Natural hazard trends and early warning draft 16_dec


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Natural hazard trends and early warning draft 16_dec

  1. 1. Natural Hazard trends and Early Warning- Early Action Moldovan caseA.Mehrabyan, UNDP MoldovaDecember 16, 2008The Republic of Moldova is a small landlocked country covering an area of approximately 33700 square kilometres and has a population of 4.3 million with over 50% living in rural areas.The country has few natural resources and is entirely dependent upon imports for its inputs forits manufacturing industries as well as for its primary energy requirements.Three out of four or 65% of the people in Moldova live in rural areas and depend on agricultureand related activities for their livelihoods. Many live on ecologically fragile land such as hillyareas and deserts and depend on vulnerable sectors for their livelihoods such as agriculture,livestock and forestry.Moldova is endowed with rich agricultural land and a temperate climate, thus the agriculturaland agro-processing sectors account for about 34% of the country’s GDP. These sectors generateabout 60% of export earnings, and provide employment for roughly 43% of the labor force1.While at independence the Republic of Moldova was classified as a middle-income country, it isnow the poorest nation in Europe. Also, despite its economic growth observed in recent years,poverty is geographically widespread and persistent in the country. It has even increased since2003. This is particularly the case of rural areas where 66% of the country’s poor live. In fact,the UNDP Human Development Report 2006 ranks Moldova 114 out of 177 countries with ahuman development index (HDI) score of 0.694, lower than the regional average for CIS andEastern Europe2.Natural trends and hazards that impact on rural livelihoods in Moldova are numerous and includedrought, floods, and earthquakes. Each type of hazard has impact frequencies and categories.But, the recorded frequency and severity of damaging weather events is rising, and consequentlytheir impact on the economy and livelihoods, especially in rural areas.The severity of the situation following the 2007 drought has shown that the rural livelihoodssystem is not capable of recovering from such crises without external support. This in turn hasexacerbated the already difficult living conditions of the rural population. The overall economiclosses of the 2007 drought were estimated to be in the region of $1.2 billion (official governmentstatistics3). These had a particularly devastating effect on the livelihoods of the rural population,and more importantly the small independent private farmers, which are the backbone of thecountry’s agricultural sector, producing around 72% of the agricultural GDP.There have been various estimations of the extent of the losses, most recently resulting from theextreme weather conditions of 2007 and 2008; all have a similar conclusion-that the negativeimpact on the rural sector in Moldova was enormous.Rural livelihoods development, particularly in the context of food security and soaring foodprices, is very important. Climate changes hits the poorest and most vulnerable people hardest.There is clearly an economic, social and moral imperative to help poor rural people adapt to1 National Burouls de Satistici2 UNDP Human Development Report, 20063 Source: Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Moldova, 2007 presentation
  2. 2. climate change in a sustainable way. Moreover, the damages from natural hazards in Molsdovaestimated at US$ 105.9 million per year 4The increasing trend toward drier conditions in Moldova underline the need for improvedirrigation water, drainage and floodwater management and adapted agro-production systems withgreater resistance to erosion and use of plant species adapted to higher temperatures and lowerhumidity. It highlights also the need for rural economy diversification.The recent drought, combined with underdeveloped market infrastructure, inefficient supplychains, and market distortions have reduced farm-gate prices and, hence, the incomes of ruralhouseholds.The extreme climatic conditions experienced in Moldova in 2007 confirmed clearly that the ruralsector is the most vulnerable part of the national economy; yields and productivity of agriculturalcrops in 2007 were the lowest of the last decade and this prompted a major collapse throughoutthe whole sector. Although there have been continuing reforms in the rural sector in recent years,there have been in response only limited improvements of agricultural performance.Highlights 1. Development of Early –Warning System: The new strategy is required for development early warning system, including all stages of mitigation, adaptation and preparedness - to introduce pro poor climate mitigation and adaptation policies a) Mitigation policies: - Improved agricultural techniques, diversification of crop variety and species - Increasing the quality and quantity of cattle breading production - Rehabilitation of irrigation system (kitchen garden drip irrigation) and water supply mechanism - Modernization of anti-hail services - Reduction of food security risk and liberalization of cereal market b) Adaptation Policies - Support mechanism (risk transfer, for instance, agriculture insurance) - A revision of legal and regulatory base for seed production - and multiplication - Development of agro-processing industry - Promoting of agro-forestry adaptive management of silviculture - Promoting ecological production and integrated pest management - Development of recyclable energy sources (solar, wind, biogas, natural freeze) as a means to reduce traditional fuel consumption 2. Consumer food prices: In spite of some improvement and support to Moldovan Agriculture, the cumulative effect of 2007 severe drought since the early of 2008 has been complimented with soaring food prices that heightened burden on households and communities that are especially vulnerable to economic shocks. High consumer food prices are likely to interact with seasonal and climatologic phenomena such as flood 2008 which extending worsening food security in areas threatened by drought. Subsistence agriculture an important source of living for most of poor people that poor live in rural areas (more than 70%). They are mostly dependent on kitchen gardens and4 A Hazardous Existence- MNLT in Rural Moldvoa, The World Bank Report, 5 FEB 2007,
  3. 3. small land areas under their management (1.6 hectares / household) and earn their living from casual farm labour. About 20% of rural households depend on annual crops (maize, wheat, sunflowers, potatoes being the most significant) as their main source of income the ratio of expenditures for food in the total household expenditures is higher among the poorest strata of the population (48.8% for the rural population versus 36.8% for the urban population)5. 3. Financial uncertainty: The impact of the October 2008 financial crisis continuing and needs to be monitor closely, because of rapid decline of wholesale price for main cereal crops and soaring of food prices and main commodities hit hardest most vulnerable – rural smallholders that comprise 99.56 % of all farms (less than or equal 2 hectares (400, 000 farms)6Draft prepared byTechnical Adviser on Rural Agriculture Deelopment,Armen Mehrabyan5 Moldova Household Food Security, WFP – February 20086 Source: FAO Agricultural World Census*Source: National Farmers Federation