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Integrated strategies to reduce vulnerability and advance adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development

  • Indur M. GoklanyEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Determinants of adaptive and mitigative capacities (e.g., availability of technological options, and access to economic resources, social capital and human capital) largely overlap. Several factors underlying or related to these determinants are themselves indicators of sustainable development (e.g., per capita income; and various public health, education and research indices). Moreover, climate change could exacerbate existing climate-sensitive hurdles to sustainable development (e.g., hunger, malaria, water shortage, coastal flooding and threats to biodiversity) faced specifically by many developing countries. Based on these commonalities, the paper identifies integrated approaches to formulating strategies and measures to concurrently advance adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development. These approaches range from broadly moving sustainable development forward (by developing and/or nurturing institutions, policies and infrastructure to stimulate economic development, technological change, human and social capital, and reducing specific barriers to sustainable development) to reducing vulnerabilities to urgent climate-sensitive risks that hinder sustainable development and would worsen with climate change. The resulting sustainable economic development would also help reduce birth rates, which could mitigate climate change and reduce the population exposed to climate change and climate-sensitive risks, thereby reducing impacts, and the demand for adaptation. The paper also offers a portfolio of pro-active strategies and measures consistent with the above approaches, including example measures that would simultaneously reduce pressures on biodiversity, hunger, and carbon sinks. Finally it addresses some common misconceptions that could hamper fuller integration of adaptation and mitigation, including the notions that adaptation may be unsuitable for natural systems, and mitigation should necessarily have primacy over adaptation.

Keywords

Adaptation Adaptive capacity Climate change policies Hunger Integrated strategies Kyoto Protocol Malaria Millennium development goals Mitigation Mitigative capacity Sustainable development UNFCCC 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Office of Policy Analysis, U.S. Department of the InteriorWashington, DCUSA

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