Adaptation to climate change and demographic Change in Africa: exposure and
vulnerability assessments across different scales
Gabriel Tati , University of the Western Cape, Department of Statistics and
Population Studies, South Africa
The panel provides an assessment of the adaptation strategies to mitigate the most dangerous impacts of climate change on people’s well being in Africa. It also discusses the degree of policy preparedness and responsiveness at local and national levels to the specific risks climate change poses to the most vulnerable groups such as older people.
The demographic transition which is being experienced by most countries across Africa has resulted in profound structural changes of their populations. Parallel to this process, all age groups are already affected by the impacts of climate change. These two processes pose serious challenges to the development of Africa. While the impacts differ according to the national context and the vulnerability risks of the population group (children, women. the youth and the elderly) they are likely to increase due to varying stressing vectors set in motion by the climate change. The impacts will result in mortality, losses, poor health and reduced access to food and other resources. The consequences of climate change, however, can be reduced by adaptation and mitigation measures or interventions implemented now. It is therefore vital that global agenda frameworks to limit carbon emission and the national adaptation policies on the ground address the impacts of climate change on populations. Mitigation strategies and commitments that come from such frameworks have to take inclusively into account the specific vulnerabilities people of different age and sex groups are exposed to in a changing climate. Thousands of the people are already living on the margin, and the most dangerous impacts of climate change may push them further to the edge of decent living conditions. The participation of people of all ages is central to the national strategies to mitigate those impacts. National adaptation policies to climate change must be inclusive of the vulnerabilities, human rights and capabilities of people of all ages, especially the elderly.
The panel calls for papers examining the local and national responses to extreme events (floods, intense storms and heat waves) due to climate change. Papers that seek to assess either quantitatively or qualitatively the impacts on specific groups of people’s wellbeing and access to resources (water security, agriculture and livelihoods, food security, health, migration and displacement, urbanisation, energy and resource poverty) are particularly of great interest for the panel.
01 Anna Odur: Towards effective climate change adaptation in Uganda
Over the past 7 years or so, the average temperate range across Uganda has tremendously increased and continues to rise. In Busia located in Eastern Uganda for example, high temperatures of up to 33c have been recorded during this period, with cases of drying up of springs and other water sources in the district, leaving smallholder farmers, particularly the women in dilema. Similarly in Karamoja region of North Eastern Uganda, high rates of evaporation have been documented and in other areas soil erosion and nutrient depletion are rampant, leading to low levels of agriculture productivity.
Drivers for a changing climate and solutions in place
Seasonal weather patterns coupled with negative human impacts on the environment and ecosystems degradation, particularly cutting down of trees, degradation of wetlands and water pollution among others have been attributed to the changing climate in the region. In response to the heatwave experienced, local residents in the urban area of Kampala for example, have resorted to basics such as staying in shades away from direct sunlight and increasing daily intake of drinking water.
On a broader scale at international level, Uganda has committed itself, by signing and ratifying both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and related protocols, to the adoption and implementation of policies and measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts. Moreover studies have shown that, much as countries, including Uganda, have good policies in place to support water and environmental sustainability in the backdrop of a changing climate, effective policy implementation still remains a challenge. This has been attributed to among others insufficient awareness and low engagement among stakeholders.
Efforts should therefore be geared towards effectively communicating climate change adaptation and related policy implications to local target groups in communities; promoting continuous knowledge-sharing; ensuring inclusiveness in decision-making; and harnessing traditional knowledge with current scientific research.
Ongoing work by the government and sector NGOs to raise awareness and sensitize the public on climate change issue is underway. Actions being promoted include water & soil conservation and ecosystems restoration. Similarly, sector-specific policies have been put in place recently to address climate change mitigation and adaptation. An example is the Uganda National Irrigation Policy 2018, which provides direction for dealing with drought and promoting climate-resilient food production, albeit the need for technological and human capacity development for Irrigation practice across the country. Uganda also launched its first annual Water and Environment Week in 2018, which provides space for much-needed new and traditional knowledge-sharing across sectors, in order to effectively address climate change.
Anna Odur is Academic activist at the Association of Uganda Professional in Agriculture and Environment (AUPWAE), Uganda.
02 Annie Beka Beka: Floods in the city of Libreville (Gabon): anarchic constructions, global warming and the resilience of urban actors
Africa has experienced a population explosion for the past few decades. This accelerated population growth is giving way to uncontrolled urbanization in large African cities like Libreville, causing many problems including flooding.
Libreville is one of the cities at high risk of flooding in Gabon. Each year this city is under the threat of natural hazards whose repetitive floods become from year to year very complicated. The small size of its surface (189 km²), as well as its demographic weight (800,000 inhabitants) have not spared it from the flooding problems which arise in big cities. The frequency of floods is linked to a combination of factors: abundant rainfall (more than 3000 mm / year), proximity to the ocean, uncontrolled urban growth giving rise to urban inconsistencies.This study relates to the city of Libreville, and deals with the vulnerability of populations facing floods. The aim of this work is to understand what are the factors of flooding in Libreville ? Are they due to climate change ? What are the urban resilience strategies of the different actors?
Specifically, for research on the vulnerability of populations facing natural risks in urban areas, the survey data previously collected in the field will be necessary, but also the research work carried out, and more generally in Gabon, on the writings contemporary authors in order to inquire about the state of the environment in the world. In addition, meetings are planned with local authorities to better understand their perception of the risk of flooding. However, field surveys have shown that it is very urgent to adopt a good policy in terms of disaster risk management at the national level, which will not only strengthen the resilience of the populations of Libreville but also, it will be as a key element for the development of the country.
Annie Beka Beka is Senior Lecturer at the School for Education Training of Libreville, Gabon.
03 N' Dri Laurent Kouakou: Le Japon et les questions de l'environnement en Afrique
La dégradation de l’environnement et les changements climatiques sont une menace pour le développement durable, la sécurité alimentaire et la lutte contre la pauvreté en Afrique. Le Japon, dans sa quête d’un équilibre mondial, soutient les États d’Afrique dans leur lutte contre la dégradation de l’environnement et les effets néfastes du changement climatique. Cette contribution nippone vise la conservation du couvert forestier, l’accès aux énergies propres, la réduction des gaz à effet de serre et l’approvisionnement en eau potable à travers des dons, des prêts et une assistance technique. Les programmes et projets mis en place, à cet effet, permettent aux États africains de faire face aux menaces d’inondations et de sécheresses et de protéger les populations afin de s’adapter au changement climatique. Cet article est un essai d’analyse sur la contribution du Japon à la gestion de l’environnement et des changements climatiques en Afrique.
D'ri Laurent Kouakou is Lecturer and Researcher at the Oualassane Ouatara of Bouake, Ivory Coast.
04 Fadzai Musakana: Adaption and Mitigation Strategies to the impacts of climate change in Africa: vulnerability assesements
This paper highlights the impact of climate change and adaption strategies implemented to mitigate problems caused by climate change in Africa.Climate change affects different aspects in Africa, such as infrastructure, Ecosystem, health, food and water security and economic development. In Sub- Saharan Africa, the ten ASARECA member countries (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda) have executed adaption strategies in agriculture which focus mainly on population most vulnerable due to limited resources. Most areas are classified as semi-arid or arid and as a result a common strategy of developing drought tolerant and early maturing crop has become most favorable. Biomass energy resource accounts for more than 70% of total energy consumption in ASARECA member countries hence the need to harness new and renewable energy sources as a plan to mitigate effects of biomass depletion.
In Zimbabwe, Cyclone Idai caused areas such as agriculture, transport, health and livelihoods to be affected .Responses varied from effective to seriously inadequate involving Post- disaster recovery methods aimed at women and girls who faced challenges of unsafe shelter and exposure to gender based violence. Positive response came in the form of counselling and child protection support, educational assistance, health HIV and AIDS, water sanitation and hygiene responses. National climate change strategies must be inclusive of the capabilities, rights and vulnerabilities of older people who are inadequately considered in the majority of humanitarian responses and are often over-represented in mortality and morbidity rates from the impact of disaster. Studies show by 2050, over 21 per cent of the global population will be 60 or over. Older people are less likely to be reached by flood or hurricane warnings or be able to respond to them due to mobility restrictions. These impacts of climate change are set to increase due to the combination of increased stress factors from climate change leading to mortality, poor health and reduced access to food and other resources, and global population ageing. In South Africa children remain invisible because the majority of South Africa’s climate change policies and programs, whether they be at national or provincial level, do not yet adequately recognize children’s vulnerabilities. There is need to address some of the child-focused gaps in the current climate change framework through the National Adaptation Plan which focuses on the gaps in health, food and nutrition, water and sanitation, education and child protection against abuse. While efforts by the African governments and international organizations have been intensified in reducing the impacts of climate change, there are still some barriers and limitation to adaptation. Risk reduction strategies employed by African countries consist of early warning system, developing risk transfer plans, social protection schemes, disaster risk contingency funds and budgeting, livelihood diversification and migration (UNISDR, 2011). A successful way to tackle the impact of climate change is by incorporating adaptation strategies into sustainable development in order to decrease pressure on the natural resources, increase environmental risk management and enhance social well-being of the vulnerable (UNFCCC, 2007a).