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Environment and Climate Change Overview

Climate change and environmental degradation in developing countries could push 90 million people into poverty by 2050. We are supporting poor communities to adapt and to be better able to cope in the face of these challenges.

Climate change matters to poor people

The impact of climate change and environmental degradation is being felt more intensely in poor countries and by poor communities, further undermining their ability to move themselves out of poverty. ‌

Risk to agricultural production

Rapidly changing environmental conditions are undermining the international community’s response to major global challenges such as food security. Almost one billion people in the world do not have enough food to eat.

Agricultural production, including access to food, is at risk in many developing countries as a result of climate change, population growth and over-exploitation of the land. For example, crop failure and irregular rainfall patterns are affecting the ability of poorer people to sustain their livelihoods.

Burden falls on rural women

The effects of climate change disproportionately affect women and girls. In particular, it affects rural women in developing countries, who are still largely responsible for securing food, water, and energy for cooking and heating.

Drought, deforestation and erratic rainfall cause women to work harder to secure these resources. Due to this burden of responsibility, women have less time to earn income, get an education, or provide care to families. Girls regularly are forced to drop out of school to help their mothers.‌

Our response

We have increased our efforts to respond to environmental challenges faced by the world’s poorest communities. We take particular account of the experience and needs of women and girls. And principles of sustainable development are taken into account across all of our policies and programme.  This is in line with our commitment to Millennium Development Goal 7 to ensure environmental sustainability.

It is estimated that climate change and environmental degradation in developing countries could push up to 90 million people into poverty by 2050.

In partnership with a range of organisations, we are contributing to the achievement of this goal by: 

Supporting communities to take action in our partner countries

We are working to improve the resilience of vulnerable communities so they can adapt to changing environmental conditions while taking action to reduce the negative impacts on their livelihoods.

Promoting leadership and governance

We use our membership of key international institutions to ensure that the needs of poor people and communities in developing countries is taken into account in national and international polices aimed at promoting sustainable development

Supporting research on climate adaptation and risk reduction

We are investing in research to better understand how best to meet the challenges of climate change, the interconnections between it and other development concerns, especially hunger and food security. 

Learn more about climate change

Get further information on the effects of climate change globally from the leading international body on the effects of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)