Climate change is taking the heaviest toll on poor people. Every year, we help over 400,000 women and men in low-income countries adapt to climate change, reduce the risks of disasters, sustainably manage natural resources, and conserve biodiversity.
Why the environment and climate change matter
Poor people generally suffer the most from climate change, though they contribute the least to greenhouse gas emissions. They are most likely to live in floodplains, low-elevation coastal zones, steep unstable slopes or on arid lands because they cannot afford safer areas. Floods and hurricanes destroy their homes and drought threatens their crops. Women tend to be particularly badly hit by disasters, often being less able to escape extreme events, and then bearing the brunt of caring responsibilities afterwards.
The first Millennium Development Goal — to cut the 1990 poverty rate in half by 2015 — was achieved five years ahead of schedule. Yet climate change increasingly threatens development progress. Economic progress has often come at the expense of the environment. And again, it is the least responsible who are the most affected: women and men living in low-income countries who rely on forests, lakes, rivers and the sea for their livelihoods.
Dorji, Hungrel Block forester, Bhutan
Human beings have the know-how to create a climate-resilient and sustainable future. Helvetas supports vulnerable individuals and communities to reduce the risks they face and increase the resilience of their livelihoods. We bring together traditional knowledge and the latest research to mitigate climate change and adapt to its adverse effects — managing disaster risks and introducing environmentally friendly practices.
In the past five years, Helvetas has helped over 5,000,000 women and men in vulnerable communities to become more resilient to climate and disaster impacts and sustainably manage natural resources.