Poverty is a complex issue, which must be understood in a holistic manner. Low and variable income is certainly a key element, but it is far from enough to portray poverty. The various characteristics of poverty and their relative strength are determined through contextually specific circumstances, in terms of history, environmental preconditions, socio-cultural traits, etc. Much of this context is made up of local and national circumstances. The consequences of globalisation must, however, increasingly to be taken into account. At a larger scale, it is also relevant to mention that climate change will have a negative, although largely unpredictable, impact for the people in some parts of the world. For those who are already living on marginal lands or who are exposed to water problems, climate change is likely to create considerable adverse effects.

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