Hallegatte et al. (2016) Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty. Climate Change and Development Series. Washington, DC: World Bank
They emphasize how climate change is a risk to the internationally agreed objective of eradicating extreme poverty. In their pessimistic development and climate change scenario, a further 100 million people could be pushed into poverty by 2030.
They argue that climate-related natural hazards, shocks and stresses will worsen with climate change, and that these shocks and stresses are a threat to poverty eradication. They argue that poor people are more vulnerable to spikes in food prices, more dependent on agricultural and ecosystem-related income, and more exposed to extreme events. Climate change will lower crop yields and increase food prices and price volatility, leading to reduced consumption and incomes. Added to this is the point that poor people have more limited access to financial services and social safety nets and receive less support from friends and family. With less reliable income, with assets exposed to shocks, and with less access to risk-mitigating options, poor people disproportionately opt for low-risk activities; these low-return options then perpetuate poverty. In part because of its impacts on agriculture, climate change is said to increase undernutrition among children. It is argued that climate change adds to the stress on ecosystems and makes them even more fragile, implying that ecosystem-related income could be at risk.
Olsson et al. (2014) follow a similar line of reasoning. With high confidence, they state that “climate-related hazards exacerbate other stressors, often with negative outcomes for livelihoods, especially for people living in poverty”. They go on to conclude that climate change and variability worsens existing poverty, increases inequalities and triggers new vulnerabilities.
Gender – women are very much at risk…..
A title (TI) search in Web of Science was conducted, using three terms to cover (a) climate change; (b) poverty; and (c) agriculture and food security.
A 15-year period of literature was covered: 2002-2016.
Note that some climate and poverty papers were left out as a result of the focus on agriculture
Some work on links between climate and poverty were missed; as were gender and undernutrition.
analysis is based on peer-reviewed journal papers in Web of Science, so does miss some peer-reviewed books and reports.
Our analysis highlights the fact that much of the existing literature on the climate change – poverty nexus does not go far enough in addressing the linkages that need to be considered, to provide robust, empirical evidence that climate change impacts do indeed increase poverty.
For many of the articles it is implicit that climate change increases poverty, but the empirical evidence is in fact weak. Few studies look at poverty and poverty alleviation in any detail, the focus often being on vulnerability components rather than poverty measures. And it is difficult for us to draw conclusions, because of the diversity of methods used and diversity of focus issues.
Of the 19 global papers, 11 focus on vulnerability, six on livelihoods, four on income, and one on hunger (some papers focus on more than one of these). There is rather little information on the direct linkages between climate change and poverty. This is also true for the regions examined. All but two of the papers discuss the impacts of climate change in terms of production and productivity, a few including income effects. There are few studies using global integrated assessment models that would allow examination of trade and food prices, and without price data we will miss major climate change impacts. Vulnerability studies can be useful for targeting, but provide little basis for evaluating the effectiveness of different adaptation options in alleviating poverty.
Many studies follow the tradition of the climate change research community – as opposed to the poverty research community – with a focus on such concepts as climate exposure, sensitivity, vulnerability, resilience, adaptive capacity and adaptability (e.g. Aguilar et al. 2009; Below et al. 2012; Gbetibouo et al. 2010; Murty et al. 2014; Mozaria-Luna 2014; Ravera et al. 2014; Abid et al. 2016; Ling et al 2015).
little consideration of how differential vulnerability and/or resilience mediates the impact on poverty.
While climate change may in general increase poverty (or keep people in poverty), climate change is often not the main driver of vulnerability or change in poverty (e.g. Barua et al. 2014 for Himalaya, India; Eakin et al. 2015 for maize systems in Mexico). Furthermore, the relationships between climate change and poverty (or vulnerability) may be counter to the generalisations, given the complexity of the relationships. For example, McSweeney et al. (2011) show how an extreme event in Honduras enabled the poor to initiate institutional change that led to more equitable land distribution, slowed primary forest conversion, and positioned the community to cope with comparable flooding 10 years later. Keil et al. (2009), working in Indonesia, also point to the complexity of the climate change-livelihood-poverty relationship, and the locally-specific impacts. Generalisations are difficult to make.
This category includes both youth (defined by the World Bank as those between the age of 15-35), and children younger than 15 years of age. Occurrences of the search terms for youth or children are found in 36% of articles (116).
However, these percentages decrease if references to children are filtered out. Most references to children or child are in the context of “women and children” with little substantive analysis. Many are in reference to household analysis, with little actual analysis of the situation of children. The number of articles with references to youth drops to 62 (29%) as a result. The research on youth tends to focus on migration for employment, and employment, reflecting the strong emphasis in research elsewhere on youth in the developing world.
Overall, an analysis of the search terms revealed that 235 articles contained at least two mentions relating to one of the gender and social inclusion categories of youth, indigenous groups, marginalised populations, inequality, or gender – 74%. Of, these, gender had the most numerous references, followed by youth, inequality, marginalised populations, and indigenous groups.
Only 23% of articles address gender as a substantive focus of analysis to varying degrees. In this group, research at a minimum level includes the analysis or collection of sex-disaggregated data and gender aspects in the situational analysis. A small percentage (20%) of articles contain in addition, one or more aspects of significant gender analysis (gender as a unit of analysis; gender analysis of results or integrated into results; analysis of gender transformation or empowerment of women).
Africa – x articles in total – and South Asia – x articles – or x %.
analysis relating to climate change in Africa focuses predominantly on agriculture and income/livelihoods issues, with South Asia also addressing this to a limited extent. In South Asia gender implications of disasters is the predominant theme, including floods and cyclones.
Articles in all other regions focus on more on disasters or water-based vulnerabilities than other climate-related topics: including several articles from Southeast Asia, Central America and one from the Pacific. Three articles on fishing and gender are set in Central America and West Africa, while the articles in this group from Central and South America address primarily water-related implications of climate change – fishing and disasters.
The two papers from the Pacific with significant gender analysis focus on vulnerability and resilience in relation to food security and flood risk.
In comparison to related research in other disciplines, research on gender in climate change and poverty is very low level in comparison to agriculture, climate change, and particularly in comparison to poverty research in general (IFAD, World Bank, FAO, 2009; Meinzen-Dick et al, 2010; Morrison et al, 2007; Goh, 2012). The low representation of research on youth reflects the dearth of research in this area in general in developing regions. It also focuses on only two aspects of youth research which are recognized as important – employment and migration – neglecting other important aspects: empowerment in terms of status, role, and participation in decision making; consequences of and participation in conflict and post-conflict contexts; health (particularly in relation to HIV); and education as a strategy for poverty reduction and employment (World Bank, 2006; La Cava et al, 2004; Borode, 2011). Analysis of the articles in this review, both in terms of what is missing and what is included, show that greater understanding is needed of the vulnerability of all of these groups to climate change, but more importantly, how inclusion of these groups in research and action on the ground can increase resilience and adaptation. A search for literature reviews on youth in the developing world produced a small number of references, mostly from the late 90s to mid 2000s with some exceptions and mostly United Nations and international development bank publications (E.g. Knowles and Behrman, 2005; World Bank, 2006; Lopez Cardozo et al, 2015).
Food system approach: diets and nutrition, food trade and access, agricultural production areas, and cultures of consumption and waste.
Knowledge Gaps and Challenges in Climate Change and Poverty: Results of a Systematic Review
September 10, 2018, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada
Knowledge Gaps and Challenges
in Climate Change and Poverty:
Results of a Systematic Review
CCAFS goals, objectives and targets
• Overall goal to catalyse positive change towards CSA, food
systems and landscapes
• Focus on three dimensions:
Improving food and nutrition security for health
Improving natural resource systems and ecosystem services
• Aim to have 11 million farm households adopt CSA by 2022
• Assist 9 million people, of whom 50% are women, to exit poverty
Other drivers of poverty
modified from Hallegatte et al. 2016
Climate change impacts on poverty
Search terms Comments
TI=(“climat*” OR “change” OR “variabili*”
OR “resilience” OR “pathways” OR
“shocks” OR “surge” OR “sea level rise”
OR “storm” OR “storms” OR “flood” OR
“floods” OR “drought*” OR “extreme” OR
“extremes” OR “warm*” OR “salinity” OR
“natural disasters” OR “*adaptation” OR
“hurricane*” OR “typhoon*”
OR “cyclon*” OR “landslide*” OR ”heat
wave*” OR “hailstorm*” OR “tornado*” OR
“thunderstorm*” OR “blizzard*” OR
Several terms linked
to ‘change’ that are
used in the climate
were used, e.g.
Terms related to
TI=(“poverty” OR “welfare” OR “vulnerab*”
OR “livelihood*” OR “poor” OR “income*”
Various terms linked
to poverty analyses
TI=(“rural” OR “agricultur*” OR “crop*” OR
“livestock” OR “aquac*” OR “fish*” OR
“farm*” OR “food”
Terms linked to
agriculture and food
systems were used.
Campbell et al. forthcoming
2%4% South America
South East Asia
Other drivers of poverty
modified from Hallegate et al., 2016
Few really useful detailed studies on CC-poverty
Cross-regional comparisons difficult because of the diverse
methods used in different regions.
Little on slow onset CC
Time ripe for globally
Youth child or children or youth or boy
or girl or boys or girls
Indigenous traditional_communities or
inigenous_people or aborginal
Marginalised marginalised_groups or
marginal_groups or or
marginal_group or ethnic_groups
or ethnic_group or
disadvantaged_group or ethnic or
ethnicity or tribes or tribe or caste
Inequality Inequality or inequity or equity or
equality or inclusive
Gender gender or female or women or
grandmother or maternal
“Sex” excluded as it did not add
anything and gave problems, e.g.
Social inclusion search terms
Mentions of social inclusion topics
Gender Youth and children Youth only Marginalised Indigenous Inequality
Percentage of mentions
Gender in climate-poverty research:
235 articles in total
Gender analysis in climate change
& poverty articles Token
Degree of gender analysis
• The climate change-poverty relationship is surprisingly under-
• Regional and sectoral imbalances needs to be addressed in future
• More empirical research needed on the connections between
climate change and poverty
• Much more attention needed on social inclusion: how to increase
resilience and adaptation
• More context specific studies needed to support action
• Climate risk management needs more attention
• A food systems approach is required
• A cross-global comparative approach needed