Rural Development Blog: “A Global Call for Adaptation of Values.”

Up to now no serious consideration has been paid to different impacts of global warming across countries, in especial, within the developing world. However few more degrees Celsius of planet warming will make developing countries suffering the worst effects.

An additional worrying fact is that around 70% of the inhabitants of these countries lives in rural areas with a direct dependence of agriculture and ecosystem services, therefore impacts such as: deaths, risk of desertification, water shortages, land degradation, health impacts, economic losses, weather variation and disaster and habitat loss will be worsened when local environmental conditions are already difficult.

Source: Climate Vulnerability Monitor Report 2010

Conversely climate change does not only pose a great risk for agriculture production but actually at same time is the biggest contributor for it with around 17 and 32 per cent of all human-induced greenhouse gases in the world, mainly by  the release of  CH4 from cattle and  land-use change. However poorer countries that are mostly reliant on agriculture and natural resources are not the big emitters by far, but the industrialized countries that farms on large scale utilizing agro technology intensively.

In order to deal with looming social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change impacts, a new strategy, is receiving significant approval in the world political agenda which is adaptation measures, meaning, the adjustment to the actual ad expected climate change effects that should be done in complement to further mitigation measures.

It has been revealed that Adaptation is an urgent priority in developing countries, costing around $100bn a year by 2020 according to Oxfam. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, conference in Durban, November last year outlined a framing for national adaptation that includes:

(a) To reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, by building adaptive capacity and resilience;

(b) To facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation, in a coherent manner, into relevant new and existing policies, programmes and activities, in particular development planning processes and strategies, within all relevant sectors and at different levels, as appropriate;

Planning for adaptation at the national level is a continuous, progressive and iterative process, the implementation of which should be based on nationally identified priorities, including those reflected in the relevant national documents, plans and strategies, and coordinated with national sustainable development objectives, plans, policies and programmes.1

In the same conference at Durban an agreement on climate change adaptation came in the form of the official launch of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a funding and financing mechanism for both mitigation and adaptation efforts from developing countries. However it is important to point that most affected countries have in fact, the least capacity to adapt, hence here the need for the big emitters and richer countries to commit to more funding for adaptation measures.

Nonetheless climate change is a global problem because distribution of possible impacts across countries is an equity issue of all of us. Thus climate change adaptation resolution requires global cooperation through global policies, legislation and collaboration frameworks, and most important, the requirement of an adaptation of values towards an equitable and sustainable society worldwide.

20 years ago this was the principle outlined by UNFCCC: “Principle 3.The Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures.” United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992.

Since this date, the situation of most exposed countries and societies has been worse off due negative impacts from climate. But perhaps there will be some hope that the next Summit in Rio this year will set the right adaptation actions and values in other to reverse this vulnerable scenario.


Cline (2007): ‘Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country’, Center for Global Development. Available at:

Stockholm Resilience Center: The nine planetary boundaries.

Oxfam International. (2011). Growing a Better Future, Food justice in resource-constrained world report.

Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010

Global Adaptation Index™ (look only at the Vulnerability Index)

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

National Adaptation Plans


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