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.