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Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

Climate change threatens the survival of poorer sections of the population in developing countries in particular. Caritas Switzerland is therefore actively involved in climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as disaster risk reduction. 

 

Already today, climate change is a reality, which includes slow-onset changes like temperature increase or sea level rise, on-going desertification and melting ice caps, but also altered frequencies of natural extremes like tropical cyclones, floods and droughts. Industrialisation of the past 150 years, with its increasing emissions of greenhouse gases (like CO2), is the main driver of this change. The continued emissions would radically change the eco-systems of the planet over the coming decades and trigger a difficult to control dynamic of natural extremes, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

While the impacts of climate change are becoming visible in the developed world as well, the poor from the developing countries will suffer most from the dramatic consequences: extending deserts, soils salty from sea water intrusion, increasing intensity of tropical cyclones. Even though geophysical events such as earthquakes and tsunamis are claiming most human lives, already today, more than 80 percent of all catastrophes related to natural extremes are caused by weather and climate.

Aware of the immediate relevance of disasters and climate change impacts for survival and livelihood of poor populations in developing countries, Caritas Switzerland, in its programs of International Cooperation, has for many years been active in the areas of climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as disaster risk reduction.

  • On Climate Change Mitigation, Caritas Switzerland creates access to green energy and promotes efficient energy use (e.g. through improved cooking stoves), which at the same time fosters development, saves natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Adapted natural resource management and re-forestation, which remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in biomass, are other essential elements.
  • On Climate Change Adaptation, Caritas supports climate-proof agricultural approaches (e.g., by selecting suitable crops), and promotes an adequate natural resource management. By explicitly taking expected future climate conditions into account, Caritas ensures the long-term sustainability of its programs under climate change.
  • On Disaster Risk Reduction, Caritas mitigates impacts of natural extremes through infrastructure measures, protecting the affected populations, improved land-use planning and enhanced preparedness for upcoming events (e.g., through grain storage and coordinated emergency plans). Caritas also supports installation and operation of Early Warning Systems.

Climate change and its significance for poverty is furthermore highlighted as an urgent topic to government and the public, both in the partner countries and within Switzerland.

 

Selected Climate Change and DRR Projects

 

Further information

  • Flyer : Climate Change & DRR
    File format: pdf / 425 KB
    Climate change and disasters disproportionally affect the poor, marginalised and vulnerable. We contribute to climate change mitigation by investing in green energy and carbon sequestration. For climate change adaptation, we support poor communities with adapted natural resource management and sustainable agricultural practices. To reduce disaster risk, we help communities and local authorities to develop action plans for preparedness and response. Download
  • Excerpt IC-Programme 2020: Climate Change & DRR
    File format: pdf / 301 KB
    Increasingly people are experiencing sudden disaster shocks, crop failures, food price spikes, typhoons, floods, with longer-term stresses such as degradation of ecosystems and decline in agricultural productivity threatening livelihoods. By disasters alone, 218 million people were affected annually between 1994 and 2013 (CRED 2015). Marginalized as well as people living in extreme poverty are disproportionately affected by climate and disaster risks. Download

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