Aid, environment and climate change.

Author:Arndt, Channing
Position:Policy brief
 
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FINDINGS

There is an overlap between traditional development and environmental challenges. Countries with low adaptive capacity are especially vulnerable to climate change impacts

Agriculture plays a vital role in traditional development, and has strong environmental implications through its double role of both affecting and being affected

Developing countries are crucial players in successful climate change mitigation as they are responsible for 88% of the growth in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 1970

There is a need for novel approaches and a repurposed institutional structure to successfully address environmental challenges

Development aid by itself cannot 'save the planet'. Yet, development aid and institutions have the potential to remain important catalytic actors in achieving developmental and global environmental objectives. Developing countries must be crucial players in successful climate change mitigation as they are responsible for 88% of the growth in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 1970. However, the current aid architecture--which was designed in the 1970s when environmental issues were a distant concern--is not well suited to support environmental challenges that extend beyond low-income countries.

Aid has a positive impact on development

Despite debate on the role of aid in improving people's economic and social wellbeing, recent research shows that aid has a significantly positive long-run impact on development. The fact that a third of the absolute poor live today in middle-income countries suggests that there is still ample need for aid to promote poverty reduction, even in those countries which have graduated from low-income status. The remaining low-income countries are likely to be more difficult cases where reliance on traditional development recipes may not be sufficient

Traditional development and global environmental challenges are interlinked

Poor countries highly sensitive to the effects of environmental challenges, and due to their relatively low ability to adapt to these changes, are likely to be particularly vulnerable. Furthermore, over 88% of the growth in GHG has occurred, as shown in Figure 1, in countries that were non-OECD countries in 1990s. Low- and middle-income countries are thus the most affected by climate change and central to achieving a reduction in GHG emissions.

The importance of agriculture

Agriculture is a key sector due to its dual role of being affected by and impacting climate...

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