and inexpensive.
- They tend to be located in geographically vulnerable areas, such as flood-prone valleys, drought-prone Somalia, or cyclone-prone Bangladesh, and in more vulnerable locations.
- Slums and informal settlements where most of the urban poor live are usually sited on land prone to landslips or to flooding and riverbank erosion. Wealthy people, commerce, and industry can afford to situate themselves on safer land.
- A big percentage of poor communities are dependent on natural resources to support their livelihoods e.g rain-fed farming that is now becoming even more difficult and risky because of greater unpredictability in the timing of rainy seasons and the pattern of rain within seasons, making it more difficult to decide when to cultivate, sow, and harvest, and needing more resources to seize the right time for planting, and to maintain crops and animals through dry spells.
- Poor people rarely have insurance to cover loss of property due to storms, droughts, flooding or They cannot pay for the healthcare required when climate change-induced outbreaks of malaria and other diseases occur. E.g. in the event of a drought, crops destroyed greatly threaten their livelihoods because such crop is mostly uninsured which means its destruction not only leaves the small scale farmers without food but in some cases without a source of income.
- As a result of their poor nature, it is extremely difficult for the poor in many communities to demand better services e.g. early warning systems that inform them of impending climate-related catastrophes. This means that this presents a constant vicious cycle of surviving one calamity as they await the next one to strike. E.g. communities that live in slums rarely get their voices heard by the political class because politicians constantly give handouts instead of implementing long term sustainable policies. Since these people have little to no option, they prefer to take the handouts in the place of demanding for solutions to their problems. This ‘handout culture’ keeps these communities poor and politicians in power because they know they can leverage on this poverty to get votes and get elected into office.
Poor communities already struggle to cope with the existing challenges of poverty and climate shocks, but climate change could push many beyond their ability to cope or even survive. It is vital that these communities are helped to adapt. This adaptation has to be community-led, taking a bottom-up approach that is community-based and participatory, building on the priorities, knowledge, and capacities of local people. Seasoned’ Community-based climate change and adaptation training identifies and facilitates local development activities that strengthen the capacity of local people to adapt to the capricious climate. This approach employs participatory processes and disaster risk reduction.