Africa is responsible for a mere four per cent of global CO 2 emissions. Yet, no continent is equally affected by the double burden of climate change and political fragility as Africa. A recent study by United States Agency for International Development shows that globally 57 per cent of the countries facing the highest double burden of climate exposure and political fragility risks are located in sub-Saharan Africa
African societies, moreover, face socioeconomic and political challenges, such as endemic poverty, weak and corrupt governance structures, protracted conflicts, demographic pressures and urbanization. These issues alone overwhelm the capacity of many African states to achieve goals within the AU’s long-term strategic framework ‘Agenda 2063’.
The evidence is clear—climate-related changes compound social and political challenges. Africa’s high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change is due to African economies’ dependency on agriculture, a sector acutely affected by climate fluctuations. The risks that ensue include that of violent conflict—which in itself is an additional push factor for migration and forced displacement.
These findings have been collaborated by high level discussions organized by Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on the sidelines of the 32nd Session of the African Union Summit. The side event convened to discuss the implications of CoP24, its outcomes on responding to climate-induced human insecurity in Africa brought together drawn from the United Nations, the environmental civil society organisations, academia and African governments. They observed that apart from grappling with poor agricultural productivity due to poor climatic conditions, human displacement has had untold impacts on nearly all the African economies.
Harsen Nyambe Nyambe of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture at the AUC observed that the cost of climate change to GDP is escalating due to reduced agricultural productivity and higher costs of adaptation, in a speech read on his behalf at an event.
Globally, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) points out that an average of 22.5 million people have been displaced each year by climate or weather-related disasters in the last seven years, equivalent to 62,000 people every day
“In my country Rwanda, the government has always been forced to move hundreds of families each year to safer grounds, and these are budgets that we have not planned for,” said John Bideri, the Chair of the PACJA Board, an organisation that brings together over 1000 climate related civil society organisations .
He observed that many other people have as well been forced to move to other continents as refugees due to climate related hostilities and phenomena. “Why are people moving away from Africa, and yet, Africa is the most endowed continent on earth?” he paused.
Bideri says that the only way to reverse the situation will be by reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but again, the developed world must provide finances to help Africa cope with the prevailing situation, given that Africa has contributed the least towards emission of greenhouse gas emissions. “We should continue playing our roles as African countries, but also demand for our rights,” Bideri told experts in Addis Ababa.
Already, Africa is experiencing higher warming and more extreme weather events, leading to disruptions in ecosystems, economies and livelihoods. These disruptions are in turn causing new insecurities in the populations of the continent, leading to conflicts, displacements and dis-empowerment.
The high-level meeting was addressed by James Murombedzi, Officer in Charge, ACPC, UNECA
Who welcomed the participants to Addis Ababa and officially opened by the PACJA’s Executive Director, Mithika Mwenda ,Others who addressed the high-level consultations and shared insights include, Augustine Njamnshi, the Chair of the Technical and Political Affairs Committee, Mr. Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the Least Developed States (LDC) Group, Prof. Seth Osafo, Legal Advisor, African Group of Negotiators, Stanislas Stephen Mouba, UNFCCC Deputy Focal Point, National Climate Council from the Republic of Gabon and Alvin Munyasia, Oxfam International
The experts from the African Climate Change community also took time to examine how adequate the outcomes of the COP24 the “Katowice Climate Package” is in driving effective actions to address climate-induced human insecurity in Africa. the discussions were crystallized into a communique that was shared with the African Heads of States during their Summit.