World’s 48 poorest countries publish climate adaptation plans

Submissions to UN say they require $1.4 billion in funding to prepare for extreme weather events

(Pic: UN Photos)

(Pic: UN Photos)

By Nilima Choudhury

The world’s poorest nations have released their plans to cope with climate change, as a debate over who pays for damage caused by extreme weather events rages at UN talks in Warsaw.

The 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs)  submitted their climate change adaptation programmes to the UN’s climate change department yesterday, and say they will require $1.4bn to implement the plans.

“The preparation of these plans has served as a major catalyst for climate change action in the poorest countries, helping them to systematically undertake various activities towards climate change adaptation,” said Prakash Mathema, Chair of the LDC Group under the UNFCCC process.

“Awareness has been raised across all levels, and poor countries have gained human and institutional capacity for adaptation.”

The idea of the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) is to allow poor countries to assess the immediate impacts of change, for example drought and floods, and what they need in the way of support to become more resilient to climate change impacts.

For example, Angola is seeking to adapt its fisheries to climate change. Cambodia is looking to make its water supplies and agriculture more resilient. And Samoa is seeking to strengthen the infrastructure of communities which are dependent on tourism.

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres welcomed the country submissions, adding that it was clear the “support to countries is presently inadequate and must urgently be stepped up.”

She added: “Now and in the future, the poorest and most vulnerable countries urgently require predictable finance and technology to become more resilient. Good planning is essential to empower poor countries to deal with climate change.”

“Typhoon Haiyan has been the latest in a string of worsening extreme weather events around the world, and we know there are more to come.”

Aid workers estimate that the super storm may have killed more than 10,000 people in the Philippines, although officials put the number of deaths at just over 2,000.

Over 600,000 people are homeless and 20,000 are still missing. On Wednesday the BBC reported the Filipino capital of Tacloban had turned into a “war zone”.

Footage showed tanks rolling through the centre of the devastated town and soldiers crouching behind walls with automatic rifles.

The disaster has prompted NGOs and a coalition of developing countries to call for the urgent creation of a climate compensation scheme, although there is little support for this among richer nations, who may have to foot the bill.

A leaked document from US envoys to the UN climate talks currently taking place in Poland showed the US’ stiff opposition to plans such as these needing funding from developed nations.

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