Climate Change Increases Risk of Disaster

2/29/2008 // “Climate change is altering the face of disaster risk. In order to take global challenges of disaster risk reduction seriously, we need to integrate disaster and climate risk management with foreign policy and development cooperation,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre when opening a international conference on dealing with disaster and climate change.

Minister Støre gave the opening speech at the conference “The Oslo Policy forum on changing the way we develop”, which took place in Oslo 28 – 29 February.

“We need urgent action on climate change adaptation. Some of the most dramatic effects of climate change will occur in regions with weak governance structures, environmental degradation, poverty and violent conflict. And to all of that we now have to add the accelerating consequences of climate change,” Støre stated.

In the opening speech Støre pointed out that 14 out of 15 UN Flash Appeals are related to climate change. He also referred to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s statement that progress on the Millennium Development Goals is “a development emergency”.

Minister Støre emphasized the need for cooperation and commitment to combat the challenge and causes of climate change. “Climate change did not create the Darfur crisis. People did. But peace and reconciliation will not come about in Sudan unless the problems of worsening livelihoods for pastoral farmers and nomadic herdsmen are addressed through government actions, development initiatives and environmental investment,” Støre said.

“The brutal paradox is that the most vulnerable societies have contributed relatively little to global warming. Rich and industrialized nations including my own must take the lead and bear the heaviest burden,” Støre stated, also stressing Norway’s commitment to implementation of the Bali Action Plan as well as fulfilling the Kyoto obligations.

“We are committed to taking the global challenges of disaster risk reduction seriously. I believe we have to change the architecture of both foreign policy and development cooperation,” Støre said.


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