Sustainable Development Goals Severely Impeded by Climate Change: Report

The impacts of climate change, including slow and sudden onset weather events, are reducing the ability of countries to meet their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“The Asia and Pacific region has made steady progress in increasing food security, reducing the prevalence of malnutrition, and making improvements in health and well-being,” said ADB Managing Director General Woochong Um. “However, further gains are being hampered by multiple crises, including the increasing effects of climate change, the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cost-of-living crisis.”

The report, People and Planet: Addressing the Interlinked Challenges of Climate Change, Poverty, and Hunger in Asia and the Pacific, notes that more frequent and severe climate-related hazards will result in reduced agricultural and labour productivity, loss of livelihoods, and human displacement. These strain socioeconomic and environmental systems, and hinder efforts to promote food security and alleviate poverty, especially for poorer countries and vulnerable communities.

There are promising solutions for the Asia and Pacific region that reflect the interlinkages between climate, poverty, and food insecurity. One example is food systems approaches that, designed properly, could support sustainable livelihoods for millions of farmers, ensure food security, and reduce the environmental and climate impacts of food production.

Current global and regional policies do not adequately support the integration of climate priorities with efforts to address poverty and hunger. There is an urgent need to develop stronger social protection systems for vulnerable people, to help tackle the underlying causes of poverty and food insecurity, and to strengthen their adaptive capacity to the impacts of climate change.

Other key enabling factors for integrated action are increased knowledge and skills development, institutional capacity building, funding and investment, and multi-stakeholder partnerships. Regional cooperation is especially important, given the speed and scale of needed climate actions.