Climate love
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Climate love


Rome - Climate change is disproportionately affecting the incomes of rural women, people living in poverty, and older populations, as their capacity to react and adapt to extreme weather events is unequal, a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) finds.
The Unjust Climate report highlights a stark reality: each year in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), female heads of households in rural areas suffer significantly greater financial losses than men. On average, female-headed households lose 8 percent more of their income due to heat stress and 3 percent more due to floods compared to male-headed households. This translates to a per capita reduction of $83 due to heat stress and $35 due to floods, totaling $37 billion and $16 billion respectively across all LMICs.
If the average temperatures were to increase by just 1°C, these women would face a staggering 34% greater loss in their total incomes compared to men. Considering the significant existing differences in agricultural productivity and wages between women and men, the study suggests that if not addressed, climate change will greatly widen these gaps in the years ahead.
FAO analyzed socioeconomic data from over 100,000 rural households (representing more than 950 million people) across 24 LMICs. By integrating this information with 70 years of georeferenced daily precipitation and temperature data, the report examines how various climate stressors impact people's incomes, labour, and adaptation strategies, differentiating based on their wealth, gender, and age.
Impacts differ not just by gender but by socioeconomic status, according to the data. Heat stress, or overexposure to high temperatures, exacerbates the income disparity between rural households classified as poor, who suffer a 5 percent greater loss ($17 per capita) than their better-off neighbours, and the figures for flooding are similar. Extreme temperatures, meanwhile, worsen child labour and increase the unpaid workload for women in poor households.
‘’Social differences based on locations, wealth, gender and age have a powerful, yet poorly understood, impact on rural peoples’ vulnerability to the impacts of the climate crisis. These findings highlight the urgent need to dedicate substantially more financial resources and policy attention to issues of inclusivity and resilience in global and national climate actions,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.
Indeed, barriers such as access to resources, services and employment opportunities affect rural people’s capacity to adapt to and cope with climate change. For example, discriminatory norms and policies place a disproportionate burden on women for care and domestic responsibilities, limit their rights to land, prevent them from making decisions over their labour and hamper their access to information, finance, technology and other essential services.
Similarly, households led by young individuals have an easier time finding off-farm job opportunities during extreme weather conditions compared to older households. This makes their incomes less susceptible to these events.
Extreme weather also compels impoverished rural households to resort to maladaptive coping strategies. These may include reducing income streams, selling off livestock, and shifting spending away from their farms. These actions, however, exacerbate their vulnerability to long-term climate changes.
Some action to be taken,
The report suggests that addressing these challenges requires targeted interventions to empower various rural populations to engage in climate-adaptive measures
The study finds rural people and their climate vulnerabilities are barely visible in national climate plans. In the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and national adaptation plans (NAPs) of the 24 countries analysed in the report, only 6 percent of the 4,164 climate actions proposed mention women, 2 percent explicitly mention youths, less than 1 percent mention poor people and about 6 percent refer to farmers in rural communities.
Similarly, of the total tracked climate finance in 2017/18, only 7.5 percent went towards climate change adaptation; less than 3 percent to agriculture, forestry and other land uses, or other agriculture-related investments; only 1.7 percent, amounting to roughly $10 billion, reached small-scale producers.
Agricultural policies also miss the opportunity to address gender equality and women's empowerment and intersecting vulnerabilities such as climate change. An analysis of agricultural policies from 68 low- and middle-income countries done by FAO last year showed that about 80 percent of policies did not consider women and climate change.
Among several policy highlights, the report calls for investing in policies and programmes that address the multidimensional climate vulnerabilities of rural people and their specific constraints, including their limited access to productive resources. It also recommends linking social protection programmes to advisory services that can encourage adaptation and compensate farmers for losers, such as cash-based social assistance programs.
Gender-transformative methodologies that directly challenge discriminatory gender norms, could also tackle the entrenched discrimination that often prevents women from exercising full agency over economic decisions that impact their lives.
Inclusive climate actions are embedded in FAO’s Strategy and Action Plan on Climate Change and in the FAO Strategic Framework 2022–2031, where tackling the impact of climate change is mainstreamed in efforts to achieve the four betters: better production, better nutrition, better environment and better life for all.
Similarly, FAO’s Global Roadmap for Achieving SDG 2 without breaching the 1.5 °C threshold, establishes that gender inequalities, climate actions and nutrition are simultaneous considerations, and actions must encompass these dimensions and promote inclusivity for women, youth and Indigenous Peoples.

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  • mary Mwihaki

    3 w

    This is bad and heartbreaking how climate change is hitting women in rural areas.

    • We Don't Have Time

      4 w

      Dear Chris Ndungu Your climate love has received over 50 agrees! We have reached out to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations by email and requested a response. I will keep you updated on any progress! To reach more people and increase the chance of a response, click the Share button above to share the review on your social accounts. For every new member that joins We Don't Have Time from your network, we will plant a tree and attribute it to you! /Adam, We Don't Have Time

      • Abraham Jok Atem

        4 w

        @ Chris,How is this a climate love

        • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

          4 w

          It is no doubt that women,who contribute largely in world's food production chain account for the largest percentage of people affected by the effects of climate change .This calls for increased efforts to address climate change.

          • George Kariuki

            4 w

            Absolutely heartbreaking how climate change is hitting women in rural areas the hardest. They're losing income due to heatwaves and floods, making it even harder to get by. We need to focus on supporting these communities and making sure climate action helps everyone #ClimateJustice

            Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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