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Isabelle Fortin

Climate change is clearly a reality in Haiti: the hurricanes are stronger than they were in the 70s and flooding is more frequent. The island has the unfortunate record of being the most vulnerable island in the Caribbean to cyclones and the vast majority of the population lives in at-risk areas. Climate change will ultimately affect the ability of Haiti’s women, men and children to exercise their rights and improve their living conditions while the weakness of public institutions, environmental degradation and poverty in Haiti are a dangerous cocktail which will affect people’s ability to protect themselves.

September will be a month of mobilization in favour of action to tackle climate change; citizen-based movements are organizing to push their leaders to act and the UN will be holding a Summit on the climate on 23 September bringing together representatives from governments, the world of finance, businesses and civil society. What do humanitarian and development organizations do to support the preservation of natural resources and the ecosystems that depend on these? What are they doing to build resilience to climate change?

The first article in this issue of the Observatory Newsletter looks at reports that have been produced by Oxfam on climate change adaptation in Haiti and the lessons learned from the response to the hurricanes of 2012. The second article focuses on a completely different subject but also underlines the need to establish links between emergency relief and development in connection with economic recovery activities in urban contexts (British Red Cross in Delmas 19).

We hope you enjoy this new issue!