In September, the United Nations will set out a global agenda for helping communities adapt to climate change through the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As nations draw up their strategies, we call on them to put equity first.
Poor people face a double burden of inequality — from uneven development and climate change. In Mozambique, for example, two-thirds of the population lives in extreme poverty, on less than US$1.9 per day. In March, the nation was hit by Cyclone Idai, followed by Cyclone Kenneth in April. Idai alone killed 1,000 people and left 3 million in need of help. Most were in poor, isolated rural communities and coastal settlements that were cut off from emergency responses.
People on extremely low incomes often live along coasts and riversides that are prone to flooding, and in other exposed areas. In Nigeria, the poorest 20% are 50% more likely to lose their lives, assets, livelihoods or health in a flood than the average Nigerian1. They are also 130% more likely to be affected by a drought, and 80% more likely to be affected by a heatwave.