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Least developed countries most vulnerable to climate change – UN official

Least developed countries most vulnerable to climate change – UN official

Efforts must be intensified to assist the world’s least developed countries and small island developing States, the most vulnerable nations in the world to the impact of climate change, a top United Nations official said today.

“The UN debate on climate change will lose credibility if the concerns of these countries are sidelined or marginalized,” Anwarul Chowdhury, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), told reporters in New York.

Mr. Chowdhury, whose last day in his position is this Saturday, launched a new study entitled “Climate Change Report 2007,” which was presented to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this morning.

While acknowledging that the report is neither academic nor scientific, he said he hoped it would spur interest among the media and support groups to advocate on behalf of these countries and raise awareness of the obstacles LDCs and SIDS face.

Aside from the environmental effects, the report said that climate change impacts LDCs and SIDS in the economic, human and social cultural realms as well.

Reduced rainfall and prolonged droughts could lead to dwindling water supplies, while subsistence agriculture, on which these countries depend heavily, will be harmed by increased tropical cyclones, droughts and loss of soil fertility. Coastal flooding, droughts and disease could also force many people out of their homes.

Due to their limited financial and technical resources, high rates of poverty and – in the case of the SIDS – small size, these countries are not as adept at adapting to climate change, noted the report.

At the global level, the study recommended that these countries be provided adequate financial and technical support to better deal with climate change and that partnerships with international organizations be established to aid LDCs and SIDS.

Meanwhile, the report suggested that at the national level, these countries demand that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publish a report specific to their situation.