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September 8, 2011 Climate Change Hits Developing Countries Especially Hard

Poverty makes the effects of climate change much worse. This is clearly evidenced by the hunger catastrophe in East Africa. The ongoing drought there has practically brought agricultural production to a standstill and has forced tens of thousands to abandon their lands. “Investments in better infrastructure are therefore urgently needed in developing countries,” states Kiel Institute researcher Linda Kleemann, one of the organizers of the Global Economic Symposium (GES) 2011 panel session entitled Managing Adaptation to Climate Change in the Developing World, and such investments will be the point of departure for the discussions in this session. She also states that “further measures, however, such as investments in education and efficient health care, could also help developing countries to be better able to cope with climate change.”

Current research indicates that the negative effects of climate change affect developing countries more than other countries, which means that coping with climate change is more expensive for developing countries. These countries are, however, the countries with the least amount of money, and their infrastructure is poorly developed. Water reservoirs, for example, that are needed in times of drought are far and few between, and effective measures to prevent flooding when it does rain are also practically nonexistent.

What priorities should the international community set in dealing with the effects of climate change? What could potential solutions to climate change problems look like and what strategies could be used to deal with them? What incentives and supporting measures do governments in developing countries need? What combination of adjustment strategies would help and what combination would cause conflict? These and other questions will be discussed at the Global Economic Symposium in Kiel.

Kiel will turn into a think tank on 4–6 October, when more than 400 high-ranking experts from business, government, academia, and civil societies will meet for the fourth Global Economic Symposium (GES), which is being jointly hosted by the Kiel institute for the World Economy and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, in cooperation with the German National Library of Economics (ZBW) – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. Among those expected to participate are Hans-Paul Bürkner, President and CEO of the Boston Consulting Group, René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, Yves Leterme, Prime Minister of Belgium, and Erik Stark Maskin and Oliver E. Williamson, both Nobel laureates in economics.

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Please note that the conference will be held in English.

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