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Older people and climate change

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A HelpAge International presentation given to

A HelpAge International presentation given to

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  • 1. e Older people and climate change Asia Pacific Regional Conference Melbourne May 2nd 2010 Sylvia Beales Head of Strategic Alliances Strategic Development Department
  • 2. Climate Change Environmental hazard Demographic transition Fastest in Asia Rising inequalities Within and between countries Overview – things we know
  • 3. Predictions related to global warming?
    • A minimum of 2˚C rise may result in
    • 4 billion people without access to safe water
    • 200 million people on the move
    • 375 million people affected by climate-related disasters
    • 28 per cent increased exposure to malaria in Africa
    • Collapse of inefficient and under resourced health systems
    • The Lancet has called climate change “the biggest health threat of the 21st century”
  • 4.
    • Older people say:
    • ‘ The droughts have been intensifying over the last
    • 20 years, and the climate is changing. When it
    • doesn’t rain our animals die, and we cannot grow
    • crops’ . (Walso Jaldeso, 96, Ethiopia)
    • Policy influencers say:
    • “ There is plenty of need out there for focus on the
    • elderly…..” ( Rachel Berger, Practical Action)
  • 5. Coping with environmental disaster
  • 6. Action on climate change in 2009
    • Review of CC in 12 HA programmes
    • Older person analysis of climate change in 9 countries
    • Global study of views and actions of 26 external agencies and range of policy makers
    • Older people define CC as key problem affecting health, food security, livelihoods, water supply, capacity to care for dependents, increasing vulnerability to migration and extreme weather
    • Experience and views of OP on building resilience not taken into account by policy makers
    • Some HA programmes already taking action though Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and environmental assessments
    • HA ‘Witness to climate change; listening to the voice of experience’ well received as first account of its kind
  • 7. Summary of findings
    • Older people are both aware of changing climate and are
    • bearing the brunt of its impact - livelihoods and health
    • Older people lack scientific knowledge and terminology
    • BUT
    • have traditional knowledge and coping skills
    • NEVERTHELESS
    • Older people are not mentioned in international negotiations
    • AND ARE OFTEN
    • Sidelined from debates and forums at national level
    • By-passed by interventions at community level
  • 8. Direction of 2010 HA environment and climate change policy
    • HA will
    • Help to build the resilience of older men and women and their dependents to the impacts of natural crises
    • Ensure our own environmental sustainability and resilience
    • Reduce our carbon footprint
  • 9. Expected outcomes by 2015
    • We will be able to show how we better manage environmental and climate change risk with older people and their communities
    • We will have built our understanding of the nature of CC impact on and risk faced by older people and their families
    • We will ensure older people are supported to be more resilient and to contribute to sustainable change
  • 10. How? Proposed actions in our programmes
    • 1. Ensure that all project design takes account of, manages and, if possible, reduces environmental and cc impact
    • 2. Support older people to contribute knowledge and skills for resilience and adaptation
    • 3. Support inclusion of older peoples concerns in national environmental risk and CC policy and programme responses
  • 11. Older person focus Unpredictable weather patterns More frequent and severe floods More frequent and severe tropical storms Melting ice caps More frequent & prolongued droughts Melting glaciers Heat waves Landslides Decreasing crop yields Land degradation & desertification Water shortages & poor water quality Water supply shortages Rising sea levels Increased loss of lives and property & environmental damage as a result of disasters caused by climate hazards Increase in migration and ‘climate refugees’ Salinisation Coastal erosion Increase in insect-borne disease (malaria, dengue) OP displaced or left behind Decreasing livelihood options Worsening food security Traditional knowledge insufficient to boost resilience OP more vulnerable to extreme weather (heat & cold) Increased disease burden on OP More exposed to conflict over natural resources OLDER PERSON
  • 12. Via
    • Research and evidence gathering on climate change impact on OP and solutions
    • Programme development to build resilience eg DRR
    • Advocacy, training and policy development
    • Alliances with others – we are not cc experts
    • Mainstreaming issue into existing thematic priorities
    • Identification of ‘pilot’ countries including for funding
  • 13. Potential recommendations
    • Promote older people as climate change informants and ‘agents of change’
    • Promote more investigation of the impact of climate change on older people’s livelihoods & health
    • Ensure older people and their representative groups can be active in national forums, financing bodies and decision-making processes on climate change
    • Advocate that d ata for adaptation strategies and vulnerability assessments be broken down by age as well as by sex
    • Integrate age into vulnerability assessments for NAPAs
    • Advocate for financing to benefit older people through NAPAs and Adaptation Fund
    • Link global action on climate change to DRR, health for all and social protection