South Asia is taking action on climate change
Climate change is having a serious effect on South Asia. A concerted effort is therefore needed to combat the damage, and we need to act now. To help bring this about, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) is bringing together two programmes to work in partnership with the governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Over the next five years, the programme will help these countries to integrate climate change into policies, plans and budgets. It also aims to attract further climate change investment from the public and private sector.
South Asia is vulnerable
South Asia is being seriously affected by climate change, and the impact will only get worse as time goes on. By 2050, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that higher temperatures and greater temperature extremes will hit the region. Furthermore, rainfall is likely to become more erratic, with some areas receiving more than they do now and others suffering more frequent and serious droughts.
Over the same period, the population of the region is expected to expand from 1.6 to 2.2 billion. Coupled with rapid economic growth and urbanisation – and the effects of climate change – this will be a great challenge to governments seeking sustainable development for their citizens.
Climate change hits the poorest hardest
South Asia has the largest number of poor people in the world, with over 420 million people living on less than US$1.25/day. Most live in rural areas, where they depend on agriculture or other natural resources for their livelihoods. The most vulnerable groups live in drought- and flood-prone areas, or in coastal zones.
- Livestock farmers living in semi-arid regions
- Indigenous people depending on forests
- Coastal farming and fishing communities that could be hit by increasing tropical cyclones and rising sea levels
- Poor women, whose workloads will increase as agricultural yields fall and water becomes scarce.
Even small unexpected changes in the climate could cause irreversible losses and force large numbers of vulnerable people into destitution. These people will suffer the impacts of climate change hardest because most of them lack the means to withstand changes.
The urban poor are also vulnerable due to infrastructure and land development decisions driving settlements onto unsuitable land. The poor can be forced to live in areas that are exposed to flooding, landslides and other climate-related disasters.
Taking action on climate today
As part of its work to combat climate change in the region, DFID is bringing together two programmes: the Climate Proofing Growth and Development (CPGD) programme, and the Climate Change Innovation Programme (CCIP). This will provide funds and a flexible response to support governments and other stakeholders in the following kinds of action.
Transform systems of planning and delivery
These activities include: linking planning and budgetary frameworks to improve resource allocation; developing decision making support tools; and creating strong systems for transparency, accountability and feedback. The goals of these activities are to help avoid policy conflicts and to create greater efficiency compared with managing climate change through separate, independent efforts.
Build the climate change knowledge of decision makers
The programme aims to build the capacity of political leaders, governments, practitioners and investors by capturing and sharing lessons on how to plan for climate change. This will ensure political engagement and strong leadership for establishing favourable policies and programmes (including those for private sector investment) and preparing communities to adapt to climate change.
Support the design and delivery of climate resilience
The programme will provide technical support to help governments and communities develop climate-smart methods tailored to their regions. It will test new approaches in practice and generate evidence for the design of specific policy instruments and innovative approaches. These activities will address delivery challenges, with a focus on accountability and learning.
Promote investments for climate compatible development
The programme will attract new investments from public (domestic and international) and private sectors for financing further climate-related projects. It will promote transparent and accountable financing, and develop proposals for domestic and international climate funds.
During the next few months, the programme will work hard to develop its portfolio of support, in consultation with governments and other stakeholders.
Working in partnership
DFID has worked in this region for a long time, and this programme aims to deepen engagement and share lessons – both across the countries involved and with other development agencies. In addition to working in close partnership with UNDP, ACT will also consult with agencies and key stakeholders (such as the Asian Development Bank, USAID and the World Bank) who are engaged with strengthening the capacity of governments to plan and implement climate change programmes.