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The world’s poorest people must not be forgotten by global leaders at COP26

Press release31 October 2021
Water being drawn from an underground rain water tank in Somaliland.
Sakra Mohamed and Maryan Abilah draw water from an underground water tank near Shirwac in western Somaliland. The tank harvests and stores rain water and can hold 310,000 litres. Tanks like this are an important support for the local community facing recurring droughts. Photo: Gavin Douglas/Concern Worldwide

Global leaders must commit adequate funding at this week’s COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, to protect some of the world’s poorest people from the impact of climate crisis which is currently threatening the future of millions of lives, Concern Worldwide has warned.

“Climate change is now a major driver of hunger, with many of the world’s poorest communities engaged in the fight of their lives,” Concern Chief Executive Dominic MacSorley said. “The subsistence farmers, the coastal communities -- those most dependent on the seasons and closest to the elements are the ones that are already being decimated by the climate crisis.

“Whether it is rising sea levels in Bangladesh, prolonged drought in East Africa or desertification across the Sahel,   the mounting effect of climate breakdown is already leading to the loss of crops, livelihoods, increased hunger, and even starvation.”

Concern is urging global leaders to commit adequate funding at COP26 to enable the world’s poorest countries adapt to protect their populations from the impact of climate crisis and to mitigate the impacts they are currently experiencing.

Climate Justice

“This is the moment of political reckoning, a time to hold polluters to account and to meet the needs of the most vulnerable,” Mr MacSorley said.  “This is a matter of climate justice – the countries currently bearing the brunt of climate crisis are the ones which have contributed least to global warming, and do not have the resources to adapt.”

Climate models project higher average temperatures in most land and ocean regions, hot extremes in the majority of inhabited regions, and heavy precipitation and ever-greater probability of drought in some areas.

A recent analysis showed that climate change could increase the number of chronically hungry people in 2050 by 78 million unless action is taken.

In 2009, high-income countries made a commitment to allocate $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing countries address the impacts of climate change. However, this commitment has never been met. “Financial commitments made in the coming days in Glasgow must be delivered on,” Mr MacSorley said.


Climate Adaptation

Concern’s work on the ground with communities facing the challenges of climate crisis includes a range of adaptation, resilience building and disaster risk management projects. 

“From the construction of underground tanks to harvest rain water and the introduction of more drought-resistant plants and animals, to the establishment of early warning systems and the construction of flood protection, these measures are enabling communities to adapt in some of the most challenging environments,” he said.  

“Time is running out for the world’s poorest,” Mr MacSorley said. “Their needs must be addressed as a top priority this week by global leaders.”

For media queries contact Eamon Timmins, Media Relations Manager, Concern Worldwide, at or 087 9880524

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