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Goal #7Climate Change and the MDGs
Overview

Beyond the traditionally held categorization of climate change as an environmental issue, it is clearly also a development issue: poverty reduction, food security, economic, health, human rights, governance and equality. It is an MDG issue!

Climate change and global poverty have attracted a lot of attention in recent years as key global justice challenges of our times. Both are serious challenges to the future health and prosperity of our planet. They must be combated simultaneously; we cannot take care of one without addressing the other. An effective attack on poverty and the ill-effects of climate change requires taking comprehensive action that encompasses both issues. We cannot fight climate change without considering the rising energy needs of poor people and countries, nor can we effectively address global poverty without accounting for the impacts of climate change on agriculture, disease patterns, and violent weather events, all of which particularly impact the poorest countries.

MDGs and Climate Change

Climate change presents significant threats to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals especially those related to eliminating poverty and hunger and promoting environmental sustainability. An increasing body of evidence are pointing to the disproportionate negative impact climate change will have on the poorest countries who, ironically, have contributed least to the problem.

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of severe weather events. Poor countries lack the infrastructure necessary (e.g. storm walls, water storage) to respond adequately to such events. Diseases such as malaria are likely to have wider ranges, impacting more people in the poorest regions of developing nations that are already most affected by such diseases. Changing rainfall patterns could devastate rain-fed agriculture on which so much of the population in developing countries depends to survive. In Africa, for example, only 4% of all cropped land is irrigated.

What Must Be Done

Rich Countries

Whilst rich countries are most responsible for climate change, it is poor countries that are paying the price. Rich countries must therefore assume first responsibility and:

  • Immediately implement deep emission cuts
  • Meet their aid commitments to achieve the Millennium Goals
  • Provide additional aid for adaptation measures for dealing with climate change
  • Transfer existing and new adaptation technology measures
  • Create incentives for poor countries to limit their emissions while safeguarding their right to development

Poor Countries

  • Ensure rights to land, forests, water, energy and livelihood for their poorest people
  • Integrate climate change initiatives into national MDG-based sustainable development plans as part of their contribution to global mitigation
  • Prioritize renewable energy resources, where possible
Goal News

With climate change threatening agriculture in Asia, 10 nations met in a three-day United Nations-sponsored meeting in Hanoi, Viet Nam, to discuss sustainable farming practices to feed growing populations.

The UN World Meteorological Organization held its Regional Association Asia Working Group on Agricultural Meteorology meeting from 17-19 December, which was attended by representatives from China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam.


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the outcome of the landmark United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in which 187 countries today agreed to launch a two-year process of formal negotiations on strengthening international efforts to fight, mitigate and adapt to the problem of global warming.

After almost two weeks of marathon discussions, delegates have agreed on both the agenda for the negotiations and a 2009 deadline for completing them so that a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions can enter into effect in 2013.


Global warming impacts everyone regardless of national borders, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling on negotiators at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, to overcome differences and agree on a road map to tackle the issue.

Climate change “doesn’t care if you are coming from developing or industrialized countries,” he told reporters during a visit to Timor-Leste, warning that poorer nations will be hit hardest by the phenomenon.


Bert Koenders, Minister for Development Cooperation for the Government of Netherlands, called for adaptation funding from developed countries to be clearly in addition to ODA commitments. Speaking at a side event organized jointly by the Government of Indonesia and the UN Millennium Campaign, he cautioned that climate change should not become an excuse for developed countries to create more non-tariff barriers.


The UK and Netherlands, together with the World Bank, today announced funding
of up to £3 million (Euro 4 million) for a new research study that will
support developing countries to prepare for climate change.

The two governments will jointly fund the research study which will help
developing countries understand the costs of adaptation and how to prepare
for the impacts of climate change.

The joint announcement by Netherlands Development Minister Bert Koenders,
UK Environment Minister Phil Woolas and World Bank Director of Environment,


Climate change and global poverty are the key global justice challenges of our times. Both are serious challenges to the future health and prosperity of our planet. They must be combated simultaneously; we cannot take care of one before addressing the other. An effective attack on poverty and the ill-effects of climate change requires taking comprehensive action that encompasses both issues.