Efficient public policies enhance resilience to climate change and financial crises

A debate hosted by the RIO+ Centre discussed challenges to wind down social vulnerability raised by the 2014 HDR

Efficient public policies are the main way to reduce social vulnerability and increase the resilience of low-income populations to climate change, water scarcity and more frequent global financial crises.

This was one of the conclusions drawn at the “From Social Vulnerability to Resilience: What the 2014 Human Development Report’s Outcomes Point Out” debate organized by the World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre) on Monday, 25 August at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The activity was held after the launch of the 2014 Human Development Report hosted by the World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre). It was part of a technical workshop on poverty indicators conducted by the World Without Poverty – Brazil Learning Initiative (WWP) on 25 and 25 August in Rio.

The debate began with a presentation by Andrea Bolzon, the coordinator of the Human Development Report (HDR) in Brazil. Bolzon’s presentation was by comments from the Director of the RIO+ Centre, Rômulo Paes Sousa; IPEA President Sergei Soares, and Tiago Falcão, the Extraordinary Secretary for Overcoming Extreme Poverty at the Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger (MDS). Ana Inés Mulleady, deputy representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Brazil, moderated the debate.

“The event highlighted the 2014 HDR’s main findings and its implications for Brazil. It explored how to go beyond discourse to taking concrete actions in terms of policies and practices that help lift citizens out of vulnerability, improve their resilience and ultimately ensure their human dignity and freedom”, said Sousa of the RIO+ Centre.

He added that successful policies implemented in Brazil – including Bolsa Família [Family Allowance Programme], the Bolsa Verde [Green Grant Programme], and Água para Todos [a programme aimed at installing 1 million cisterns in the semi-arid region] – play an important role in reducing social vulnerability and strengthening low-income communities’ resilience.

The 2014 HDR entitled “Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience” had its global launch on 24 July in Tokyo, Japan. Published by the UNDP, it provides a fresh perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience.

According to income-based measures of poverty, 1.2 billion people live with $1.25 or less a day. However, according to the UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index, almost 1.5 billion people in 91 developing countries are living in poverty with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. Many people face either structural or life-cycle vulnerabilities.

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