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Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island and home to a diverse and unique range of species and ecosystems, many of them vulnerable to current and future climate patterns. The driving sectors of Madagascar’s economy include agriculture (predominantly rainfed), fisheries and livestock production, all of which rely on climate-sensitive natural resources. Food security is a major concern, with 25% of the country’s rural population classified as severely food insecure.
Madagascar is vulnerable to extreme weather events, and has the highest risk from cyclones in Africa. These events are becoming increasingly frequent and intense: in the past 20 years Madagascar has been struck by 35 cyclones, eight floods and five periods of severe droughts (a three-fold increase over the previous 20 years), causing $1 billion in damages and affecting food security, drinking water supply and irrigation, public health systems, environmental management and quality of life. Projected changes include, average temperature increase of between 2.5° – 3°C by 2100 and reduced rainfall during the dry season and increased amounts of rain will fall during the rainy season by 2065.
Climate change will have negative effects on health, for example, incidence of diarrheal disease increase during the cyclone season, which increases flooding and leaves standing water, a breeding ground for waterborne diseases. Malaria is an important cause of overall mortality in the country, and higher temperatures would expand the disease vector’s range, particularly to higher elevations where a large percentage of the population lives. Acute respiratory diseases, known to be exacerbated by higher temperatures, are also a concern as they are the number one cause of death in children under five.