LWR & the Global Goals: Climate Change

Your support of Lutheran World Relief contributes to the larger work of creating sustainable solutions to poverty around the world. This blog series on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seeks to answer two questions: What are the sustainable development goals? And how does your support of Lutheran World Relief contribute to them?
What are the Global Goals?

This past September, 193 governments agreed upon the Sustainable Development Goals, an ambitious agenda also known as the Global Goals. The Global Goals are essentially a 17-point plan to end poverty, combat climate change and fight injustice and inequality. These goals replace and build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were agreed upon in 2001 and expired at the end of the 2015.


The Global Goals constitute the next 15-year framework that will guide country plans, priorities and investments to reduce poverty and promote development. They will influence the definition of development, how it is funded and how it is measured.

Some of the big differences between the new Global Goals and the previous set of MDGs include the scope and focus of the goals, as well as the number of goals (only eight goals were agreed upon in 2001). The Global Goals include broad, all-encompassing priorities like “ending poverty in all its forms everywhere” (goal #1), as well as more nuanced objectives, like “promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” (goal #16).

With so many big, bold, aspirational goals, you may wonder: where do we start in actually carrying out this work? The good news is we already have. With your support, LWR is already taking on the work in many of the Global Goals.

In this blog series, we have explored a few of the Global Goals you are directly supporting through LWR. And we will finish with Goal #13.

Climate Action


Goal #13: Climate Action aims to urge us to take action to combat climate and its impacts. This goal sets the priority of strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries and improving education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

For this climate change goal, we see the complementary and interlocking way the SDGs coincide with the goal of ending hunger (#2) in a way that highlights the clarity of LWR’s focus on resilience, adaptation and the importance of local planning to meet the challenge. In our work, we seek to foster community mitigation of and adaptation to changing climates to secure livelihoods and landscapes as a means to improve the lives of rural communities experiencing poverty in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. LWR believes that helping communities be better prepared for natural disasters, as well as embrace innovative climate smart agriculture practices, are key elements in building resilient communities and strong local economies. We take a “systems approach” to engage a range of stakeholders in program design and implementation, and strengthen civil society so that local organizations are prepared for and able to respond to the effects of climate change.

LWR employs four core and emerging program approaches in its climate work, to design and implement integrated programs that help rural communities respond within their local context. Through climate smart agriculture, community-based disaster risk management, renewable energy and reforestation work, we aim to help communities become resilient in adaptive in the facing of changing weather patterns.

Let’s take a look at how LWR is already doing the work of climate adaptation.

How Your Support Helps

In the past year alone, your gifts have supported 28 LWR climate change projects, including 10 in Africa, 9 in the Asia and the Middle East, and 10 in Latin America. The projects help farmers and their communities build capacity to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Here are just a few examples of how that support has changed lives.

Gobardhan Grung of Pyarjung, Lamjung in Nepal waters the forest nursery plants.  The plants will later be used for reforestation efforts in the project area.
Gobardhan Grung of Pyarjung, Lamjung in Nepal waters the forest nursery plants. The plants will later be used for reforestation efforts in the project area.

The rural communities in Nepal face many livelihood challenges particularly the ones due to climate change. The traditional livelihood practices are neither appropriate for meeting the livelihood needs of the people nor adaptable to the shocks and uncertainties often created by erratic climate conditions. In the Lamjung district, LWR is working with hundreds of farmers to help them practice locally adaptive and climate-friendly agricultural practices, while helping to introduce soil management techniques and water conserving irrigation techniques that can go a long way in mitigating the impacts of the changing climate.

In Indonesia, farmers are learning to harvest by using best practice agriculture methods.
In Indonesia, farmers are learning to harvest by using best practice agriculture methods.

The impact of global climate change can now be seen at the local levels on Sumba Island, Indonesia. Sumba farmers have been dealing with climate shocks, water stresses and unsustainable production over the last ten years. There is an urgent need to develop and use types of crop varieties that are resistant to climate stresses such as drought, erratic climate, and flooding, as well as pests and disease resulting from climate change. LWR’s project seeks to improve water management at the farm level, while increasing the frequency of and the yield of crop production. The project also aims to increase water use efficiency and land conservation through agro-forestry.

Over hundreds of years the communities of fishers and agriculturalists in the Lower Sinu watershed in Colombia have developed sustainable livelihoods well adapted to the complex environmental patterns of the ecosystem in which they live. Nevertheless during the last two decades, these rural communities have confronted a series of significant climate changes which are detrimentally impacting their centuries-old lifestyles. Among the principal changes affecting are more frequent and more intense flood events, more intense droughts, increase in median annual temperature, increasing salt-water intrusion in aquifers, and more damaging windstorms. This project is helping families become more resilient to these changes by protecting existing livelihoods, diversifying incomes and changing subsistence strategies which are no longer sustainable.

Your support is enabling LWR to tackle the challenge of climate adaptation and mitigation of the effects of changing climates around the world – the kind of change demanded by the Global Goals.