22.- 25.9
2020

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

 

25/09/20 9 - 10.30 am Room HZ 11 (Hörsaalzentrum)

 

Short abstract:

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.

According to Gaye et al., Climate change is defined as a statistically significant change in the mean state of the climate or its variability, persisting for an extended period of several decades (2009). It is the cumulative result of internal variability within the climate system and natural and anthropogenic external factors. Solar radiation is the most important natural factor. The concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, which induce a radiative forcing at the level of the climate system, are of anthropogenic as well as natural origins.

All the countries of the world are affected, and West Africa is not left behind with the increase in drought due to the rise in temperature levels, the wind regime and atmospheric pressure and the decrease in precipitation. This situation has a de facto impact on agricultural crops and leads to reduced yields and difficulties in supplying, better, meeting food needs. As a result, the food available at a reasonable cost is becoming scarce. In the commercial markets of the capitals, especially those in West Africa, they become inaccessible and, as a result, increase prices, impacting their equal access for all. This situation is well perceived in Yopougon, the largest municipality in size and demographic weight in the city of Abidjan, through leafy vegetables, edible foodstuffs much appreciated by populations who have become increasingly rare. Our objective is to analyze the link between climate change and the egalitarian access to food of the populations of the cities. Our work will be based on census and documentary data. It will make it possible to present the exceptional character of climate change, which requires beyond simple adaptation strategies, mitigation of its effects and resilience, to force the States especially those of the West African sub-region to rethink the models of struggles by associating all scientific fields.

Anne Marilyse Kouadio is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Education and Training of Abidha, Ivory Coast.

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.

Way forward

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.

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.

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.
.Mots clés: Afrique, changement climatique, Japon.

D'ri Laurent Kouakou is Lecturer and Researcher at the Oualassane Ouatara of Bouake, Ivory Coast.