Tackling the Triple Threat: Climate Change, Poverty, and Hunger in Asia-Pacific

The 2024 Asia-Pacific SDG Partnership Report, jointly published by ESCAP, ADB, and UNDP, highlights the critical need for integrated solutions to address the interlinked challenges of climate change, poverty, and hunger in the Asia-Pacific region. The report underscores the impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity, food security, and livelihoods, advocating for sustainable food systems, decent work opportunities, and climate-resilient social protection to drive transformative change.

CoE-EDP, VisionRICoE-EDP, VisionRI | Updated: 21-06-2024 18:12 IST | Created: 21-06-2024 18:12 IST
Tackling the Triple Threat: Climate Change, Poverty, and Hunger in Asia-Pacific
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The 2024 Asia-Pacific SDG Partnership Report, titled "People and Planet," addresses the interwoven issues of climate change, poverty, and hunger in the Asia-Pacific region. Published jointly by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the report underscores the urgent need for integrated solutions to combat these challenges.

Climate Change: A Triple Threat

Climate change is increasingly recognized as a significant driver of poverty and hunger, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. This area, home to some of the world's most vulnerable populations, faces severe climate impacts that threaten to undo decades of development progress. The report emphasizes that climate change is not just an environmental issue but a multifaceted challenge that exacerbates existing socio-economic inequalities.

Agricultural productivity, a cornerstone of food security in the region, is under threat. The report highlights that crop yields for staples like rice and soybean are projected to decline significantly, especially in tropical areas reliant on irrigation. This reduction in agricultural output poses a direct risk to food security and the livelihoods of millions of farmers. Fisheries, another critical food source, are also expected to see a drastic drop in productivity by 2050, particularly in the ASEAN region, impacting millions dependent on these industries.

Vulnerability and Resilience

The impacts of climate change are unevenly distributed, with poorer countries and populations bearing the brunt. High temperatures reduce labor productivity, particularly for outdoor work, exacerbating health issues and economic losses. Vulnerable groups, including women, children, older persons, and indigenous communities, are disproportionately affected.

The report stresses that these populations are often less equipped to cope with and adapt to climate impacts. For instance, women, who constitute the majority of small-scale farmers, face barriers in accessing climate-resilient agricultural practices due to limited financial resources and insecure land rights. This gender disparity further deepens the vulnerability of households and communities.

Integrated Solutions for Sustainable Futures

Addressing the interlinked challenges of climate change, poverty, and hunger requires holistic and integrated approaches. The report advocates for sustainable food systems that enhance food security and nutrition while reducing environmental impacts. Implementing sustainable agricultural practices, developing climate-resilient food systems, and enhancing food value chains can support livelihoods and mitigate climate impacts.

Climate action also presents opportunities for creating decent work. Ensuring that new jobs generated through climate initiatives offer fair income and equal treatment can help alleviate poverty and hunger. Inclusive skills development programs are essential to integrate poor populations into these emerging job markets, promoting economic resilience.

Building Climate-Resilient Social Protection

Another crucial area highlighted in the report is the development of climate-resilient social protection systems. These systems must provide safety nets for vulnerable populations and integrate disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation measures. Such comprehensive social protection frameworks can address the root causes of poverty and food insecurity while enhancing the adaptive capacity of communities.

The report identifies key enabling actions for transformative change, including education and skill development, policy coherence, institutional capacity building, innovative financing, and regional cooperation. By fostering collaboration among governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, and international bodies, the region can accelerate the implementation of effective climate solutions.Call to Action

The "People and Planet" report is a clarion call for urgent and integrated actions to tackle the intertwined challenges of climate change, poverty, and hunger in the Asia-Pacific region. By leveraging sustainable food systems, promoting decent work, and building climate-resilient social protection, the region can make significant strides towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring a sustainable future for all.

The Asia-Pacific region stands at a critical juncture. Incremental progress will no longer suffice. Transformative change, driven by integrated and inclusive approaches, is essential to safeguard the future of its people and the planet.

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