Coping with the impact of climate change
Asia and the Pacific region is prone to a wide range of natural disasters that threaten farm and rural livelihoods, such as droughts and floods, highly pathogenic avian influenza, cyclones, tsunamis and earthquakes. Managing threats and risks from disasters remains a strategic challenge. Climate change may increase the frequency and severity of both sudden and slow onset weather-related disasters.
Climate change will impact agriculture through extreme weather events and shifts in agro-ecological zones. Changing farming patterns may threaten in situ agricultural biodiversity and increased seasonal weather variations will affect agricultural production and food supplies. Rising sea levels and storm surges have huge implications for coastal fishing communities particularly in low-lying small island developing countries and in the tropical deltas. In these areas, climate change adaptation and mitigation clearly constitute a high priority.
The large and growing population and its concentration in resource-rich areas in Asia and the Pacific region make climate change preparedness and mitigation tasks more difficult.
Climate change will have a tremendous impact in the Pacific region and among some Asian archipelagic nations, where, for example, there is a risk of small islands literally disappearing.
Hopefully, increased government awareness of the gravity of climate change will engender the necessary political will to mobilize resources for comprehensive and concerted action plans.
These should be designed to, among other things, minimize agriculture’s GHG emissions, reduce fossil-fuel use, increase carbon sequestration and improve capacity for adaptation to climate change.