The UN Development Programme (UNDP)’s UNDP Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Aeneas Chuma, has said that poor countries like his host will bear the biggest burden of climate change in the short-term despite contributing little to greenhouse gas emissions.
Chuma said this in Lusaka Tuesday during the official launch of the Human Development Report 2007 to 2008 whose theme is “Fighting Climate Change - Human Solidarity in a Divided World.”
Chuma said it was the poorest countries like Zambia that would bear the biggest burden of climate change in the short-term when they have contributed little to the stock of heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere.
“If average temperatures are allowed to rise by another two or three degrees centigrade over current levels, we could see an extra 600 million people here in sub-Saharan Africa go hungry, over 300 million more poor people flooded out of their homes and an additional 400 million people exposed to disease like malaria, meningitis and dengue fever,” he said.
He warned that failure to act on climate change would have grave consequences for human development in some of the poorest places in the world and undermine efforts to tackle poverty.
This presented an ethical challenge because the past and ongoing actions of rich countries immediately threaten some of the most vulnerable people in the world, he added.
“The message in the Report is very clear. Climate Change has human development impacts. But if we act now, we can avoid dangerous climate change. The challenge of climate change will require collective action, with global participation, but justice and political feasibility dictate that rich countries should provide leadership and move first,” he said.
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