By Joseph Checky Abuje
As the world strongly steps forward to fight effects of climate change on humanity and wildlife migration in Sub-Saharan Africa, many questions arise, one of which is, has the world reached a point of no return in the effort to contain the ever rising global temperatures?
However, as all factors remain almost constant, Sub-Saharan Africa terrain on climate change mitigation remains bumpy even as world leaders, experts, Scientists and civil society put their heads together to find a solution to the global crisis.
During a recently concluded two-day virtual meeting convened by Global Perspective Initiative (GPI) dubbed “Climate change and Migration: Point of No Return?”, it was revealed that effects of climate change contribute immensely on human and wildlife migration in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to World Bank statistics, the region could account for more than 85 million people migrating by 2050 if no action is taken to cushion the current climate change trends in Africa.
This comes in the wake when Africa is responsible for a paltry 3.7% of global carbon emissions.
Addressing the conference that brought together crusaders of climate mitigation across the globe, Goran Buldioski from the Open Society Foundations challenged participants especially in Africa to view the challenges brought about by environmental changes as opportunities, adding that most problems resulting from climate change are to be found in Africa.
“Most of the time, we talk about environmental change as the cause of migration, and frame it as a problem. We rarely look at this as an opportunity, an Adaptation strategy”, remarked Goran.
The panelists observed that in sub-Saharan Africa, North Asia and Latin America, it is estimated that 143 million people face the problem of forced migration within their countries due to impacts of climate change. And indeed, the majority of the African migrants are so-called internally displaced people (IDP) opposing the myth that Europe, for example, is hit by a migration wave from Africa. This is simply a false fact.
More sustainable resilience, adaptation strategies and synergy creation in Sub-Saharan Africa in the near future remain key indicators on how Africa may tackle the climate crisis to create its own positive narrative. Winfried Kneip, managing director of the German Mercator Foundation, reiterated the need for profound and reliable African leadership on all climate issues to initiate a mindset shift and develop robust policies around the discussion.
“We need to foster a global unity as a tool to fight the climate crisis that is threatening food security in Africa”, revealed Dr. Ingrid Hamm, co-founder and managing director of GPI. Hamm further called on strengthening the European-African partnership to mitigate climate risks, emphasizing that political systems in Africa require to be more sensitive on matters of climate change.
Hon. Dr. Amina Mohamed, presently serving as Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage and Culture, said in her address that the effects of climate change (floods, rising sea levels, coastal erosion and droughts) have negatively impacted Africa’s economic and societal development. She urged the signatories of the Paris Convention to accelerate their commitment, build resilience and increase their investment in climate change. Since the United States of America has committed to re-join the Paris Agreement, an important global player is hoped to, jointly with other multilateral partners, bring on the action needed so desperately to battle the global crisis.
Dr. Mohamed told participants that poverty in Africa is set to increase two-fold and called on African leaders to create a strong political will on the continent.
The Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, Dr. Christoph Heusgen, noted that climate change is a global crisis that should be put on the UN Security Council’s agenda. He said African voices need to be heard at the UN Security organ. However, there is still a great deal of lacking urgency towards climate mitigation in Africa. Persisting racism, the lack of honesty and dormant economic systems in Africa were brought to the fore as stumbling blocks in the effort to effectively deal with the problem. Global assistance to Africa, however, remains crucial.