Why Climate Change Adaptation is important to Oxfam

Submitted by Andrew Maclean | published 30th Mar 2011 | last updated 31st Mar 2011

Climate change is already affecting many of the communities with which Oxfam works; undermining their livelihoods through gradual, insidious, changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, and increasing the frequency and/or intensity of natural hazards such as floods and droughts. The poorest communities in developing countries around the world are being hardest hit because they are:

  • More dependent on their climate-sensitive natural resources and ecosystems, such as agriculture and fishing;
  • More likely to live in areas that have greater exposure to climate hazards, such as urban slums and flood plains;
  • Less able to respond to climate change because of limited human, financial, and institutional capacity.1

Even if global emissions are cut rapidly, starting today, the impacts of climate change will continue to worsen until at least 2060. For those already being affected, the need to adapt to the unavoidable impacts is already urgent.

As a result, Oxfam GB and Oxfam International have made climate change a corporate priority. This decision recognises that we can only fulfil our mission to overcome poverty and suffering if we address the underlying causes of climate change, and deal with the unavoidable consequences. Integrating climate change adaptation (CCA) into all our work is therefore essential if we are to help prevent increasing the poverty and suffering of those whom we seek to support, and all of the evidence suggests that ‘development as usual’ is not enough.

Source: Introduction to Climate Change Adaptation: A Learning Companion. Oxfam Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Resources