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South Asia’s Poorest Most Affected by Climate Change

South Asia & Climate Change

South Asia & Climate Change

Poorest Most Affected by Climate Change

November 28, 2007 - The poorest of the poor in South Asia are the most impacted by climate change, says a World Bank climate change expert.

Speaking ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali on December 3-14, 2007, Richard Damania, World Bank Senior Environmental Economist for the South Asia Region, said it is the poorest that are living in areas most vulnerable to climate change.

We are going to see the wet parts of South Asia become wetter causing flooding and affecting more people. We will also see the arid areas getting drier. This will hurt the poor the most,” Damania said.

Damania said South Asia is going to face vast problems with climate change and that this is related to poverty and the very varied climate and geography in the region. “You have got some of the coldest parts of the world and you have got some of the hottest parts of the world.”

The impacts of higher temperatures, more extreme weather events such as floods, cyclone, severe drought, and sea level rise are already felt in South Asia and will continue to intensify, Damania said. “These changes are already having a major impact on the economic performance of South Asian countries.”

Analysis on the impact of Climate Change in South Asia

Richard Damania, Senior Environmental Economist for South Asia Region, discussess about the impact of Climate Change in South Asia.

World Bank’s Senior Environmental Economist for South Asia Region, Richard Damania
Richard Damania
  • - The likely impact on South Asia from Climate Change (30s) wmv
  • - Do you see signs of Climate Change in South Asia? (41s) wmv
  • - The South Asia region is a low-intensity producer of carbon dioxide. But several reports predict the region will be one of the most affected in the World. Can you explain this paradox? (1m:15s) wmv
  • - Recent reports suggest that India could see a drop of 30-40% in agriculture productivity? What role can the World Bank play in mitigating this risk? (1m:09s) wmv
  • - Has the World Bank implemented climate change as a variable in development operations in the region? (1m:01s) wmv

Growth & Climate Change

The South Asia region is a low-intensity producer of green house gasses. Its carbon intensity did not increase as economic growth accelerated in the last decade. The reasons for this, Damania explained, are that the region produces goods and services with very low amounts of emissions and low consumption of energy.

India, despite being the world's second most populous country and fourth largest economy, its carbon emissions is only one-fifth that of the United States or China. Furthermore, India is also one of the lowest-intensity producers of carbon among other large countries. However, Damania warned that “because poverty is so endemic and widespread, the climate impact on South Asia will be severe even if the region continues to be a low-intensity producer.”

World Bank Responds

Speaking about the Bank’s approach, Damania said the Bank is mainstreaming climate change into many of its operations in South Asia. “For instance, when roads are built, we need to make sure they can cope with the current climate risks and the trashing it may get from flooding and storms now but also into the future. We are also piloting operations that are gearing entirely to climate change, mitigating the risks, and building resilience.”

Bangladesh Cyclone

November 20, 2007 - The World Bank has offered up to US$250 million in the aftermath of Cyclone Sidr to help millions of Bangladeshis recover and to strengthen the country’s disaster mitigation systems.

Bank assistance could be used to support short-term needs like food imports, the rapid procurement of medical supplies, cash grants to the poorest victims and help to get people back on their feet and recovering their sources of income and livelihood. Bank support could also help Bangladesh manage macroeconomic shocks over this period of challenge. (Read More »)

Additional Resources

- Climate Change in South Asia
Climate change is no longer an issue for the distant future. Climate change is already taking place, and the South Asian countries, particularly the poorest people, are most at risk. (Read More »)

- Blog - End Poverty in South Asia
Shanta Devarajan, World Bank Chief Economist for South Asia, shares insights about the fight against poverty in the region. (Read More »)

- South Asia: Development Data
A wide range of social and economic measures on South Asia, including links to the World Bank's most important online development databases. (Read More »)

- South Asia: Analysis and Research
Compilation of all the World Bank's publications on South Asia, with 'search' options and links to analysis and research on other South Asian countries. (Read More »)

- World Bank Program in South Asia
Launching pad to all information on World Bank activities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.(Read More »)

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