Migration, poverty and food chain were hot topics of the UN Climate Change Conference, which takes place in Poland.
Despite the “Act Now” motto of COP24, this year’s Conference of the Parties looked like a redacted version of the former editions, probably due to the obvious effects of global warming on our daily lives. And they indeed are being felt everywhere – from water scarcity in South Africa to floodings in the US, and from storms in South America to rising sea levels in the Atlantic. Nature is also transforming the way we live; everyone’s safety is being threatened and climate migration is becoming a serious issue.
“Changing weather, floods and droughts in many places increasingly threaten people’s livelihoods. That is leading a lot of families to have to consider whether they can stay where they are, or try to live somewhere else,” said Koko Warner in a statement during the COP24. The UN estimates that over 258 million people live outside their country of origin, and global warming is expected to increase this number as it makes some areas of the planet uninhabitable. Currently, four times more people in the world are displaced by extreme weather events than they are by conflict.
Climate change also affects food production. All over the world, farmers have seen their crops affected by heavy rains, droughts and extreme weather conditions for several years in a row, leaving most of them without predictable income and, ironically, with restrained access to food. As a result, they are bound to change their status from suppliers to requesters, and thus aggravate poverty and hunger.
A set of recommendations was presented to help define the 197 countries’ commitment to climate action. Cooperation among parties is key, as well as using technology and data analysis to tackle information and planning challenges. “The goal is really to help countries understand the scale of what is coming and really prepare for it”, said Ms. Warner. “It’s really about finding ways to reduce the suffering and ensure the safety, dignity of the people at risk of displacement in the face of climate change.”
Some of the recommendations included financial planning support for communities who are facing natural disasters, as well as the increase of investments in mapping and understanding human mobility due to climate change. “The real impact,” noted Ms. Warner, “will only be measured through the steps countries take to avoid and minimize unnecessary suffering, and address the risks involved in climate-related displacement.”