Short-changed on climate change: money, water and the people on the frontline

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Climate change, Finance
Ghritto Bishshash, is a beneficiary of the PSF (Pond Sand Filter) plant. A few years ago, rivers and ponds were important sources of fresh water in the southwest coastal areas. But now intrusion of saline water from the sea into the seaside area is in ...
Image: WaterAid/ DRIK/ Habibul Haque

Nowhere near enough money is being spent on climate change, and the low levels of funding allocated aren’t being targeted to help the worst affected countries deal with the effects, putting billions of lives at risk.

Our global analysis of data on climate finance, water access and climate vulnerability shows that half of countries receive less than £4 per person per year in climate finance for mitigation and adaptation combined. Some of the most vulnerable countries receive significantly less.

Access to clean water is a first-line defence against climate change, and the countries most vulnerable to climate change have some of the lowest levels of clean water access. Yet our research found that half of countries where more than 1 in 10 people do not have water close to home get less than 77p per person per year in climate finance for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) service adaptation.

We are calling for a rapid, ten-fold increase in climate finance spent on getting sustainable, clean water to the people currently forced to live without, increasing their ability to cope with the effects of climate change.

It is those who have done least to contribute to man-made global warming who are carrying the greatest burden of climate change. For the poorest people, the most immediate and widespread effects are felt through water – extreme droughts, sea level rises, vast floods and powerful storms – these unpredictable weather events multiplying pressure on already overstretched water sources.