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Climate change and poverty are the two greatest challenges affecting Asia-Pacific least developed countries (LDCs). As climate change escalates globally, these countries find themselves the most exposed and vulnerable to its impacts. Over the past decade, LDCs experienced around 13 per cent of the total disasters, accounting for nearly 17 per cent of deaths and 9 per cent of the affected population in the region, although these countries occupy only 4 per cent of the region’s land surface and host less than 7 per cent of its population.

Meanwhile, the high prevalence of poverty, widespread inequality and other structural socioeconomic issues in LDCs magnify their vulnerabilities to climate change impacts. A larger proportion of people living in poverty and the lack of insurance mechanisms, combined with long-standing infrastructure deficits and weak institutional capacity, constrain their ability to respond to and recover from disasters. Together with low domestic resource mobilization and significant development gaps, LDCs lack adequate fiscal space to fulfill multiple pressing development needs, including building resilience to climate risks and lifting people out of poverty.

Against this background, there is a pressing need for more effective development approaches that integrate climate action and poverty alleviation activities, recognizing the intricate interconnection between these issues and their impacts on each other. Integrated approaches provide opportunities to pool resources and foster greater alignment, coherence, efficiency and synergy across policies to address multiple objectives and enable transformative change. This policy brief discusses the intertwined challenges of climate change and poverty in Asia-Pacific LDCs and highlights the crucial need for integrated approaches to policy design and implementation that can support accelerated climate action and poverty alleviation efforts in these countries.