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Climate change

New drip irrigation techniques in use in Peru to adapt to diminishing water resources. Credit: Gilvan Barreto/Oxfam

Oxfam is committed to integrating climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies into its programmes in contexts where climate change and disasters are a significant driver of poverty and suffering.

Vulnerability to disaster and climate change matters to Oxfam because it perpetuates and deepens the poverty and suffering that Oxfam's work aims to overcome. It stands in the way of people - particularly women - being able to enjoy their basic rights and reduces their chances of ever being able to attain them.

Climate change is affecting many of the communities with which Oxfam works; undermining their livelihoods through gradual, insidious changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, and increasing the frequency and/or intensity of hazards such as floods and droughts. On a global scale, disasters are increasing in both frequency and impact.  The number of people affected by disaster doubled during the 1990s, and every year since 2000 over a quarter of a billion people lost their home, livelihood or health as a result.

Our goals

Our goal is to work with others to reduce poverty and create the conditions whereby people can thrive in spite of disaster risks and climatic changes. This involves supporting those who are most vulnerable to develop an understanding of the range of current and emerging climate and disaster risks they face - and develop sustainable actions appropriate to their context.

Communities are at the centre of our approach to climate change adaptation and DRR. However, achieving change at the local level requires working with a range of actors across multiple levels in order to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of people and institutions to manage change and address any factors that limit adaptive capacity.

  • Promote effective policy and ensure the provision of adequate resources.

  • Make sure that the voices of those most at risk are heard.

  • Ensure that national development planning addresses the underlying causes of vulnerability and well as exposure to changes and risks.

Campaigns and advocacy

We want to see a fair, ambitious, and binding global deal on climate action over the next two years.

We will continue to campaign on climate finance to ensure rich countries provide the right amount of money in ways that will benefit developing countries and help the most vulnerable people to adapt to the impact of climate change.

  • Decisive action is needed by rich countries to support climate change adaptation in the developing world. We are calling for the operationalisation of a fair climate fund with specific provisions to meet the needs of women and other vulnerable groups.

  • Developing country governments need to help communities adapt to climate change by reducing vulnerability and developing national adaptation plans that prioritise the most vulnerable communities.

  • We will work with others to raise the awareness of the human impact of climate change.

  • We will campaign for a global deal on climate change that that stops excessive greenhouse-gas emissions from devastating food production. We need clear targets for action and binding frameworks that will make them a reality.

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