Friday, December 9, 2022

Climate Change: UN warns of rising armed conflict in Africa’s Sahel 

The UN gave the warning in a report, ‘Moving from Reaction to Action: Anticipating Vulnerability Hotspots in the Sahel’, published on Wednesday.

• November 17, 2022
Sahel Militia Photo Credit: Le point

The UN has warned that without urgent investment in climate mitigation and adaptation, countries in the Sahel risk decades of armed conflict and displacement, exacerbated by rising temperatures, scarcity of resources and food insecurity.

The UN gave the warning in a report, ‘Moving from Reaction to Action: Anticipating Vulnerability Hotspots in the Sahel’, published on Wednesday.

According to the report, if left unchecked, the climate emergency will further imperil Sahelian communities as devastating floods, droughts, and heatwaves decimate access to water, food and livelihoods, and amplify the risk of conflict.

This will ultimately force more people to flee their homes.

“In the Sahel, the climate crisis is combining with increasing instability and the low level of investments in development to create a disempowering mix that is heavily taxing Sahelian communities. It will jeopardise the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals,” UN special coordinator for development in the Sahel, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, said.

Mr Dieye added, “There are solutions focused on people’s agency and investments at scale, but they require resolute commitment and dedication from all, as well as the right data and analysis to know what is coming in order to execute proactive and impactful policy responses.”

Andrew Harper, the special advisor for climate action with the UN refugee agency UNHCR, explained that “rising temperatures and extreme weather in the Sahel are worsening armed conflict, which is already destroying livelihoods, disrupting food security and driving displacement.”

He said only a massive boost in collective climate mitigation and adaptation would help the region change course. 

Even with ambitious climate mitigation policies, temperatures in the Sahel are predicted to rise 2.5°C by 2080. If urgent action is further delayed, they could increase by 4.3°C.

Despite the negative trends, the Sahel is endowed with abundant natural resources.

The region sits on one of the largest aquifers in Africa and has immense potential for renewables, including abundant solar energy capacity, and a dynamic young population – around 64 per cent of Sahelians are under 25 years old.

(NAN)

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