Plassnik: "The worlds poor are most affected by climate change"
Foreign Minister on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
Vienna, 17 October 2007 - More than one billion people around the world still live in extreme poverty, three quarters of whom in rural areas. As a result of environmental destruction, resources like water, wood, or fertile ground are becoming increasingly scarce.
"Global climate change aggravates existing problems in developing countries. This is not merely an environmental problem; it also jeopardizes our previous efforts towards sustainable development and poverty reduction", stressed Foreign Minister Plassnik in connection with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
"Therefore, we shall place a new emphasis on our development cooperation and put an even greater focus on climate protection in our projects. Especially the people in the least developed countries suffer the most from the consequences of climate change. The poor countries in particular need our help, because they are not in a position to manage these challenges alone", said Plassnik.
"Above all, industrial countries will have to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, they must support the developing countries in adjusting to the new conditions and in making their own contribution to climate protection and the stabilization of global greenhouse gas emissions through their development. The rethinking is over, we must act now", said the Foreign Minister.
Austria finances projects in energy management, which focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy production. Projects aimed at optimizing water supply and providing environmentally compatible sewage disposal help the people to better cope with the possible impact of climate change, especially in dry regions. In connection with agriculture, the Austrian Development Cooperation (OEZA) focuses on adjusted production methods, erosion protection, and modern technologies for climate-neutral production. Reforestation, sustainable soil use, and the preservation of biodiversity ensure that ecosystems remain intact.
According the motto "Good climate for development", the OEZA aims at raising more awareness among Austrians about the correlation between environmental risks, climate change, and poverty, and is organizing a relevant information campaign in cooperation with the print media starting on 17 October.
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