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At the IDB, we believe that together we can go farther. Our partnership network is making positive differences in Latin America and the Caribbean every day, and this blog is our channel for telling that story. Stay tuned for literature on partnership perspectives, stories from the field, changing trends, outlooks for development and the region, information on ways and opportunities to partner, and more. Thanks for stopping by.

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Is the Developing World Under Threat of an Environmental Super-Villain?

By - Jun 18 2015

In the developing world today, countries are in danger. They face a hazard to their growth, a villain that threatens to not only slow development, but to retrogress hard-earned progress won by governments, companies and civil society organizations working for a better future. This menace wears many masks. It can strike in the guise of an unbearably hot day, a crop-killing drought, or a suspiciously intense storm. Other times it manifests as biodiversity degradation or a natural disaster, working—in all of its forms—to exploit the limited resources and technical capacity of developing countries to wreak true havoc.

But just who is this destruction-thirsty scoundrel? You guessed it: climate change. In Colombia, its power is visible to the naked eye. A common victim of the climate change bandit, this Andean country has been plagued by more intense and frequent natural disasters in recent years, and is highly vulnerable to other climate change side effects. A recent study, for instance, estimated a 70% reduction in the savannah ecosystem by 2050, and models indicate that the agricultural sector will lose an average of 23.74% over production in the baseline scenario. In this setting where the negative impacts of this environmental phenomenon are rapidly emerging, what can be done?

A team of public and private sector heavyweights has the answer, according to an event at the Washington, DC-based Institute of Peace held just last this week. Under the glass curtain of the Institute’s light-filled atrium, representatives from the United States and United Kingdom governments, and organizations including the American Red Cross, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, Google and the Skoll Global Threats Fund gathered to pledge collaboration around an innovative partnership structure. Building off existing collaboration between the IDB and these entities in various areas, the IDB and its fellow partners committed to building climate change resilience in countries like Colombia, who need support now.

With the objective of identifying the most effective means to create and provide climate data for the public good, the Climate Services for Resilient Development partnership strives to generate and disseminate information that is timely and useful, as well as tools and services driven by the needs and demands of end-users.

But with extensive climate change portfolios characterizing many of these entities, why must they overcome the traditional barriers to working together? Because the partners acknowledge that leveraging each other’s expertise and resource will make for a greater impact yet. Though these climate change warriors may not come equipped with a Batmobile or X-ray vision, by collaborating they can effectively tap into the knowledge and financing of each partner institution, boosting their capacity to collectively solve complex climate change challenges that lay beyond the reach of any single hero alone. In terms of just funding, this team effort is slated to provide more than US$34 million, as well as diverse experiences and perspectives essential to success in the resilience space.

Yet though much work has gone into partnership creation alone, announcing this intent to collaborate is just the first step in a long journey toward climate change resilience. Step two will require the development and execution of scalable, comprehensive, and integrated climate resilient services by the end of 2016 across at least three global sub-regionsIn South America the partnership will first focus on the Andean region, starting in Colombia.

The next upcoming set of potential sub-regions includes the Caribbean, where countries would benefit from integrated resilient infrastructure planning given that the loss of habitat for fish due to coastal degradation and pollution are the main concern.

Though the emergence of this partnership will not eradicate the climate change threat altogether, it can do wonders to build up the resilience of vulnerable sub-regions across the world. By reaching Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the collaboration can help not just keep climate change at bay, but preserve the decades of growth and development LAC countries have worked so hard to achieve. The Climate Services for Resilient Development partners may not wear capes, swing from building to building on spider webs, or save pretty damsels in distress, but their collective potential for building climate change resilience around the world makes them worth looking out for.

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One Response to “Is the Developing World Under Threat of an Environmental Super-Villain?”

  • Liliana Parra :

    Climate change is one of the biggest threats to global development. Colombia learned many important lessons from the 2010-2011 ‘La Niña’ phenomenon that flooded several regions. Seven percent of the population was registered as victim or affected.

    The lessons learned from this process are valuable for other countries facing similar challenges. These were documented in 2013 and published in a Case Study conducted by Fluyt – Knowledge Brokers for the Presidency of Colombia.

    You can access the document here (Spanish only): http://www.colombiahumanitaria.gov.co/FNC/Documents/2014/estudio_caso.pdf

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