The Scottish government has unveiled a Â£3m (K1.3b) initiative to help people in the worldâ€™s poorest countries, including Malawi, adapt to the impact of climate change.
The Climate Justice Fund, launched in Edinburgh on Thursday, will disburse the money in equal instalments over the next three years to support water projects in Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.
In Malawi, the impact of climate change, with increased temperature and shorter periods of rainfall, will result in depleted water resources.
Experts say possible consequences include: an increase in the frequency of floods and droughts leading to more enteric infections; a variation in rainfall seasons; a longer dry season; greater evaporation due to increased temperature and and an increase in the spread of Malaria.
The scheme, which provides new funding rather than drawing on Scotlandâ€™s existing overseas aid budget, was announced by Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister, and the former Republic of Ireland president Mary Robinson.
The two called on rich nations to reduce carbon emissions, arguing that the developing world bears the brunt of flooding, drought and other natural disasters, despite doing little to cause such events.
“The huge injustice of climate change is that it is those who have done the least to cause the problem â€“ the most vulnerable, from the worldâ€™s poorest communities â€“ who are hardest hit,” said Salmond.
“That is why Scotland is committed to supporting climate justice.”
“In launching this fund, we are all too aware that one country cannot win the battle against climate change alone. Collective action is not an option but an imperative, and we need to ensure our actions and our message inspires others to act,” he added.
Robinson, a former UN high commissioner for human rights who is now president of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, characterised the scheme as a potentially significant staging post on the path to reaching a global consensus on climate change by 2015.
“Creating a new narrative based on climate justice, which amplifies the voices of the vulnerable, can inject the necessary urgency and ambition into the international negotiations to reach a new legally binding agreement by 2015,” she said. “We will know that we have achieved an equitable solution when the human rights of the most vulnerable are upheld and protected.
“Scotland is delivering on commitments to build the resilience of the worldâ€™s poorest communities to the impacts of climate change. Importantly, delivering these commitments builds trust between developed and developing countries, who need to work together to solve the problem of climate change,” she said.
Stewart Stevenson, Scottish Minister for Environment and Climate Change, praised Robinsonâ€™s galvanising influence on the initiative.