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Moreover, despite a flurry of interest in climate change adaptation from parts of the development community, others express a fair degree of scepticism. How does a global concern like climate change, which might manifest itself decades to centuries in the future, compare with more immediate, visible, local and regional priorities for development, such as poverty, food security, sanitation and public health? How can one assess the exposure of development portfolios to potential risk related to climate change?

The author reviewed descriptions of 136 German-funded projects, which focused on natural resource management in Africa. None referred to climate change and only a few mentioned environmental or economic stresses related to weather or climate variability, such as drought and desertification; instead, the emphasis was on more immediate issues, such as food security, sanitation, safe water supply and education. The most recent such analysis, by Eriksen and Næss (2003), examines Norwegian development co-operation activities relevant to climate change adaptation, with a special focus on links with poverty reduction strategies in rural areas in Africa.

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