Monday, April 8, 2013

Eight steps to climate-proof development in Africa

Richard Munang in the Global Development Professionals Network at the Guardian (UK): Observational records and model projections clearly show that 75-250 million people in Africa are projected to face increased water stress by 2020 due to climate change; the average sea level is expected to rise by about 50 cm by 2100 and about 70 million people in Africa's coastal areas could face the risk of flooding by 2080. It is estimated that by 2100, parts of the Sahara are likely to become the most vulnerable...

This poses a serious challenge to social and economic development particularly because the economies of most African countries depend on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water fisheries, energy, tourism etc. Any post-2015 agenda to reduce poverty in Africa sustainably needs to be 'climate proofed' with the flexibility and resources to ensure that communities can adapt to climate change and are protected against its impact. A post 2015 development framework needs to fully integrate climate change and the vital role of the environment in poverty reduction, as well as the causes of poverty and vulnerability. If, however, post-2015 discussions ignore climate change, they may condemn many Africans to a life of poverty; the result not only of climate change itself, but also of climate change responses that neglect the complexities of poverty reduction in the Africa continent.

To prevent that, here are eight steps that need to be taken to ensure that climate change is integrated into the post-2015 development agenda:
  1. Protect and invest in African ecosystems
  2. Make adaptation and climate risk management core elements of post-2015 development agenda
  3. Take advantage of mitigation opportunities
  4. Promote sustainable agriculture and provide support to expand sustainable agriculture methods
  5. Manage water
  6. Investment in climate smart infrastructures
  7. Focus on knowledge and capacity development
  8. Invest in information services

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