Climate change and development

Flooding on Cebu, Philippines

Climate change – Time to act

"Climate change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment. We have the tools to make our actions effective", says UN Secretary-General António Guterres. "What we still lack – even after the Paris Agreement – is the leadership and the ambition to do what is needed."

The global transformation towards climate-friendly and climate-resilient development has been launched. In 2015, the international community created a political framework for this transformation by adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. Read more

Earth as light bulb
Climate change and development

Our areas of work

NDC Partnership for climate action

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris climate agreement. They are how the participating countries formulate their emissions reduction and adaptation targets for the period up to 2030. Starting in 2020, the NDCs are to be reviewed and updated every five years.

In order to assist developing countries in implementing their NDCs and making them more ambitious, in 2016 the BMZ initiated the global NDC Partnership, together with the German Environment Ministry and other partners. Read more

Two employees between solar systems at Talek Power solar power plant in Kenya

Energy and climate

The sectors of climate and energy are closely interrelated. The energy goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG 7) envisages, by 2030, ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services, substantially increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency. Read more

Ulan Bator, Mongolia: Housing development with solar system for water heating. In the background a coal power plant.

Migration and climate

Extreme weather events caused or compounded by climate change, such as storms, flooding and droughts, are turning into a fulminating and direct threat to the livelihoods of many people – for example by causing serious disruption to infrastructure and socio-economic structures.

Many developing countries are particularly hard hit by these effects. They face the challenge of having to avert or reduce or, failing that, at least cushion themselves from the direct consequences of climate change, despite a lack of resources and capacity to do so. As a result, people sometimes are forced to migrate. Read more

A man looks at the sea near Nouakchott, Mauritania.

Cities and climate

Towns and cities are driving global warming. They are already responsible for about 75 per cent of energy and resource consumption and energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Since, by 2050, more than two billion more people than today will be living in cities, it is clear that global climate targets will only be achieved if sustainability is put at the heart of urban development. This is particularly true with regard to urban transport and infrastructure. Because traffic and transport is responsible for a quarter of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Read more

Sunrise through the smog in Manila, the Philippines

Water and climate

Water is life – and, for people, animals, plants, and for every kind of societal and economic development, it is absolutely essential. Yet water in particular is a sector where the impacts of climate change are immediately evident, especially impacts like water shortages in areas affected by drought or flooding due to heavy rainfall. Read more

The Ngomeni rock water catchment dam in Mwingi district, Kenya, which serves hundreds of households is drying up for the first time in years, according to residents.

Agriculture and climate

Agriculture and climate change are connected in two ways. On the one hand, climate change is posing a great threat to agriculture. When water becomes more scarce, when heavy rainfall becomes more frequent or crops fail to flourish under changed climatic conditions, this leads to increased erosion and land degradation and to lower harvests and yields. But agriculture is not only affected by climate change, it is also a contributor to global warming. Read more

Farmers harvesting potatoes in the Bolivian Andes

Forests and climate

Forests are veritable treasure troves of nature. They provide food, water, raw materials for building and other purposes, fuel and medicinal plants – and living space for more than 1.6 billion people. They are also home to a very large proportion of all known animal and plant species. The "lungs of the world", as forests are sometimes known, produce oxygen, bind harmful carbon dioxide and thus have a decisive influence on the world’s climate. In short, forests are vital to the survival of humankind.

But every year, more than 7 million hectares of forest are lost – mainly in tropical areas. That is an area the same size as Bavaria. Read more

Aerial view of the rainforest in the Amazon National Park

Oceans and climate

The world's oceans cover more than 70 per cent of the surface area of our planet. They are a key component of the global ecosystem. Without them, life on Earth would not be possible in its present form. In particular, oceans play an important role in regulating the global climate. They produce huge amounts of oxygen, and they absorb a considerable amount of the carbon dioxide emissions that human beings produce. Global climate change is putting a strain on the marine ecosystem. Read more

Fishermen on the coast of Senegal

Climate risk management

In 2017, extreme weather events caused damage of an estimated 320 billion US dollars. Developing countries and emerging economies are particularly hard hit by climate change and, at the same time, least equipped to cope with it. Climate change is therefore threatening to reverse their development gains and thwart their opportunities for development in the future.

That is why it is important to develop and use comprehensive methods and measures for assessing and, above all, managing climate risks. Read more

Storm damage on the Caribbean island St. Lucia

Climate risk insurance

As part of its development cooperation, Germany supports climate risk management worldwide. However, even good risk analyses and preventive measures cannot completely avert damage caused by extreme weather events. Thus, comprehensive climate risk management also means developing strategies for coping with risks – such as the loss of livestock or damage to infrastructure – that may become more common as a result of climate change. Climate risk insurance is one tool that can help people cope with the consequences of extreme weather events. Read more

Flooding during the rainy season in Bentiu, South Sudan

Climate finance

Climate change is already posing a threat to the development of the world's poorest countries and will be making it far more difficult to achieve progress in the future. Climate action and development policy are thus inextricably linked. Assistance for developing and emerging economies with regard to financing measures for climate change mitigation and adaptation is an important area of Germany's development cooperation. Read more

Meeting room of the international donor conference of the Green Climate Fund, hosted by the German Federal Government in Berlin on 20 November 2014.

Further information

Here you can find a selection of links to documents, websites, graphics and videos with further information on climate change and development. Read more

Climate change and development

BMZ publications

BMZ glossary

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