Climate change and poverty

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

THE theme of the regional conference is on Addressing Poverty and Vulnerability in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, Forging Regional Partnerships to Enable Transformative Change.

So what is a guy from Southeast Asia doing in the conference? Blame (or credit) it to climate change. We are all in this together. We hang together or hung separately.

We are neither Nepalese, Indians, Pakistanis, Afghans, Bhutanese, Americans or Swiss. Under heaven, we are prone to natural disasters in increasing intensity.

We are all together, linked by global communication. Now the Philippines is no longer known as the land of Imelda Marcos and her shoes but of Leyte, the province of her origin.

Not a few of my sustainable mountain development colleagues plied me with information, perhaps to get a personal perspective, of the supertyphoon or cyclones as these storms are known in South Asia.

They got their general information from cable TV, YouTube, and social media Facebook and Twitter. They were equally horrified with Haiyan as the Filipinos with the tragedy that was Haiyan.

Everyone here realizes that the roll of the dice could mean that future tragedy would fall on their own communities and their own countries. Presenters ticked off flash floods in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In Bhutan, snowfall has become unpredictable. No snow one year, heavy snow the next year. Indeed misery loves company.

But presenters also talked of how communities and governments are fighting back. They showed how organics, non-timber forest product development, and state human rights obligations can ensure inclusiveness on protection against disasters and fulfillment of development resources for the excluded that include poor mountain communities such as indigenous peoples.

One of the Parallel Side Event discussed the new United Nations-speak of L & D or loss and damage while addressing adaptation as basis for sustainable development donor funding, value chains, and the crucial role that local governments play.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 04, 2013.


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