Most governments input climate change agendas into their environment-related ministries. This Congress, however, has highlighted the multi-faceted nature of climate change. Within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – 8 goals that the international community has committed to achieving by 2015 to alleviate poverty – Goal 7, ensure environmental sustainability, recognizes the link between environmental degradation and poverty.
Ensuring environmental sustainability is an obvious step for mitigating and adapting to climate change. It is imperative that policy-makers recognize, however, that the seven other MDGs will also be impacted by climate change.
Examples of climate change hindering the achievement of these Goals include:
Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
-drought and flash floods causing famine
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
-hunger lessens child’s ability to learn
-loss of income from family businesses (i.e. fishing, agriculture) from climate change inhibits families from affording direct and indirect school fees
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
-girls having to walk further distances to collect water, lessening time available for studies
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
-prevalence of malaria, tuberculosis, dysentery, and cholera increase with unsanitary conditions caused by famine and flash flooding
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
-unsanitary conditions from poor water resources increases maternal deaths
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
-lack of unsanitary water resources and inadequate shelter from drought and floods increase risk of disease
Goal 8, to develop a global partnership for development, must include global commitments to mitigating and adapting to climate change.