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Saturday, November 30, 2019

THE PERSPECTIVE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA


Palm fruit production in Ghana, photo: courtesy of Rapunzel

Palm fruit production in Ghana, photo: courtesy of Rapunzel



Changes in temperature and precipitation affect the production and productivity of agricultural crops and animals and cause great suffering to the African people, more than in any other region of the world. 



According to the FAO, in 2017, 32 million people in 20 African countries suffered food crises caused by climate shocks. 

The lives of millions of people in Africa are at risk with rising temperatures; the destruction of crops due to pests, severe droughts and conflicts in Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan have caused an increase in food insecurity. 

The African populations have contributed very little to the emissions of greenhouse gases, but have instead suffered much from the climate impacts.

This is because climate change increases the vulnerability of different sectors, mainly agriculture, but also other interconnected sectors such as health, access to integrated water services, energy availability, infrastructure, land availability and conservation of biodiversity. 

The African population depends very much on the climate. It, therefore, becomes urgent to implement short- and medium-term adaptation measures followed by longer-term mitigation strategies.

This need, however, is not perceived with the same urgency outside the African continent. Globally, more funding has been allocated for mitigation, but even minor ones for adaptation do not flow as expected. 

For example, only 25% of funding programs approved and launched by climate support initiatives since 2003 are aimed at adaptation. 

In addition, the first twenty recipients of adaptation funding received 48% of the total amount allocated and approved, compared to 75% received by the top twenty recipients of mitigation funding.

A green fund to finance change

The green climate fund is one of the main sources of subsidies for adaptation strategies. This year it provided the largest volume of funding for adaptation with $ 400 million. 

In 2017, the total amount allocated for adaptation from the main climate funds was 3.9 billion dollars. It is estimated that at present the financial resources needed to support African countries in adapting to climate change are around 20-30 billion dollars a year.

To understand the concerns of African leaders, it is enough to think that 95% of agriculture in Africa relies on rainwater. However, it is precisely the precipitations that could be most affected by climate change.

Agriculture remains the most important sector in most African economies, representing 15% of total GDP and employing over half of the population. 

The majority of agricultural land is often owned by the municipality and is managed, without a clearly defined mandate, by small farmers who work for their livelihood and with low investment margins to make crops less vulnerable to climate impacts.

Low-income urban consumers, often affected by agricultural losses, are being forced to spend more on expensive imports. Not just a problem that concerns agriculture, but that also concerns other sectors: for example the one related to energy.

At risk, are also other aspects such as health threatened both by the food crisis and by the spread of pathogens. There are numerous actions to be taken to adapt to climate change.

According to Belay Begashaw, the general director of the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa, "a clearer understanding of the trend of climate change in Africa is needed." 


It is, therefore, necessary to make improvements to the monitoring of meteorological and climatic models and, in the agricultural sector, all adaptation strategies must be developed in line with the long-term transformation prospects. 

Other sectors, including energy and health, will need to integrate climate change into their planning and prepare for adverse conditions.

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