created by devilish sweet Roberta Ferguson. Before I list my 5 “Rockin’ Girl Bloggers”, I would like to take this opportunity, provided by accepting this award; to bring awareness to Humanity and Climate as it affects all HumanKind:
OCHA-EPS Draft Position Paper:(Written by and accredited to OCHA/EPS)
Humanitarian impact of climate change
"The majority of the UN's work still focuses on preventing and ending conflict, but the danger posed by war to all of humanity — and to our planet — is at least matched by the climate crisis and global warming."
"In coming decades, changes in our environment and the resulting upheavals — from droughts to inundated coastal areas to loss of arable land — are likely to become a major driver of war and conflict."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moo, 2 March 2007
Climate change and its adverse effects on humankind and nature is becoming today a major preoccupation for all international actors. Indeed, these effects tend to be more acute since recent decades, and scientific analysis predict that they are likely to intensify further. All vital sectors are concerned, from water resources, to agricultural production, coastal zones, human settlements or the health sector. Therefore it is certain that the work of the humanitarian community is deeply concerned by these changes. In this context, OCHA Emergency Preparedness Section (EPS) decided to prepare a paper analysing the consequences of climate change in the humanitarian field and developing OCHA’s position and towards climate change. The analysis focuses on the humanitarian impact in developing countries, which are more vulnerable and have less efficient coping mechanisms.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS A REALITY
An international scientific consensus has emerged that our world is getting warmer. In fact, abundant data demonstrate that global climate has warmed during the past 150 years. The increase in temperature was not constant, but rather consisted of warming and cooling cycles at intervals of several decades. Nonetheless, the long-term trend is one of net global warming.
Corresponding with this warming, alpine glaciers have been retreating, sea levels have risen, and climatic zones are shifting. The 1980s and 1990s were the warmest decades on record. The 10 warmest years in global meteorological history have all occurred in the past 15 years and the 20th century has been the warmest globally in the last 600 years.
According to NASA, 2007 is likely to see warmer temperatures than 2006 and could prove to be the warmest on record, thanks to El Niño and continued emissions of greenhouse gases. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released on 2 February 2007 predicts continued warming of 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade for the next few decades.
But climate change is more than a warming trend, which is why the term “global warming” is an inaccurate description of the phenomenon. Indeed, there will be two main types of phenomena occurring at the same time: gradual changes such as sea level rise and shifts of climatic zones due to increased temperatures, and more extreme weather events which would increase in frequency and magnitude. Such climate change could have far-reaching and/or unpredictable environmental, social and economic consequences.
However, there is still uncertainty in the projections with regard to the exact magnitude, rate and regional patterns of climate change.
THE HUMANITARIAN IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
The events caused by climate change have three characteristics, which will have an impact in the humanitarian field.
They are extreme, in terms of intensity, which often cause extensive damage and substantial loss of life in a developing country
They are repeated, and would therefore have an economic and social impact difficult to afford for poor countries
They are difficult to foresee because they are not following the “traditional” climate cycle
Consequences of these events in the humanitarian field
They are a threat to human life. Events of high intensity would have an impact in terms of human loss. The rise of the sea level will also endanger coastal cities, such as Lagos.
They impact on human health. The increase of temperatures is conducive to a rise of epidemics and doesn’t facilitate sanitary conditions. Therefore it is likely that epidemics such as cholera, malaria, dengue fever will increase in some areas1.
They are a threat to food security and water supply. Climate change will increasingly put pressure on crop yields. Indeed, the decrease of agricultural productivity in tropical and sub-tropical zones particularly will endanger food security. Communities relying on fishing activities for their feeding will also be affected by the warming of oceans.
They are a threat to peace and security. Scarcity of resources leads to competition and could exacerbate tensions already existing between different ethnic groups, countries, etc.
They are leading to environmental migrations and are the source of a new category of refugees or IDPs leaving lands at risk, voluntarily or forced by the governments. Rising sea levels damaging coastal regions through flooding and erosion, desertification and shrinking freshwater supplies displaced up to 10 million people in year 2006, and will create up to 50 million environmental refugees by the end of the decade2. The Red Cross says environmental disasters already displace more people than war.
Environment-related migration has been most acute in sub-Saharan Africa, but also affects millions of people in Asia and India. Europe and the US face increased pressure from people driven from North Africa and Latin America by deteriorating soil and water conditions.
Climate change exacerbate vulnerabilities
Climate change has a bigger impact on poor communities, which are the most vulnerable. In fact, developing countries are more vulnerable, due to the economic importance of climatic sensitive sectors (agriculture, fisheries) and their limited human, institutional and financial capacity to anticipate and respond to the direct and indirect effects of climate change. It is likely that this vulnerability is higher for the least developed countries located in the tropical and sub-tropical areas.
Often extreme weather events set back the development process for decades.
MAIN EFFECTS AND THREATS BY REGION3
Africa may be the most vulnerable continent to climate change because widespread poverty limits countries capabilities to adapt. Consequences of climate change are:
Increase in droughts, floods and other extreme events would add to stress on water resources, food security, human health, infrastructure4.
Changes in rainfall and intensified land use would exacerbate the desertification process, e.g. in Western Sahel and Northern and Southern Africa.
Grain yields are projected to decrease, and would therefore have an impact on food security, particularly in small food-importing countries.
Sea level rise would affect coastal settlements, especially along the eastern Southern African coast.
Decrease in run-off and water availability could affect agriculture and increase cross-boundary tensions.
Increase of temperatures could lead to more epidemics5.
Extreme events have increased in temperate Asia, including floods, droughts, forest fires, and tropical cyclones.
Thermal and water stress, flood, drought, sea level rise and tropical cyclones would diminish food security in countries of arid, tropical and temperate Asia.
Sea level rise and an increase in intensity of tropical cyclones would displace tens of millions of people in low-lying coastal areas of temperate and tropical Asia.
Flood and droughts would increase in frequency and lead to poorer water quality in some areas.
In Central America, future changes in the frequency of extreme events such as hurricanes, floods6, and droughts may damage important export crops such as bananas, threaten human settlements on unstable hillsides, and facilitate the outbreak of diseases such as malaria and dengue.
Coastal human settlements and productive activities would be affected by sea level rise.
Small island states
Small islands states are seriously impacted by climate change7.
The sea level rise would cause loss of land, impact on agriculture due to salinisation of water and dislocation of people.
As many as 100 million people live in areas that are below sea level or liable to storm surge.
GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS ON OCHA’s INITIAL ROLE
Climate risk reduction is the entry point for cooperation between the humanitarian, development and environmental actors. Therefore OCHA should advocate and liase with other agencies and NGOs for the incorporation of climate change into their emergency preparedness strategies.
OCHA should advocate for preliminary climate risk assessment into risk assessment methodologies, particularly in vulnerable/poor countries and proactive risk management strategies – as opposed to “reactive crisis management” actions – identifying policies and practices that help to reduce socio-economic vulnerability to adverse climate conditions, while taking advantage of favourable climate conditions8. Climate risk management strategies also include the transfer of risks associated with climate variability, for example, through the establishment of adequate insurance programs.
OCHA should advocate for the enhancing of early warning systems for extreme weather events and inclusion of climatic predictions into contingency planning scenarios. This implies the creation of synergies between existing early warning tools and initiatives, including alert dissemination services. Resource mobilisation for adequate programmes should also be part of OCHA’s advocacy priorities.
RECOMMENDATIONS ON EPS’ ROLE:
In the field, through Regional offices and Regional Disaster Response Advisors, EPS should raise awareness of the need for the governments and the humanitarian community to prepare for and respond to the effects of climate change and promote preparedness initiatives in the field.
EPS should liase with other units within OCHA to ensure that they take into account the humanitarian effects of climate change in their approach.
Coordinate the inputs for an institutional position paper on climate change for OCHA including CRD/EWCPS, EES-UNEP (environmental emergencies), PICS (pandemics), DPSS (environmental refugees and IDPs) and PDSB.
Promote the inclusion of a climate change perspective in the agenda of various platforms or initiatives such as CADRI, IASC, the ISDR Global Platform, HEWSweb, the Geneva Humanitarian Forum (GHF)...
Develop a training module for OCHA
OCHA/EPS, 16 Avril 2007
*Thanks to infektia for keeping the “Rockin’ Girl Blogger” alive and credited!
The “Rockin’ Girl Blogger” rules simply rock!:
1) give Roberta Ferguson credit, 2) put up the badge and 3) add 5 other rockin girl bloggers to the list.
1) africanjackal, Thank you for bringing awareness to BPD. Jackal, “I suffer from mental illness ( borderline personality disorder ) and find both writing and photography an outlet to express and explore my world.” Your site Jackal, “A portal to my prose, poetry, observations, questions, thoughts and struggle with mental illness”, Rocks! Your post Humanity Rocks! Jackal, you are a “Rockin’ Girl Blogger”!
2) Nimmy Bangalore, Author of Aa..ha! [Thinking Inside The Blog!], “I focus on Life, Spirituality, and Knowledge Management (KM) . Ergo, join me in my continuous quest to lead a better life, be a better human being and gain knowledge on the dynamics of knowledge....! :-)”! Nimmy, you are a “Rockin’ Girl Blogger”!
4) Black Looks, I recently became familiar with this educational blog, thanks to a post by nowickedwitch. The Author of Black Looks set out with a goal, “I have chosen to write about a range of issues that I have experienced directly or indirectly in my offline life such as gender violence, racism, sexuality, HIV/AIDS and cancer. I view the world as moving further and further to the right with American hegemony contaminating the global space. I wanted to write from a radical and progressive standpoint challenging not only the right but also the liberal community, the so capitalism with a friendly face which is an oxymoron to say the least”. She has/is accomplishing her goal with a grand contribution to the blogosphere and Humankind in the World. Black Looks is a “Rockin’ Girl Blogger”!
5) Sumangali, Author of Sumangali.org; “This is a work in progress, but I want to offer a growing collection of serendipitous snippets here: a blog of articles, stories and images, quotes on the home page, plus my own prose and poetry about the good-fortune I find in my own life.” Need I say more about Sumangali, other than you are a “Rockin’ Girl Blogger”!
Thank you again my Humanitarian (caring, compassionate, charitable, etc.) Friend Zephyr who speaks up for the Climate of Our Future, for choosing me as one of the five who are a “Rockin’ Girl Blogger”!