Mainstreaming climate change activities into development planning in developing countries

UNCHECKED climate change impacts are likely going to derail planned development outcomes in many developing countries, thereby, posing negative challenges for the resilience of many livelihoods together with the underlying eco-systems.

Time for climate change adaptations and mitigation that does not have space for resilience amounts to null initiatives and planning own-goals. Planning, not just planning in general, but development-oriented planning, play vital roles in addressing human institutional and capacity building challenges. Besides that, integrating climate change resilience into these responses is fast manifesting itself as a significant policy agenda instrument of change.

As such, developing countries seriously need to reach out to each other, sit down, share and reflect their experiences, including policy failures and successes as well as needs and expectations in their desire to integrate the climate change agenda into development planning. Developing countries need to identify and institute building blocks for successful mainstreaming influenced by conducive working environment, malleable policies and strategic planning agendas.

climate change

Such enabling mainstreaming environment include the elusive political will to strengthen climate policy, simple and clear information services for guidance. Institutional alignments and provisions of adequate financial services are also critical in this regard.

A number of development communication initiatives would contribute to the improved understanding of the present and future vulnerabilities to climate change. Of late, there have been some sporadic occurrences of climate change-aligned disasters globally. These climate change hazards have done a lot to expose more people to vulnerability statuses. Besides, they have posed significant threats to infrastructure development as a result of unpredictable disasters. These disasters retard expected economic growth as well as developmental goals for their local communities. Quite a number of developed countries have since adopted sustainable planning goals for their communities since they have realised their serious past mistakes of contributing large chunks of carbon into the environment. This has made these countries significantly climate-friendly for successful adaptation and mitigation programmes. These developed countries are spearheading new frontiers and frameworks for others to emulate. The results of planning initiatives in developed countries contributed immensely to their communities’ resilience and climate proof scenarios. In this regard, the end products are the well-being of their people’s health and safety of their surroundings.

In quite a number of developing countries, development policy planners normally fall short of strategic planning with the climate risks in mind. Nations’ proactive investments in risks will contribute to life-long skills and community-based livelihoods. Factoring the elements and central needs of the locals in development planning will augur well with every country’s development agenda. The people’s exposure to natural disasters would be cushioned by short and long-term adaptation and mitigation strategies. This is, therefore, necessary for minimising climate shocks and uncertainties that always choke the environment.

The other major undoing for developing countries is that they always view climate change as a costly project to implement, one that is also confusing and difficult to understand. That is why some developing countries are failing to embrace the issue of renewable energy whole-heartedly and steadfastly. To begin with, renewable energy projects are somewhat expensive, and some governments forget that these have come to stay, therefore, there is not going to be any reverse of this vital aspect. By investing in boundless renewable energy projects, climate planning becomes a life-time investment necessary for reducing threats and saving precious lives.

An interesting scenario is that, although many developing countries have different landscapes, they normally share common climate risks and challenges as they continue with their glaring planning gaps, thereby, failing to mainstream disaster risk into their development planning initiatives. As such, mainstreaming climate change management helps to ensure that any new development that does not put people at greater risk to climate hazards is sustainable and eco-conscious. Above all and everything else, governments are quite central and strategically positioned in mainstreaming activities within their co-sectors so that they promote institutional capacities and knowledge platforms networks for information sharing accordingly.

In this regard, in any given country, necessary steps for mainstreaming need to be followed and adhered to religiously. Different frameworks outlining critical and fundamental steps for mainstreaming processes have to be clearly harnessed and cultivated for the green economy that we all want. Lastly, these mainstreaming network potentials should do enough and always go a long way in cushioning developing countries against life-threatening barriers and obstacles that militate against the attainment of sustainable development goals, where no one would be left behind.

lPeter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on:

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  1. earnest Maswera

    Great article Peter and very relevant to today’s woos. The article highlights critical framework and institutional issues that need to be considered. had hoped though that we would get a bit more specific examples from specific development countries and how this speaks into the narrative you have described for us. I guess key highlights of key stories that run across the developing world terrain would help us get a greater jist of the issues you have raised. I have noticed that the poor and marginalized households who are much impacted by climate change are little talked about or are marginalised in this discussion. Developing frameworks that clearly takes into account of their stories their pain their frustrations changes the whole narrative of climate change in many aspect

  2. great article Mr Makwaya, keep it up.

  3. The development framework needed is something like Integrative Improvement: Sustainable Development as if People and their Physical, Social and Cultural Environments Mattered.

    It is a development from below approach instead of the top down approach which has resulted in the climate and development mess we now have.

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