[Coral-List] Vulnerable countries unite against climate change

Georgina Bustamante gbustamante at bellsouth.net
Mon Nov 9 16:45:51 EST 2009



From: glispa-discuss at googlegroups.com
[mailto:glispa-discuss at googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Bruce Potter at IRF
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2009 9:36 AM
To: Caribbean Territories Group
Cc: Discuss GLISPA
Subject: [GLISPA Discuss] Vulnerable countries unite against climate change


from a [UK] Department for International Development (DFID) blog site at




seems a bit overwrought, but nice to see some joint action by small islands
and others. . . .


Vulnerable countries unite against climate change


Maldives meeting a crucial step towards Copenhagen

09 NOVEMBER 2009

In Copenhagen in December, world leaders will have the chance to agree a
global plan to fight climate change.

The world’s most powerful nations will attend, but it is important that the
meeting is not just about the interests of rich, developed countries.

Representatives will also be present from the world’s poorest countries –
including those that will be the worst affected by climate change over the
next century.

Floods, droughts, cyclones and other climate-related disasters are already
being visited upon the developing world, but to date international
negotiations on tackling climate change have been dominated by the voices
and concerns of the developed world.

On 10 and 11 October, the leaders of some of those countries most vulnerable
to the effects of man-made global warming will gather in the Maldives for
the inaugural Climate Vulnerables Forum. This is an opportunity for
participants to work together to develop a strong, unified voice on climate
change - a voice that will be heard in international negotiations such as

Countries attending include: the Maldives, Tanzania, Kenya, Barbados,
Vietnam, Bhutan, Ghana, Kiribati, Nepal, Bangladesh and Rwanda. Each of
these countries has experience of the effects of climate change – and action
is vital in each to prevent catastrophic losses in years to come.

Vulnerable countries at a glance

The Maldives: A collection of 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, 80% of the
Maldives is no more than 1 metre above sea level. Scientists predict that
rising sea levels could mean the Maldives become uninhabitable within the
next century. Climate change is also contributing to more frequent and
intense storm surges.

Tanzania: Droughts and floods will be more frequent and rainfall patterns
will change. Since the country is dependent on agriculture, this will impact
heavily on economic growth. Low rainfall has already led to power shortages
from the country’s hydro-electric dams, while falling water levels in the
Great Lakes are threatening fishing, and floods in recent years have left
thousands homeless.

Kenya: Four major droughts have occurred in the last decade and, with
temperatures set to rise by up to 5°C by 2100, more severe droughts are
expected in coming decades. Poor rains in 2006 left 3.5 million people in
need of food aid and in recent years food prices have shot up steeply.
Floods will be more frequent and more severe due to wetter rainy seasons.

Ethiopia: Almost one-quarter of the population was affected by extreme
hunger in 2002/03 due to severe droughts and around 4 million needed food
aid this year due to failed harvests and high food prices. Uncertainty in
rainfall patterns could undermine current food security strategies, leaving
more people at risk of starvation.

Barbados: The Caribbean is one of the world’s “hot spots” for climate change
impacts, and is at particular risk from floods and hurricanes. The 2007 and
2008 hurricane season left the region in need of humanitarian aid due to
infrastructure damage and loss of livelihoods.

Vietnam: By 2100 temperatures are projected to rise by 4.8°C and sea levels
by 70 centimetres, affecting agriculture and threatening livelihoods and
infrastructure in coastal areas. The weather is expected to become
increasingly dry over the next few decades and it has been suggested that
rice production could halve by the end of this century.

Vanuatu: Like the Maldives Pacific islands such as Vanuatu will be
vulnerable to rises in the sea level and to extreme weather events. The
Pacific Ocean will also become more acidic, affecting marine life and the
livelihoods of people dependent on fishing.

Costa Rica: Climate-related disasters have struck Latin America with greater
frequency over recent decades. Temperature increases over this century will
see, by 2020 to 2030, the melting of most tropical glaciers, putting people
in coastal areas at severe risk. Meanwhile, drier conditions will reduce the
availability of water, affect hydro-power and reduce farmland to desert.

Taking action

DFID is already helping to prepare for the impacts of extreme weather in
many of the above regions. In the Caribbean, efforts are underway to improve
strategies for responding to disasters, while in the drought-hit countries
of the Horn of Africa, farmers are being provided with alternative sources
of income, so that they are more secure when crops fail. In Asian countries
at risk of flooding, homes and schools are being built that will not be
swept away by rising waters.

The countries in attendance at the Climate Vulnerables Forum are less
responsible for global warming than the bigger carbon-emitters of the
developed world. But they will be more seriously affected by global warming.
It is therefore crucial that their concerns and priorities are put at the
centre of international efforts to tackle climate change.



      37 Years of Environmental Service to Small Tropical Islands 


      Island Resources Foundation    Fone           202/265-9712  

      1718 "P" St NW, # T-4                fax     202/232-0748

      Washington, DC 20036              Potter cell: 1-443-454-9044

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