For the parallel event at the European Development Days on ‘How climate changes agriculture in rural ACP countries? Voices from the field‘, the World Bank’s Katherine Sierra discussed the work of her agency in tackling the impact of climate change on agriculture and rural development.She presented a worrying picture:Increasing temperatures; precipitations which are too much or too low; rising sea levels; and reduced resilience as direct effect of the frequency of extreme events.
The impact of these factors can be seen in the reduction of crop production, environmental degradation, limited water availability, reduced soil fertility, less healthy people, and an increase of conflicts for scarce resources.
All this is “pretty scary stuff.” So, the question is: what to do?
According to Sierra, climate change has to become part of ‘normal action’ in the development community. Some concrete actions have to focus on the use of water for multiple purposes and its transfer to reduce floods; good land management; increase of agriculture productivity; and sustainable forest resource management.
The World Bank, as all the development community in general, is a bit behind, but it is quite aware of the need to change the pace and type of its responses to the challenges described.
First and foremost, this means increasing our knowledge base on climate change.