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About Social Dimensions of Climate Change (SDCC)


"(Climate change) is a development, economic, and investment challenge. It offers an opportunity for economic and social transformation that can lead to an inclusive and sustainable globalization. That is why addressing climate change is a critical pillar of the development agenda"
World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, December 2007


Climate change further multiplies the vulnerability of the poor, pushing those living on the margins closer to the edge. Poor people in developing countries bear the brunt of its impacts while contributing very little to its causes. While the climate change debate has been focused at the global and national levels, the impacts of climate change are felt at the local level. The need to address the human and social dimensions of climate change is critical. The World Bank Group’s Social Dimensions of Climate Change (SDCC) Practice Group contributes to the WBG’s mission to fight poverty by helping to realize climate-smart policies and operations in client countries that advance the interests of those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Strategic Focus
The SDCC Practice Group focuses on the equity dimensions of the climate change agenda within developing countries. It seeks to understand and address the distributional, poverty and social consequences both of climate variability and change, and of policies and approaches to addressing the effects of climate change (climate action). This calls for a balanced approach towards:

  • understanding how climate- and non climate-related drivers of vulnerability interact with one another;
  • identifying appropriate operational and policy entry points for building societal resilience and pro-poor adaptation to natural disasters, climate variability and change; and
  • maximizing the potential ‘development dividend’ from low-carbon growth strategies for poor and vulnerable groups, including the livelihood co-benefits of terrestrial (soil and forest) carbon schemes; while
  • minimizing the risks of elite capture and social exclusion in such forms of climate action.

Where We Stand Now: Analytical and Operational Dimensions
The SDCC Practice Group strategy is being implemented through areas of analytical and operational priority identified in consultation with regional colleagues, clients, and other partners. New knowledge generation in the Social Development anchor supports regional colleagues' efforts to operationalize and scale up the SDCC agenda through various WBG-supported instruments

  • Resilience and pro-poor adaptation to climate change

    • Operationalizing climate resilience through community-driven development and livelihoods support in drylands, mountainous and flood-prone contexts
    • International workshop (Addis Ababa, Feb. 2011) and operational support focused on the linkages among social protection, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation
    • Developing program on the social aspects of disaster risk management and financing
    • Cross-regional, comparative studies on the role of local institutions in climate change adaptation

  • Social risks and opportunities in climate change mitigation

    • Poverty and distributional implications of interventions to support low-carbon growth
    • Analytical work on the social dimensions of REDD+, including carbon rights and benefit-sharing arrangements
    • Analytical work on socio-economic benefits of carbon offset schemes (‘carbon livelihoods’)
    • Developing guidance on Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) in the context of climate change/ low-carbon growth Development Policy Lending (DPLs)

  • Communications, knowledge management, and capacity-building

    • Facilitating an institution-wide Practice Group for the integration of SDCC in regional and sector programs
    • Developing learning modules, an operational toolkit, website, and global peer learning network for knowledge sharing, outreach and capacity development.

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