Saturday, April 25, 2009

Experts probe links between urban growth and climate change in Africa

Voice of America: A new project has united researchers exploring the connection between rapid urban growth in Africa and climate related emergencies, in an effort to safeguard vulnerable urban populations from the effects of climate change. The Climate Change and Adaptation in Africa program, or CCAA, aims to increase the capacity of African people and organizations to cope with the effects of climate change.

Sponsored by Canada's International Development Research Center and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, the project hopes to indentify strategies to help the urban poor in Africa's largest cities to adapt to challenges posed by the changing environment, says project manager Francois Gasengayire.

"The program supports research that helps reduce poverty by improving the environment. And the goal is to harness the capacity of the poor to reduce environmental degradation as it relates to natural disasters, and enhance the use of natural resources for food, water, and income generation," he said.

Gasengayire says program organizers sought out proposals from across Africa for research projects exploring the links between urban growth and climate change. The researchers, who have assembled in Dakar, represent a range of institutions working with the diverse climate-related issues facing urban areas throughout Africa.

Gasengayire said that an increase in disasters caused by climate change is likely to be felt most acutely in Africa's urban centers. "There is a kind of link, and at the same time a vicious cycle between poverty, urban poverty, and environmental burdens," he said…..

Soweto, South Africa, shot by Michael Toft Schmidt, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5Attribution ShareAlike 2.0

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