Low-income countries are being affected first and worst by climate change. And climate change is a long-term challenge, where a long-term approach is essential to manage the risks and seize the opportunities it poses.
We want to put climate change at the forefront of thinking on development and that's why Forum for the Future, funded by the UK Department for International Development, undertook a year-long project looking at the possible responses to climate change in low-income countries out to 2030. We explored not only the direct environmental impacts of climate change, but also the social, political, psychological and economic shifts that it may cause.
Our report The future climate for development is designed as a practical tool for anyone who has a stake in the future of low-income countries, including NGOs, businesses, policy makers and low-income country governments. (Download the full report in the downloads section to the left hand side).
It demonstrates clearly that low-income countries cannot and should not have to make a false choice between addressing climate change and development. It shows how the two are fundamentally and inextricably linked, and explains the value of a holistic approach that addresses them together. It is designed to aid long-term thinking, to ensure that decisions made today continue to have positive consequences in the years to come.
“Without urgent action, climate change threatens to undo years of work tackling poverty in the developing world… This report will act as an important tool to help poor countries plan for an uncertain future, and underlines our need to build climate change into everything we do.”
- Stephen O’Brien, International Development Minister
The report contains a ‘horizon scan’, which examines the key issues that will affect low-income countries over the next 20 years, and four scenarios, which explore how these issues may play out in different ways, highlighting challenges and opportunities. It also outlines seven key implications for development agencies and other organisations working in low-income countries.
The scenarios are already being used by DFID, and have been brought to life in four short animations. The scenarios can be used to:
For more information on how to use the report click here
The report explores some searching questions, which play out differently in each of the four scenarios:
Reversal of Fortunes is a world where many of the low-income countries of the 2010s have rapidly developed – mostly on carbon-intensive pathways – and are now middle-income. But a stronger voice on the world stage is not enough to grant immunity from the impacts of a world urgently decarbonising its economy: these new emerging economies are the least resilient and are suffering the most. View animation.
Age of Opportunity is a world in which cultural confidence in low-income countries is high. They play a growing role in the world economy and are spearheading a low-carbon energy revolution, leapfrogging the old high-carbon technologies in pursuit of a prosperous and clean future. View animation.
Coping Alone is a world in which low-income countries feel increasingly abandoned by a global community preoccupied with high oil prices, economic stagnation and simmering conflict. Regional blocs now focus on their own concerns, such as food security, resource shortages and adapting to climate change. View animation.
The Greater Good is a world where people understand that economies rely fundamentally on access to natural resources – and climate change is seen as the ultimate resource crunch. States manage natural resources pragmatically to give the greatest good for the greatest number. Those low-income countries with natural resources prosper; those without have little bargaining power. View animation.
The future climate for development draws on extensive research, the expertise of a high-level steering group and the opinions of more than 100 development experts from around the world, including development professionals, government officials, business leaders, entrepreneurs and independent thinkers.
In addition to the full report, you can download a smaller Executive Summary version in the left hand menu.
If you use the scenarios, please let us know – we’d love to hear what you found useful and what you’ve done as a result.