Poverty-Stricken Countries At Greatest Risk Of Climate Change Impacts

Washington Post: Mozambique isn’t alone. Rising sea levels threaten millions in the developing world.
Mami Mizutori, head of the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

“The devastation of one of Mozambique’s largest cities, Beira, by Cyclone Idai, which claimed hundreds of lives, is stark evidence that the countries which contribute least to climate change are the ones being affected by it the most. … Beira is not alone. There are thousands of cities and towns across the developing world where the sea is encroaching little by little. … That threat adds another layer to preexisting risks that stem from rapid urbanization, the rise of slums in vulnerable locations, the absence of resilient infrastructure, failures in planning, and the destruction of protective ecosystems … But the greatest risk driver of them all are the extreme levels of poverty that still afflict countries such as Mozambique and cripples their capacity to adapt to climate change. What Beira tells us is that climate change is creating new obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty and hunger. New climate risks are emerging, and their full significance is yet to be fully grasped. … The push for progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be pursued with unshakable resolve, but it must be accompanied by an equally strong push for investment in resilient infrastructure in the poorest places on Earth, where adaptation to climate change is now a matter of life or death” (3/26).

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