«1. Climate change and vulnerable people It is now evident that our globe is warming due to the increase of GHG(Green House Gases) emission, mainly ...»
Climate change and vulnerable people
Public Social Private Partnership in adaptation
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Prof. Akihiko Morita, Ph.D
1. Climate change and vulnerable people
It is now evident that our globe is warming due to the increase of GHG(Green House
Gases) emission, mainly produced by human activities.
The 4th Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states
1) Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperature, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global sea level.
2) Many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases, based on observational evidence from all continents and most oceans s (IPCC, 2007: 1-2).
3) Other effects of regional climate change on natural and human environments are emerging, although many are difficult to discern due to adaptation and non-climate driver.
Climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world - access to water, food production, health and the environment. Hundreds of millions of people could suffer hunger, water shortage and coastal flooding as the world warms (Nicholas Stern; 2007: xv).
The people are now trying to adapt to the climate change and the impact, but there is one big difference between developed countries and developing countries. While developed countries have the financial, technological and human resources to deal with the consequences of a changing climate, such capacities of developing countries are severely limited (UNDP, 2007:171).
World Bank predicts that the poorest countries and communities, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia, are likely to suffer the earliest and most because of their geographical location, low incomes, and limited institutional capacity, as well as their greater reliance on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture(WB, 1 2008:1).
As a result of the climate change, natural disasters such as flood and drought have become more severe and abrupt and caused the serious damage on the people, particularly children and women in developing countries.
Save the Children UK released “Legacy of disasters-the impact of climate change on children” in April 2007, which states that in the next decade, up to 175 million children are likely to be affected every year by the kind of natural disasters brought about by climate change (Save the Children U.K.,2007).
In the extreme cases, the people affected by natural disaster decide to move and their human security will be placed at risk while they are moving. For instance, after the Tsunami hit the South-East Asia in 2005, trafficking in children has been widely observed in the region. As a result of natural disaster, the people were displaced, separated and became vulnerable to the risk of trafficking (UNICEF, 2005).
However, it should be noted that even though they do not move, the natural disasters make the people more vulnerable to various risks.
The 4th Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presents examples of some projected impacts as follows (IPCC, 2007: 10).
1) In Africa, by 2020, between 75 and 250 million of people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change. By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. Toward the end of the 21st century, projected sea-level rise will affect low-lying coastal areas with large population.
2) In Asia, by the 2050s, freshwater availability in Central, South, East and South-East Asia, particularly in large river basin, is projected to decrease. Coastal areas, especially heavily-populated mega-delta regions in South, East and South-East Asia, will be at greatest risk due to increased flooding from the sea and, in some mega-delta, flooding from the rivers.
It is evident that those who have lost regular means of living will become more vulnerable to the risk of human trafficking.
2. Environment and migrants For many people, migration is vital to protect and attain human security, although their human security may also be at risk while they are migrating (Commission on Human Security, 2003: 41).
2 There are estimated 191 million migrants worldwide in 2005, up from 176 million in
2000. Out of 191 million migrants, there are roughly 30 to 40 million unauthorized migrants worldwide (IOM 2007).
People become more vulnerable to the risk such as trafficking while they are migrating.
It was estimated already in 2000 that more than half the 15-30 illegal migrants in the world have been assisted by smugglers or been forcibly relocated by traffickers.
(Commission on Human Security, 2003:42).
The number of trafficked migrants should be much larger nowadays.
People decide to move for various reasons. In June 1st 2007, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr.António Guterres raised three main causes: poverty; climate change and environmental degradation; and conflict and persecution at the European Foundation Centre Conference (UNHCR 2007). There is now a broad consensus that environmental change is one of major factors for migration.
Accordingly, various studies have been and are being conducted.
For instance, United Nations University Institute of Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) has already launched the two-year project “Environmental Change and Forced Migration Scenarios (EACH-FOR) early in 2007, which aims at discovering and describing in detail the causes of forced migration in relation to environmental degradation/change and their association with other social, political and economic phenomena in Europe and in the main countries of migration origin (UNU-EHS, 2007).
It is Lester Brown of the Worldwatch Institute who popularized the term “environmental refugees” first in 1970’s (Richard Black, 2001).
Then, following a paper by El-Hinnawi (1985) on environmental refugees, several notable studies have been published in this field.
Up to now, the major debate has got around the definition of environmental refugees/migrants.
Norman Meyers, Oxford University, is one of leading proponents for environmental refugees and was quoted in the UNU press release on Oct.12 2005 that as many as 200 million people could be affected by disruptions of monsoon systems and other rainfall regimes, by droughts of unprecedented severity and duration, and by sea-level rises and coastal flooding if global warming takes hold (Norman Meyers, 2005)(UNU, 2005).
Richard Black, University of Sussex, represents the school being rather critical about using “environmental refugee” mainly because the term “environmental refugee” is not 3 clearly defined. Black insists that without a firm definition of who is an “environmental refugee”, it is not easy to say that this category of people is increasing although he admits that environmental factor is one of factors for the people to decide to migrate (R.
Based on these arguments, UNU-EHS proposed to distinguish between Environmentally motivated migrants, Environmentally forced migrants, and Environmental refugees. In their definitions, an environmentally motivated migrant may leave a steady deteriorating environment in order to pre-empt the worse, in which the displacement can be either temporary or permanent and environmentally forced migrants have to leave in order to avoid the worst, often on a permanent basis. They insist that environmentally forced migrants and environmental refugees could be distinguished based on the swiftness of necessary actions (UNU-EHS, 2007).
Despite of the on-going arguments, there seems to be a widely accepted consensus that environmental factors affect the people when they decide to move. So, the proper attention to the risk of migrants should be incorporated in devising any adaptation measures because the people are exposed to the risk for their human security, including the risk of human trafficking, when they move.
Finally, it should be noted that the people may be exposed to the risk of human trafficking when they are affected by the natural disaster even if they do not move.
3. Agenda for Adaptation for the vulnerable people We have to deal with the climate change in two directions, mitigation and adaptation.
It is essential to prevent further warming by reducing the GHG emission even though it is most likely that the global warming will continue in the next decades due to the effect of the former GHG emission.
At the same time, we have to come up with the effective adaptation program urgently, focusing on the vulnerable people in developing countries.
UNDP identified five risk-multipliers for human development as follows while maintaining that the effects of climate change vary geographically and socially (UNDP, 2007:26-31).
1) Reduced agricultural productivity
2) Heightened water insecurity
3) Increased exposure to coastal flooding and extreme weather events
4) The collapse of ecosystems
5) Increased health risks 4 UNDP, then, summarized the foundations for successful adaptation for developing countries as follows.
1) Information for effective planning
2) Infrastructure for climate-proofing
3) Insurance for social risk management and poverty reduction
4) Institutions for disaster management.
For instance, the human and physical capacities to collect meteorological data and forecast the weather are essential for reduction of natural disaster-induced risks. For protecting the people from natural disasters, we need to construct infrastructures such as water gates, coastal buffer zones and reservoirs. Employment programmes, cash transfers, crisis-related transfers and insurance-related transfers should be devised as insurance for social risk management and poverty reduction. It is also essential to develop the institutional capacity to improve the disaster risk management because the natural disasters such as flood or storm could produce less disastrous outcome in the better-equipped countries (UNDP, 2007:172-184).
John Barry proposed to add the following three as the foundations for successful adaptation.
5) Solidarity among the people
6) Low level of socio-economic political inequality
7) Strong sense of local knowledge In order to promote the above agenda for adaptation, we have to develop and transfer the necessary technologies to developing countries and to provide the sufficient financial resources.
On the financial side, Oxfam estimates that the cost for developing countries of adapting to climate change will be at least $ 50 billion each year, well above the World Bank’s estimates of $10-40 billion annually(Oxfam,2007:3).
Since a total amount of ODA (Official Development Assistance) has shrunk recently, mobilization of private funding through innovative financial mechanism has become more crucial and several proposals were put forward and examined by several agencies like World Bank, which include CTDL (Currency Transaction Development Levy) and weather-index-insurance.
Comments by Dr. John Barry, Reader in Politics, Queen’s University Belfast, at the International symposium organized by Chiba University, “Our challenging Agenda 2008, Confronting Ecological Crisis – Linking Environmental Thought to Public Philosophy” on June 15-17, 2008.
4. Weather-index-insurance scheme The weather-index-insurance is a scheme, developed by private companies for their own risk hedge and then modified and tested by NGOs and World Bank for farmers in developed countries against the natural-disaster induced risks, which eventually proved quite useful in certain conditions. Recently, agencies such as the Japanese Ministry of Finance, World Bank, United Nations and some other institutions have started to examine its possible application for the most vulnerable people affected by natural disasters in developing countries.
The weather index insurance is the insurance scheme in which the payout is to be triggered when certain index such as temperature, wind speed and rainfall exceeds the prefixed level. Therefore, the payout is quite speedy compared with the traditional disaster insurance in which the causal relation between natural disaster and damage must be proved and the loss has to be calculated.
World Bank has designed and implemented the pilot projects recently in India, Malawi, Ukraine, Central America and Thailand.
In Malawi, A packaged loan and index-based micro-insurance product is offered to groups of groundnut farmers, organized by the National Smallholders Farmers Association.
The bank and rural financial institution pay the weather insurance premium to the insurer, the Insurance Association of Malawi.
In the event of a severe drought as measured by the rainfall index, the borrower pays only a fraction of the loan due and the rest is paid by the insurer directly to the bank(Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer, Reinhard Mechler,2006: 621-636).
In 2007, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has also established the task force for studying about the weather index insurance.
Weather index insurance, of course, has its own limits. It needs reliable time-series meteorological data and the good model for weather forecasting. In addition, the premium could become extremely high if the incidence of natural disaster increases and we may need certain public financial assistance in order to sustain the scheme.
In this connection, Sir John Holmes, under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), proposed to look for new ways in which donors could pay Pls find the brief explanations of World Bank Pilot projects in Thailand in the following URL. http://go.worldbank.org/RGBA9BVTB0 6 a small premium to insure them against extreme weather conditions.
Prof. Dr. Peter Hoeppe, Head of the Department of Geo Risks Research/Munich Reinsurance Company AG holds that insurance premium could be collected from the CO2-emitters by means of a global emission trading scheme. He says that if the insurance premium is collected as proportional to the current CO2 emission, each emitter would not lose their incentive to further cut off their emission because by doing so, they cut their whole cost for buying emission credit under the cap and trade scheme.