Initiatives and commitments to help protect the most vulnerable from climate change were announced at the Paris climate change conference, having the potential to mitigate the impact of climate change on older people, who often bear the brunt of its effects.
“Today, there are 901 million people over 60, predicted to reach 1.4 billion by 2030, with nearly three-quarters living in developing countries,” said Clodagh Byrne, Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Adviser at HelpAge International. “Older people are among those who suffer the most from the impacts of climate change due to the prevalence of health conditions, social isolation and limited mobility.”
Water insecurity is particularly hard on older people. They’re more susceptible to dehydration, infection and disease. Climate change is expected to reduce water quality through increased temperatures, pollution and disruption of treatment facilities, and the resulting health effects will be worse for older people.
Poorer older people suffer due to a combination of factors including distance to or difficult-to-access water distribution points, the costs involved and non-age friendly latrines.
Resilience initiatives were also announced, amounting to $1 billion dollars pledged to protect the most vulnerable from climate change. Commitments include: early warning systems for over 50 of the least developed countries and small island states, access to insurance to 400 million vulnerable people in five years, and a UN initiative to protect 634 million people living in risk-prone coastal areas and those living in areas at risk from droughts and floods.