Impact of climate change on rural livelihoods

Impact of climate change on rural livelihoods

Impacts of Climate Change on Rural Livelihoods in CIRDAP Member Countries – the Rural Development Report 2017 is the fourteenth of the CIRDAP biannual reports that explores the current status and future perspectives on how climate change may affect livelihoods of rural people in Asia and the Pacific region. This report examines the cause-effect relationship between climate change and rural livelihood through analyzing relevant data and policies.

Rural areas are more vulnerable to climate change due to geographical location, land characteristics, high dependency on natural resource and high exposure to frequent climate induced natural disasters. Climate change is negatively affecting agriculture, food production and rural livelihoods in general. It may trigger a vicious cycle of poverty, resource degradation, environmental deterioration and social unrest.

Based on the analysis of the findings of the study, it is recommended that the rural development and livelihood strategies of the future have to be understood as a continuum of urbanized and globalized systems. Integration of rural economies in the national economy and globalisation are increasing the inter-penetration between rural and urban. This means that rural policies have to be justified not only by their impact in rural areas, but by their contribution to national well-being.

The leadership of the local government is particularly crucial to ensure the political momentum and support among external stakeholders in the process of tackling climate change. Research should be done to identify beforehand vulnerable areas and nature of disasters. Specific need assessment and disasters preparedness initiatives should be taken accordingly.   Since the immediate help comes from the community, the community organizations should be equipped with knowledge and skill regarding disaster preparedness and management.

Knowledge and information sharing, including early warning of natural disasters and climatic events are essential to build the resilience of local livelihoods and communities to climate change. Exchange of technical information and sharing of technologies among countries needs to be encouraged. Special attention should be given to develop capacity of government officials, development practitioners and other stakeholders at national and local levels. The issue of climate change cannot be addressed in solace, but has to be integrated with the overall development plan to ensure sustainable and inclusive rural development.

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